Real estate agents make money from the commission charged on the transaction of selling or purchasing a real estate property. A real estate agent’s salary will largely depend on their experience, the time they commit to the job, the number of deals they can close and the commission split with their brokerage. In this article, we will explore how much real estates agents make in different states in America and how they earn this income.
Before we start, it is important to note that a realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the U.S. All members of NAR must follow a strict code of conduct to be a part of the association. Therefore, many real estate agents join NAR in hopes of attracting more clients, given the association’s good reputation. This brings some discrepancies between how much a realtor makes and how much real estate agents make in different states.
States with the Highest Salaries for Realtors
For 2021, Virginia is the state with the highest-paid realtors in the U.S. The average salary of a realtor in Virginia is estimated to be approximately $122,000. Therefore, if you live in Virginia, it is worth exploring real estate as a career option.
Ohio comes second in the list of states with highest paid realtors in the U.S. The average salary of a realtor in Ohio is estimated to be around $102,000. It is worth mentioning that Ohio has experienced a huge turnover in the housing market, which has led to more property transactions and finally to bigger checks for realtors.
The average salary of realtors in Massachusetts is around $89,000, ranking this state the third in our list. The high salary of realtors in Massachusetts comes from the fact that real estate property is quite expensive. Therefore, closing a few transactions of high value would still bring in a lot of income for the realtor.
4. New York
New York is home to some of the highest-paid realtors in the country. Being a centre of entertainment, business and technology, there will always be people interested in purchasing a property in New York. A realtor in New York makes on average $83,000 per year.
Surprisingly enough, Texas ranks 5th in the list of states with the highest salaries for realtors. Realtors in Texas make on average $80,000. The reason behind this may be the lower mortgage rates offered in Texas, pushing people to purchase properties.
6. North Carolina
North Carolina has an affordable housing market that has brought in lots of investors to purchase properties. The high volume of real estate transactions in North Carolina has ranked the state in the list of best paid realtors. On average, a realtor in North Carolina can expect to make around $75,000 annually.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, real estate agents in Washington D.C earn on average $69,700 yearly. It is said that the time when a house sale or purchase takes place is very important here as properties’ values skyrocket in the months of winter. This presents a good opportunity for realtors to bring in a huge chunk of their income even when closing only a few deals.
Tennessee is one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S., which somewhat explains the demand for properties in the state. On average, a real estate agent in Tennessee makes roughly $55,000.
How do realtors get paid?
A realtor makes money off of the commission they charge from selling a house. The average real estate commission charged in the U.S. is 5-6% of the sale price of the house. However, this commission must be split between two agents: the buyer agent and the seller agent. The logistics of this work is that the seller of the house pays the seller agent, who has to give typically half of this commission to the buyer agent. This means that each receives 2.5-3% of the sale price of the house in commission.
However, in the U.S., all real estate agents, no matter if they are members of NAR or not, must work under a brokerage. The brokerage also needs to receive their share in each real estate transaction its agents close. In fact, the brokerage is the one that receives the commission from the seller in the first place and then pays the agent their share. How the real estate commission is split between the agent and the brokerage is agreed upon when the real estate agent first starts working for the brokerage.
The commission split agent-brokerage can either be 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, 80/20 or 90/10. This depends on the experience the realtor has and how much business he or she brings to the brokerage. Some other brokerages follow a different payment scheme where the realtor would need to split the commission with the brokerage up until they reach a cap for the year. This means that once the realtor makes the brokerage an amount of money, they get to keep all the commission themselves or a bigger portion of it at least.
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Example of Commission Split
Imagine that a realtor just closed a deal worth $350,000. The commission they charge to the seller is 6%. The seller agent splits the commission with their brokerage in a 60/40 ratio, while the buyer agent splits it in a 80/20 ratio. How much would the seller agent, buyer agent, seller broker and buyer broker make off of this transaction?
The total commission charge = 6% * $350,000 = $21,000
Seller agent and broker receives = ½ * $21,000 = $10,500
Buyer agent and broker receives = ½ * $21,000 = $10,500
Seller agent receives = 60% * $10,500 = $6,300
Seller broker receives = 40% * $10,500 = $4,200
Buyer agent receives = 80% * $10,500 = $8,400
Buyer broker receives = 20% * $10,500 = $2,100
How to increase my income as a realtor?
The best thing about being a realtor is that there is no limitation to how much you can make in a year. Unlike traditional 9-5 jobs, as a realtor, your flow of income will mostly depend on how good you are at finding and closing deals. If you are new to the field and you are still struggling to increase your income, here are 5 tips to help you secure more client leads:
1. Expand your sphere of influence
When it comes to purchasing a house, people are more cautious on who they work with as this person will be the one who is supposed to get them the best deal on their dream home. That is why most clients want to work with people they know and trust. In order to secure the best quality leads, as a realtor, you will have to expand your sphere of influence. To do this, you have to keep constant communication with clients who you have worked with in the past as there is a good chance that in the future they will refer you to someone they know who is looking to purchase or sell a house. Maintaining relationships is a crucial aspect of the real estate business and if you want to boost your income, you will first have to invest in relationship building.
2. Run online ads
If you simply want to increase the number of leads, online ads are always a good alternative. Advertising your business on real estate listing platforms is a good place to start, since most prospective buyers and sellers will be spending a lot of time on these platforms. The most important thing to remember is that you have to follow up with the leads generated from online ads. If you have a hard time keeping track of all your leads, then a CRM software might be helpful. However, there is an issue with this type of lead generation. The competition for leads is typically very high and, depending on your budget, you may run out of money before you even get to land a client.
3. Specialize in a Niche
Finding a niche that is less competitive and specializing in it can be a great way of securing clients for yourself. This way, you can also make lead generation more effective by knowing that you are not competing with tens of other agents for the same lead. Make sure to research the real estate market you are working in, identify different groups of clients and their needs and how these needs will change in the future in order to find a niche that will be the most profitable long-term.
your income as a realtor will depend on a lot of factors including the years of experience you have, the amount of time you commit to the career, and your ability to build and maintain relationships with clients and third parties. However, the state you live in and the housing market it has to offer also play a big role in how much you will end up earning yearly as a realtor.
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