I agree that that amount of money sounds like alot to swallow, but keep in mind that the agent who lists the house may have to split that with the agent who sells the house, unless your listing agent is able to get "both sides" of the sale. So, cut that $16,500 in half. Then, depending on where the agent works, they may have to pay franchise fees off the top before they ever see a check, especially if they work for one of the large franchises. Then, there is the broker split, because noboday pays you except your broker and he gets his share next. The broker split usually varies based on how long an agent has been selling, or what their sales volume is, or any number of other factors that are rules for the office where the agent works, but the broker always gets something. Then, when the agent finally gets the check, they have to see if what they made off the sale covers the various advertising and marketing expenses they incurred while selling your home, and depending on how long the house was on the market and what advertising was done during that time, it can be pretty pricey and the agent is out that money UP FRONT for you, before they see a dime. If the house is taken off the market or does not sell, they loose that money- just a risk of doing business. Then think about gas, open house expenses, and the value of your agents time- that has to be worth something, too. By the time all of these expenses are taken out along with splits and franchise fees, if your agent gets just one side of the sale, they'll be lucky to walk away with $2,000 on average. Maybe $4000 if they are lucky enough to sell their own listing.
Please remember, in real estate or anything else, you get what you pay for. Isn't selling your home- the single most important financial investment you have- worth the value of a good Realtor?