How Many Houses do Real Estate Agents Sell?

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Some real estate agents sell hundreds of houses a year and some don’t sell any. The amount of houses an agent sells depends on their business model, their market, their drive, their ability, and their team. I have sold more than 200 houses as an agent, but when I started and now I sell almost none. I struggled when I first started, and now I am a broker and investor who doesn’t want to sell. For agents to make a living they need to sell at least some houses. In very expensive markets you may only need to sell one house a year or in inexpensive markets, you may need to sell 20 houses a year to make a living.

How much do agents make?

Average incomes for real estate agents can vary based on the source you look at, and if an agent is part-time or full-time. People see that real estate agents make less than $40,000 a year on average and assume it is impossible to make more than $100,000 a year. The average income figures for real estate agents are skewed, because many agents do not work full-time and many agents do not put their hearts into the work. I have made over $100,000 a year the last six years and I know many real estate agents who make well over $100,000 a year. It is not rocket science and you do not have to work 80 hours a week to make good money as an agent.

How much do agents make on each house sale?

Real estate agents may not make as much money as you think on each sale. When you are selling a house it seems crazy to pay someone a commission that could be 6$ (all commissions are negotiable but HUD pays 6% to its agents). There are a few things to consider:

  • Real estate agents split that commission with another agent most of the time. The listing agent does not get all of it as the buyer’s agent gets paid as well.
  • Real estate agents do not usually keep all of their share of the commission. They have to hang their license with a broker and that broker usually takes a percentage (from a small fee of $200 to 50%).
  • Real estate agents pay for their own marketing, cars, insurance, education, and get very few if any benefits.
  • Real estate agents only get paid if a house sells.

After considering the commissions splits, an agent may make $2,000 to $3,000 on a $100,000 house sale.

How many houses do agents usually sell?

The average house is around $225,000. That means an agent would make about $5,000 per house sold if they sold average priced homes.  If the average agent makes $40,000 a year that means they sell about 8 houses a year. If an agent is in a much more expensive market they may only have to sell one house to make $40,000 or 20 houses if they are in a cheaper market.

How many houses does an agent have to sell to make $100,000 a year?

If you are selling $100,000 houses and paying 40 percent of your commission to your broker you would have to sell over 50 houses a year to gross $100,000 a year. That is a lot of houses to sell, especially for a new agent. If you can increase your average price, you can make much more money. Here is the breakdown of different sales numbers for different price points.

Average sale price     Commission kept     Number of houses needed to make $100,000

$100,000                            $2,500                                                   40

$200,000                           $5,000                                                   20

$300,000                           $7,500                                                    14

$500,000                           $12,500                                                    8

If you can sell higher-priced homes it makes a huge difference in the amount of money you will make. This is why training is so important and learning from others will make you more money. Not only will you make more money with training by selling more houses you should also learn how to sell higher dollar houses. You will also learn how to list houses, which can mean two commission checks on one sale!

If you break down how many houses you have to sell, you would only have to sell 2 houses a month to make close to $100,000 a year gross with an average price of $200,000.

If you want to get your real estate license I highly recommend Real Estate Express, which offers classes in all 50 states and has some of the lowest prices for real estate classes. Two of the agents on my team took online classes through them and easily passed the exam.

What are the expenses for agents?

If you gross $100,000 a year in commissions but spend $50,000 on expenses you aren’t really making $100,000 a year. This is why you have to track your spending carefully as an agent and be careful how much you advertise. There are hundreds of companies trying to take real estate agents money for leads. Few of them deliver any value and most of them are not worth the cost. As a new agent, it is important to focus on building relationships, not paying for leads. If you can keep your costs below $5,000 a year, one or two sales will make come close to covering your expenses instead of ten to twenty.

How much work do you have to do to make a living?

Being a real estate agent takes time and work. You have to get licensed, find a broker, find buyers and sellers and then show houses, list houses and sell houses. Even though it may not take a lot of hours to list a house and sell it, it takes many hours behind the scenes to find the sellers and build your business. Many people want to start real estate on a part-time basis, but it is very difficult. People want to talk to their agents and see houses at all times. If you have to work part-time you need to have a team or partner who can cover for you if you don’t have a flexible schedule.

Real estate agents don’t have to work 60 or 80 hours a week to make a lot of money, but sometimes they do have to work odd hours. Many buyers will have to work and want to see houses on the weekends, or after 5 or 6 pm. Even though you may work late some nights or on the weekends, you can also take time off during the workweek for your kid’s activities like a dance class or to pick them up from school.

Why good agents get better splits

In the beginning, it is best to work with a broker who will provide training to help you succeed. Once you find success and start selling a lot of houses, you become an asset to your broker. You will be in demand by many offices, because the more houses they sell, the more agents they can recruit. That means you can negotiate a lower commission split and make more money selling the same amount of homes. Eventually, you can move on to focusing on listings and hiring other agents to join your team who work with buyers. I have eight people on my team and I only work with REO sellers and friends and family. My team handles the rest of the business.

Conclusion

Making $100,000 a year is not out of reach for real estate agents. In fact, many agents accomplish this and earn much more. The money will not fall into your lap and the more training you have the better off you will be. One of the agents on my team made $100,000  in his first year in real estate.

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32 thoughts on “How Many Houses do Real Estate Agents Sell?”

  1. Glad I stumbled upon your blog as this insight in timely. I’ve been working in corporate America for 12 years now. I have an MBA, a well-paid job, manage a team and as a high potential female, a lot of upward growth potential. I also have three kids, an even more type-A, workaholic husband that travels and I’m to a that point where I’m willing to give up $$ for a more flexible schedule that allows me to be more involved with my kids and their activities. But I still want a career that provides the potential to do well with more of a correlation to results. My family has always been in real estate, I work in commercial real estate (for a big bank) and I have always had a passion for the industry. I would keep our full-time nanny, so I’m not looking at part-time and would be dedicating myself to whatever job I take on, but I’m trying to balance that when the realty of evening and weekend work in the real estate industry and if I’d be trading out more precious time than I realize. The other concern is loosing corporate benefits when you work for a company the size of mine. Something real estate agents clearly don’t get and my husband’s would be about a $650 increase/month if we had to move under his policy. Your thoughts/guidance?

    • Hi Jennifer! Benefits are a huge consideration. I think you have to look at the time carefully. You don’t have to work every night and every weekend and if you are you need to hire another agent to help you. You will have to work some weekends and some nights, but not all the time. You also will have free time during the day to spend with your kids if they aren’t in school yet or during the summer. Real estate is much more satisfying than corporate if you ask me because of the direct correlation between work and results. It is not necessarily the most work you do equals the most money, but the smartest work you do makes the most money.

    • Hi Jennifer
      You seem like you have a lot of skills and success under your belt in real estate. I’m inspired by any person that can juggle many roles in life, (mother ,wife,business woman).do you mentor? I’m very new into this and I know I have along way to go,but right now all I can think of doing is being successful and happy in something I’d love to career wise.any insight would greatly considered. Best wishes .

  2. Hi Mark…I’m a 57 year old retiree. My husband was recently downsized out of a corporate position. I am thinking of getting my real estate license to help out our situation. I understand it will take some time to build a clientel. I live in a suburb of Indianapolis. Do you believe that any age can build a business in Real Estate? I don’t want to go back to a job that I am investing in someone’s elses future.

    • Yes, I think you can make it at any age in real estate.

  3. Hey Mark, good read! I took my loan originating classes through pro schools online, passed everything, but never left my “9-5” job. I am a licensed plumber doing about 75k a year w some overtime. My wife is a nurse who just picked up our benefits and I’m really wanting a career change, real estate is right up my alley, however with 2 small kids, and not a ton of savings, I am struggling to make the jump. My company would allow me to work weekends to help with $, So that helps, i just want a career I can control, do later in life, and generate at least the income I do now! Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!

    • If you make the jump, go all in. It is hard to succeed part time.

  4. This is another fantastic article for mediocre agents to read, improve their strategies, and aim for the $100,000 mark. Great post!

    • Thank you!

  5. I just tried to buy your book for six figures into real estate and for some reason it’s not allowing me to go through. I wonder if you still have that option available or not.

    • I fixed it!

  6. Hi Mark, What is your advise for a mid 20 something year old agent? ( I am not an agent yet) I am going to start studying this month , I am the daughter of two real estate agents and they have been encouraging me for some time to get involved. My concern is, being “young”. What are the disadvantages? Will people trust their biggest investment to a young agent? What are your thoughts?

    • I think it is only a disadvantage if you think it is. People use young agents all the time.

  7. Hi Mark. It’s a great article you wrote. I have a full time job providing engineering consulting, but I am interested in real estate and thinking of doing part time. Do you think going part time would be hard for making a career in real estate. I am really looking for another part time career that I could potentially earn a little on side. Please let me know your thoughts

    • If you have a flexible schedule yes

  8. Thank you for the blog. I am a very successful Military recruiter. I definitely feel that I have the work ethic, interpersonal communication skills, as well as the leadership skills to help people find their next home. You answered many of my questions, however just as many people are scared to join the military, I am scared to leave. Has anyone heard of recruiters being successful in realty?

    • I think you would have many tools that would make you a successful agent

  9. Hi Mark,
    I have been interested in a career in real estate for some time though I can’t afford to leave my job right now to start full time without a consistent paycheck. Do you think starting part time might be a good way to get my foot in the door and save money to eventually be able to leave my current job for a full time real estate career?
    Thanks!

    • I think it depends on how flexible you current job is.

  10. Hello Mark, you said “houses” specifically. I live in Manhattan NYC which are primarily apartments. How does a person make 6 figures when there’s barely any houses in Manhattan? Is it really possible to make 6 figures dealing apartments?

    • Have you asked agents in your area how much they make? I imagine with the cost of living in NY, they would have to make a decent living to survive

  11. Hi Mark do you think you can make more money as a solo agent vs on a real estate team? And can you make over 150 to 200000.00 a yr on a team ? Thanks..

    • It depends on the person, the team and many other factors. yes you can make that much on a team.

  12. I will be a registered realtor in three more months in a rural area in Manitoba, Canada. Is it harder for rural real estate agents to sell houses and I am new at this, could you give me some good advice on how to compete with the “ regular realtors” that have been around for years

    Thx Brandie

  13. I was thinking about becoming a real estate agent once I graduate high school. I was wondering if you have any insight on what to do (like what is the deal with becoming a Realtor, and where is the best place to live as a real estate agent). Also, I was wondering if you have any great tips for me.

    • Have you seen my book on being a real estate agent?

  14. Is a real estate agent job better then a real estate broker job?

    • Depends on your goals. Do you want to run an office or sell houses?

  15. Hello,

    I am working in the Real Estate Title Industry right now. I love my job, but being a single mom, the money is not there. I don’t think I would be able to be a Realtor and work for the Title Company at the same time (might be against our employee policy) and I am nervous about not making enough to be able to afford our bills. Do you have any pointers for someone in my position?

    thanks!

    • It might be tough being at the title agency and an agent. As you said could be a conflict of interest. I would be careful. I think it is best to go full time right away but it is tough

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