How much do real estate agents make?

The amount of money a real estate agent makes each year varies greatly, but according to the National Association of REALTORS®, the median gross income for real estate agents in 2019 was $41,800. However, a real estate agent’s income is dependent on a number of different factors, including years of experience, hours worked, market conditions, specializations and more.

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Here are the top four factors, outside of market conditions, that determine how much real estate agents make:

1. Hours worked

For the vast majority of real estate agents, income is highly dependent on the number of hours worked. This creates a wide pay gap between part-time and full-time agents with full-time agents earning considerably more than part-time agents. However, if you are not sure you can make the full switch to real estate, testing the waters by becoming a part-time agent first is a great way to earn extra income while hanging on to your current job.

2. Location

Average income for real estate agents is highly variable based on region, state, city, and the health of the local market. In general, if you want to earn more, you need to work primarily in urban or suburban areas where the average cost per home is higher.

Among the cities with the highest average real estate agent salaries are:

State City Avg. Salary
Hawaii Honolulu $120,471
Virginia Charlottesville $98,446
Washington Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue $96,004
New York New York-Long Island $93,343

 

3. Specialty or niche

Just like doctors or nurses specialize in certain areas of medicine, real estate agents often specialize in different areas of real estate. Regardless of state, agents who specialize in commercial and luxury residential properties typically earn more than their counterparts as these types of properties have higher price points and therefore higher commissions.

Agent Annual Income by Niche

4. Years of experience

The first year in real estate is always the hardest, but agents who stick with it see the payoff within a year. After getting at least one year of experience under their belt, agents typically earn over $20,000 more per year. Agents who have the most success in the first year are those who find a supportive brokerage and seek out a knowledgeable mentor for guidance.

If you take these factors into consideration, you can have a more accurate estimate of the type of income you would earn as a real estate agent.

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Want to see how your city or state compares to the rest of the country? This table outlines the average salary for real estate agents for the top metro areas of each state.

State Location Avg. Salary
Alabama Birmingham $95,571
Alabama Statewide $94,433
Arizona Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale $84,440
Arizona Statewide $88,959
Arkansas Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway $90,670
Arkansas Statewide $91,228
California Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim $91,205
California Statewide $92,223
Colorado Denver $89,243
Colorado Statewide $82,601
Georgia Atlanta $75,612
Georgia Statewide $78,002
Hawaii Honolulu $120,471
Hawaii Statewide $117,392
Illinois Chicago $79,654
Illinois Statewide $81,122
Indiana Indianapolis $82,357
Indiana Statewide $92,372
Iowa Des Moines $53,035
Iowa Statewide $98,908
Kansas Wichita $81,931
Kansas Statewide $76,528
Kentucky Louisville $80,722
Kentucky Statewide $94,740
Louisiana New Orleans $76,302
Louisiana Statewide $59,548
Maryland Baltimore $82,680
Maryland Statewide $79,619
Michigan Detroit $76,972
Michigan Statewide $80,080
Minnesota Minneapolis-St Paul $73,331
Minnesota Statewide $81,426
Mississippi Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula $69,761
Mississippi Statewide $98,675
Missouri St. Louis $72,936
Missouri Statewide $81,287
Montana Missoula $61,798
Montana Statewide $73,925
Nevada Las Vegas-Paradise-Henderson $80,770
Nevada Statewide $88,169
New York New York-Long Island $93,343
New York Statewide $86,872
Oklahoma Oklahoma City $85,459
Oklahoma Statewide $72,246
Pennsylvania Philadelphia $72,234
Pennsylvania Statewide $87,700
South Carolina Columbia $57,656
South Carolina Statewide $89,376
Texas Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington $84,044
Texas Statewide $75,456
Utah Salt Lake City $87,987
Utah Statewide $87,576
Virginia Arlington-Alexandria $82,415
Virginia Statewide $78,204
Washington Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue $96,415
Washington Statewide $95,050
Washington, D.C. District of Columbia $85,281
Wisconsin Milwaukee $75,170
Wisconsin Statewide $79,855

 

The information in this table is taken from Indeed.com and other salary comparison sites. The average salaries listed are not a guarantee of how much money you will make as a real estate agent in that area. We recommend you conduct more research in order to get a more nuanced estimation of the amount of money you can expect to make as a real estate agent based on your work experience, skills, and education level.