How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make?


Ever wonder how much that real estate agent you constantly see on bus benches and your grocery store receipts makes?

Well, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released some interesting data Tuesday regarding just that.

And it’s not really good news (surprisingly).

The study, titled “2011 National Association of Realtors® Member Profile,” covers more than half of the approximately two million active real estate licensees in the United States.

It found that the median income for a “Realtor” fell 4.5 percent to just $34,100 last year, which followed a three percent decline in 2009.

For NAR members in the game just two years or less, the median income was a paltry $8,900, while those in the business 16 years or more earned a median $47,100.

Members licensed as real estate brokers earned a median of $48,700 last year, while sales agents earned $24,900.

Just 16 Percent of Agents Earn Six Figures

But it’s not all bad. Sixteen percent earned a six-figure income, which kind of highlights the wide range of possible salaries based on the entrepreneurial nature of the job.

Essentially, you’ve got a large group of real estate agents that don’t close many if any transactions in a given year, then the heavy hitters that close the lion’s share of sales year after year.

That’s evidenced by their work rate, with 14 percent working fewer than 20 hours per week, 30 percent working 20 to 39 hours, 41 percent putting in 40 to 59 hours, and 15 percent throwing down 60 hours per week or more.

Do Realtors practice what they preach?

Largely, yes. Apparently ninety-one percent of Realtors are homeowners, and 43 percent own at least one investment property, while 16 percent own at least one vacation home.

Additionally, 10 percent own at least one commercial property. So they’re aren’t just selling, they’re buying as well.

Oh, and the median household income for a Realtor was $91,700, which is well above the national median of $50,000, so I suppose they marry well too.

For the record, 2011 wasn’t a good year in the real estate world, so the numbers could be skewed somewhat.  But then again, real estate is cyclical, so bad years are expected (and should be calculated) along with the good.

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