SEATTLE — On top of bidding wars, record-low inventory of homes for sale and surging prices, would-be homebuyers can add this to their list of things to worry about: “buyer’s agency” fees.

Some brokers are asking the buyers they represent to sign a “buyer’s agency” agreement that obligates the buyer to pay their commission if the seller won’t pay it. In the Seattle area, for example, brokers representing the buyer typically collect 3 percent of the purchase price on a home. So on a home sold for $500,000, the buyer’s broker receives $15,000 of the proceeds.

Buyers rarely think about commissions because brokers routinely say that their services don’t cost the buyer anything. The broker’s 3 percent commission is commonly baked into a home’s asking price, so buyers can end up paying it without realizing commissions are negotiable.

But now buyers and their brokers may be forced into talking about what those services are actually worth.

That’s because new brokerages like Surefield and Quill Realty, who both operate in the Seattle area, have declared war on the notion that sellers should pay any commission to the buyer’s agent — Surefield offers them a flat $2,000, while Quill pays nothing.

“The seller gets very little value out of buyer’s agent services,” said Craig Blackmon, Quill Realty’s managing broker. “If a buyer wants to be represented, they can negotiate that with their own agent.”

When consumers shop on sites like Redfin and Zillow, they can’t see how much commission the seller is offering — but real-estate brokers in the Multiple Listing Service cooperative can. The suspicion is that many brokers steer their buyers away from houses where the commission is low or nonexistent.

“They’ll all tell you the house won’t sell,” said David Eraker, Surefield’s CEO and previously co-founder of Seattle brokerage Redfin. “Given that consensus, it’s pretty interesting that every house we’ve listed this way has sold.”

Surefield says it’s sold a dozen homes so far this year that advertised a $2,000 fee to the buyer’s broker.

But in most cases, the buyer has had to pay their broker a fee to make up the difference — as Ian Finder discovered last month.

Finder, 25, started shopping for his first home in April with an agent and put in four unsuccessful offers above asking price before he got a town home under contract in May.

The town home in Seattle was listed at 11:11 a.m., and Finder and his agent got there in less than an hour.

When Finder put in an offer later that day, he said his agent asked him to sign a buyer’s agency agreement.

The house was listed for $469,000, and Finder offered $481,000, or 3 percent more. He said he expected to pay above asking price to win the house, but the extra $12,000 went toward his agent’s commission.

“It was a little awkward,” Finder recalled, but added, “I understand where he was coming from. This is the guy’s job. Nobody works for free.”

Finder said his agent worked fast to get him into homes and put together competitive offers. Still, “I would have liked if he would have given me a discount,” he said.

The agent couldn’t be reached for comment. But a spokeswoman for his agency acknowledged some agents do ask clients to sign buyer’s agency agreements.

Finder said he felt Surefield’s listings should disclose that it doesn’t offer a 3 percent commission to the buyer’s broker.

Rob McGarty, Surefield’s managing broker and co-founder, said MLS rules bar member brokers from disclosing to the public any information on commissions with listings.

“We’re all about transparency and wish all commissions were published so all consumers know what their agents are getting paid,” McGarty said.

The sellers of the house Finder bought, Myriam Askar and Ajit Banerjee, said they were impressed with Surefield’s expertise and knack for pricing the home right. Before they hired Surefield, Myriam Askar said another agency advised them to list the home in the low $400s.

As for the commission to the buyer’s agent, she said, “I don’t want to pay 3 percent of the transaction if I don’t have to.”