Break out the champagne! Home values have finally fully, officially recovered, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, which mines mountains of data to figure out what’s really going on with home prices.

glassNationally, the median home price is 10% more now than it was year ago: $230,000. That edges past the prior all-time high median value, which we last saw more than a decade ago.

But unless you are selling, that gain is just on paper. And unless you’re listing with a realty agency that is dedicated to helping you hold on to as much of that equity as possible, the trend doesn’t translate to your personal finances.

Real estate commissions are stuck in the analog era, at about 6% of the selling price of your house. That takes $13,800 from that $230,000.

But wait: it gets worse! That commission actually takes a much bigger bite of your actual equity.

The typical American homeowner with a mortgage has about $80,000 in equity, according to the Census Bureau. The 6% commission takes nearly 17.25% of the actual equity!

Here’s how that translates to what the typical homeowner actually gets at closing:

Paying 6% of the sale price, the homeowner gives up $13,800 in equity and gets only $66,200 in equity at closing. List with and pay only the buyer’s agent the traditional commission of 3% and the homeowner gets $73,100 at closing.

That’s a real paper cut. Before you list, work out all your options. Use calculators like this one at to figure out how much that commission actually costs you. You don’t have to pay 24% or 6%, not when so many real estate companies offer alternatives.