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2018 Real Estate Agent


Income Guide

What’s inside? Find out what top producers do that others don’t and take action to increase your earning potential. We surveyed 1,000+ real estate professionals to better understand the strategies and tactics they use to succeed.

Customer Profile Real Estate Agent Snapshot Average gross income: $71,000 Hours worked per week: 21-40 Career satisfaction: 4.08/5

Real Estate Broker Snapshot Average gross income: $123,000 Hours worked per week: 41-59 Career satisfaction: 4.59/5

These averages come from 1,029 real estate professionals who have taken a course with Real Estate Express’ sister company, McKissock Learning, the leading provider of real estate continuing education and professional development.

Agent earnings are up The majority of both real estate agents and brokers indicate they earned more from their real estate business in 2017 than they did in 2016.


of real estate agents earned more in 2017 than 2016


of real estate brokers earned more in 2017 than 2016

70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0%





2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia

Career satisfaction Real estate agents are happy with their career. In fact, they are reportedly 28 percent more satisfied in their careers than American workers across all professions.* They are also optimistic about what’s to come in their real estate career, with 80 percent of agents and 85 percent of brokers indicating their future looks bright. This optimism is fueled by what respondents categorize as a strong and growing market.

Career satisfaction rating






United States* *SOURCE: The Conference Board, 2017

Real estate professionals are optimistic about the future 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%


2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia







Income by career satisfaction Eight out of 10 real estate agents are satisfied with their career choice. A healthy work-life balance, robust brokerage support, an adaptive approach to technology and a respectable income are reasons they cite for their happiness.

Agents who are very satisfied with their career earn nearly 4.5 times the income of agents who aren’t very satisfied.


$105,413 $100,000 $80,000

$63,642 $60,000 $40,000




Not satisfied

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied


Not very satisfied



Somewhat satisfied

Very satisfied

2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia

Common factors that influence income Real estate agent income rises with experience and hours worked, as is the case with most careers. It’s important for those just beginning their career in real estate to find helpful resources and communities to keep them engaged and growing, especially in the first couple years. When it comes to hours worked per week, real estate agents need to find their sweet spot between work-life balance and their income desires. One of the best things about a career in real estate is that you get to make this decision for yourself.

Agent income rises with experience

Surround yourself with support The first year in real estate is always the hardest,

Years of experience in real estate

Under a year

but agents that stick with it see the payoff. Agents


1-3 years

who have the most success in the first year are those that find a supportive brokerage and seek


out a knowledgeable mentor for guidance. $62,138

4-10 years


11-25 years


26+ years $0






Longer hours pay off

Find the right work-life balance

Avg. hours worked per week

One of the best things about a career in real estate Less than 20 hrs

is flexibility in your schedule. That said, those


21-40 hrs

reaching their full potential are putting in more hours. It’s up to agents to find the work-life balance


that’s best for their particular situation. $99,378

41-59 hrs 60 hrs or more







2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia




Broker trends: What you need to know When it comes to brokerage firms, they’re not all created equal. And that’s not a bad thing. Take a look at some of the trends below and see how your firm can stay ahead.

Trend 1: Real estate brokers are hiring Real estate brokerages are continuously looking for new real estate talent to add to their team. Brokers from around the country agree there are a few qualities that all top producers possess, and that they look for when recruiting agents to their firm. Agents who:


1. Can consistently deliver superior customer or client experience 2. Have people skills 3. Have a deep understanding of the local market

of brokerages

4. Are willing to embrace new technologies

face new agent

5. Are a good fit with the brokerage culture

recruitment challenges

6. Are willing to continue learning about real estate and industry best practices

Why is this important? While there’s a low barrier to enter the real estate industry, there is a high barrier for success. Smart brokerages understand the difference and compete to keep top producers equipped with the tools and training they need to stay focused on “wow”-ing clients.

Trend 2: Agents have options There are large differences between real estate brokerages, including the company’s structure, operation and philosophy. It’s important to communicate your brokerage’s value proposition and recognize that not everyone is a cultural fit.

Average income by brokerage type International




National franchise


Hybrid brokerage


Independently owned brokerage




Regional franchise

$34,167 $0






Why is this important? Depending where your brokerage falls on this spectrum, it may give you a point of distinction when recruiting new agents or retaining your top producers.



2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia

Trend 3: More than half of agents switch brokerages More than half of the people in this survey have switched brokerages at some point in their real estate career. Agents cite a variety of reasons why,

Yes 58%

including agent/broker split, training, mentoring, fees, culture, and leadership among others. Why is this important? Just like in corporate America, culture plays an

40% No

important role in the overall productivity of your teams. The approach and standards you set for your brand matter, and the people on your team should align. Be sure you’re providing robust training and engaging your agents.

Trend 4: Brokerages are offering additional benefits Recruitment of new real estate agents remains a challenge among 83 percent of brokerage firms, and many haven’t upped the ante when it comes to offering additional benefits beyond the traditional commission split.

Does your brokerage firm provide the following benefits? Savings plan: (401K), 403(b)


Medical insurance


Reimbursement for education fees






Long-term disability


Short-term disability




Tuition reimbursement


Daycare 0%

1.25% 5%




Why is this important? Times have changed, and brokerages are using traditional benefits to differentiate themselves and offer agents more stability.

2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia



Key areas where experts excel We identified four key areas where the experts excel. It’s no surprise that top earners are those who are experts in finding quality leads, winning listings and managing their budget. One interesting key takeaway is that these top earners are also investing in themselves (see insight No. 4 for more).


Network, network, network

Top earners consistently find quality leads

Agents who consistently find quality leads earn nearly $100,000 more than agents who


fail at finding quality leads. Not surprising


when you consider real estate is a business


built on lead generation. Word of mouth


remains a top source for referrals, so always Novice


be ethical.


$26,341 $0







Understand your client’s needs

Top earners consistently win real estate listings

Agents who are experts at winning listings over other agents earn 3.7 times the


income of those who don’t. The key to



winning the listing is truly listening to— and understanding—your prospective



client’s needs and goals. In turn, you can customize your approach and solve their


particular pain points. Failing

$30,154 $0









2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia


Gain marketing expertise

Top earners manage their marketing ROI

The rapid growth of digital marketing channels over the past few years has given


agents a wealth of ways to reach buyers



and sellers, but it can add up quickly if not managed properly. Real estate professionals



who are experts at managing their marketing spend are earning $64,000 more per year



than those who are failing.

$43,462 $0








High earners stay updated on trends and best practices

Invest in yourself Agents who invest in their education and stay up-to-date on industry trends and


best practices earn 2.5 times the income



of agents who are failing in this area. Now, more than ever, it’s important to invest



in yourself and your career. There’s no shortage of opportunities, from professional


development courses and news sites to social Failing

media and conferences.

$39,412 $0





2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia




The gender pay gap is less than the national average Across national statistics for all occupations, women were paid 80 percent of what their male counterparts were

paid in 2016. According to our survey, female real estate professionals earn 86 percent of what males are paid.

Female $67,697

Other $63,438

Male $78,434

National wage statistics 2016*

Real estate agent wage statistics 2016

80% 20%

86% 14%

female vs. male earnings wage-gap

female vs. male earnings wage-gap

*AAUW, 2016

It pays to specialize As people enter the real estate profession, they usually pick an area or two to grow their expertise. Here’s a look at common specialties, as well as their associated earnings. $100,000

$90,000 $90,015





Multi-family properties







Second homes

Short sales/foreclosures

Green or eco-friendly properties

Investment properties

Foreign investment





$64,976 $55,820 Affordable housing

Property management

and/or rentals

Residential properties


Commercial properties

The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing is the premier independent authority in training and designation for real estate agents working in the luxury residential market. Real estate professionals who earn The Institutes’s Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) designation for luxury home marketing earn an average of $291,000 per year. Learn more at LuxuryHomeMarketing.com



2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia

There’s more where this came from

Get the complete guide!

Income Guide


Download today at RealEstateExpress.com/Income

2 018 Real Est ate Agent

Methodology Data in this report is from a survey conducted in February 2018 that generated 1,029 responses from licensed real estate professionals in the United States who are students of Real Estate Express’ sister company, McKissock Learning. The study has a 5 percent margin of error at a 99 percent confidence level. Learn more about the study at RealEstateExpress.com/Income

2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide | RISMedia



It’s Time. Invest in Your Own Success. Real estate is a career

those who self-identify as “failing” in this area earn just $39,412 per year. Let that sink in for a moment: You could earn nearly $60,000 more each year by investing in yourself.

where you get out of it

Here’s how to start:

what you’re willing to put

• Set aside money for training and give yourself

in, which is why many of us chose this profession. We are hard-working, customercentric salespeople who want to build wealth. And, as

permission to use it

• Build learning goals into your business plan

anyone in the industry will tell you, there isn’t only one

• Carve out time to read, listen, watch, and learn

path to success.

• Mix up learning formats with podcasts, videos

The key is to never stop learning. It’s that simple. Luckily,

we live in a day and age where information is at our

• Look for accreditations and state approvals when

fingertips. The challenge is sorting through the clutter to find the strategies and tactics that actually work.

and in-person conferences signing up for training

This report shows that real estate professionals who invest in their education earn 2.5 times as much as those who don’t. Agents who self-identify as “experts” in staying updated on trends and best practices earn an average gross income of $99,385 per year, where

Tom Davidson, General Manager, Real Estate Express and McKissock

A full spectrum of industry-leading real estate education solutions Get your Brokers License

Go ahead. Give yourself permission to invest in yourself. Pre-licensing and exam prep

Skill development and CE compliance

Designation and professional development




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requirements and useful job aids for one low fee. Make education easy.

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