How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make?

Real estate agents work with brokers to help clients purchase, sell, or rent residential, commercial, agricultural, or other properties.

Real estate agents typically are responsible for soliciting potential clients, advising these clients on prices or market conditions, comparing properties for sale, promoting the sale of a property through advertisement, presenting purchase offers, and meditating all negotiations for a successful sale.

Salary
Real estate agents work for brokers on a contract basis, which mean their earnings are a portion of the commission from every property they sell. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2012 record, the mean annual salary for real estate agents is $51,930. In other words, the 162,560 real estate agents nationwide earned a mean hourly wage of $24.97. The lowest ten percent of real estate agents earn an average $20,700, while the top ten percent make an average of $95,540 annually.

For real estate agents employed within a real estate office, the average real estate agent salary is right around normal at $52,870. However, real estate agents employed within the federal government see an annual average paycheck of $75,930, and those employed in residential building construction earn $54,090. Although it depends on which industry the agent is employed in, there are certain states that pay higher for this occupation. Real estate agents in New York boast annual earnings of $83,660, while those in District of Columbia come in at a close second at $82,830 annually.

State Hourly Wage Average Salary Number of Jobs
Alabama $26.54 $55,210 1,510
Alaska $32.92 $68,480 190
Arizona $16.56 $34,440 4,320
Arkansas $17.32 $36,040 650
California $25.13 $52,280 14,010
Colorado $23.42 $48,720 3,120
Connecticut $29.45 $61,250 900
Delaware $25.74 $53,540 710
Florida $19.61 $40,800 26,300
Georgia $25.23 $52,480 8,100
Hawaii $25.56 $53,170 350
Idaho $17.58 $36,570 540
Illinois $37.24 $77,470 5,230
Indiana $20.57 $42,790 1,370
Iowa $21.74 $45,210 680
Kansas $22.55 $46,900 470
Kentucky $18.03 $37,510 1,620
Louisiana $19.84 $41,260 1,160
Maine $18.72 $38,940 180
Maryland $25.00 $52,010 3,160
Massachusetts $27.47 $57,140 2,190
Michigan $22.46 $46,720 2,110
Minnesota $20.73 $43,110 2,010
Mississippi $16.74 $34,830 800
Missouri $19.43 $40,420 2,630
Montana $20.21 $42,040 420
Nebraska $23.83 $49,560 470
Nevada $21.73 $45,200 1,720
New Hampshire $19.97 $41,530 270
New Jersey $24.14 $50,220 1,600
New Mexico $31.11 $64,700 300
New York $40.22 $83,660 16,480
North Carolina $26.23 $54,560 4,150
North Dakota $18.55 $38,590 630
Ohio $22.27 $46,310 3,440
Oklahoma $19.94 $41,470 2,130
Oregon $22.54 $46,890 760
Pennsylvania $26.81 $55,770 6,710
Rhode Island $28.90 $60,120 260
South Carolina $18.45 $38,370 3,350
South Dakota $25.92 $53,920 270
Tennessee $18.25 $37,960 980
Texas $23.16 $48,180 17,010
Utah $26.02 $54,120 2,090
Vermont 120
Virginia $24.01 $49,930 9,760
Washington $24.13 $50,190 2,850
West Virginia $21.53 $44,770 170
Wisconsin $21.17 $44,030 1,530
Wyoming $30.96 $64,400 190
Data courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment
The majority, an estimated 57 percent, of real estate agents are self-employed or independent contractors through their own practice or partnership with a broker. Sales agents also are employed within brokerage offices, leasing offices, and a variety of other real estate companies. Work environments can range from a single person to a large firm with numerous agents and branches. As the real estate market begins to rebound from the economic crisis, it is expected that employment for real estate agents in these settings will grow at an average 11 percent from 2010 to 2020.

Some real estate agents work in a normal office setting, while others are given the freedom to telecommute from their home. Either way, individuals in this profession spend the majority of their time away from a desk. They spend their time showing customers potential properties, traveling to conduct research on properties for sale, and meeting with clients or other agents. Real estate agents work irregular hours in excess of the standard eight-hour work day, including evenings and weekend hours.