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Here's an interesting post by Len Harley that I wanted to pass on to my local agents outside of Activerain. Based on the latest NAR statistics, is real estate still a viable business for the average agent? I would think not. However, I would be interested to see what these numbers would look like in Sonoma County.

Original content by Lenn Harley 303829;0225082372


A review of the NAR statistics on AGENT and BROKER earnings for 2010, it would appear that agents and Lennbrokers need other forms of income to maintain a standard of living to which are accustomed. 

For agents who entered the real estate business between the years 2004 and 2007, they have had a rude awakening.  While our business has always had it's ups and downs in terms of agent income, the loss of about 20% of the NAR membership is not matched by a 20% increase in income for present members.   

  • The NAR reports that the typical NAR member had 8 transaction sides in 2010-this is up from 7 sides in 2009.

For the average market today with a sales price of $200,000, this number represents an annual income of about $24,000.  

  • The NAR reports that Brokers and broker associates typically had 10 transactions, while sales agents typically had 7.

That would represent an annual income of about $30,000 for brokers and broker associates.  Not sufficient if the broker is also a broker/owner.  Of course, this number may represent "net income to the broker".  The question is, "what is the overhead"? 

  • The NAR reports that 51 percent of members had transaction involving a property in foreclosure and 44 percent of members had a transaction involving a short sale.

THAT IS VERY TELLING since most foreclosures and short sales represent a less than average SOLD price and the commissions for these sales is generally lower than for home owner sales.

  • The NAR reports that - While the median transaction sides increased, the brokerage sales volume fell to $1.1 million in 2010 from $1.2 million in 2009. Members had more transactions (typically), but the total volume of what those sales were worth was lower in 2010 than in 2009.

If that $1.1 million represents "sales volume", it may also represent "gross income", in which case, the income is not sufficient to maintain a real estate practice in most real estate markets across the U.S.

  • The NAR reports that - A transaction side can either be the selling or buying side of a real estate transaction. If the agent worked as both the buyer and seller's agent that would count as two transaction sides.

Which serves to encourage dual agency to the detriment of many home buyers.   Although the benefits of dual agency to an individual agent is not generally significant because of the limitations under most state's license laws, to brokers, it usually means twice the income.   

  • For more information on the 2011 NAR Member Profile, click here.



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Posted by


Anthony Ebright NMLSR ID #247647

Home Loan Officer / FHA and VA Specialist




You can reach Anthony Ebright at 707-548-0752 if you need help refinancing or purchasing your home in Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Bodega Bay, Windsor, Cloverdale, Guerneville, Sonoma.



Anthony Ebright is a Home Loan Officer in Santa Rosa, California. His opinions and statements are his own. Wells Fargo does not endorse any comments made by its employees on this blog. All statements and viewpoints expressed in the comments are strictly those of the commenter alone, and do not constitute an official position of any lending institution.


Copyright 2009. © Anthony Ebright. All rights Reserved.
NMLSR ID #247647

Comments (4)

Lori Bowers
La Quinta, CA
The Lori Bowers Group

This is so sad. It sounds like to me it is time to raise our commissions to 10%.

Jul 07, 2011 04:24 AM
Jeff Craig
Hang Me Up Photos - Jamestown, NC
Greensboro Area Real Estate Photography

It seems like agents are dropping out of the business at an alarming rate.  I have a feeling many who are staying in are only able to do so because of a spouses income.

Jul 07, 2011 04:54 AM
Kelley Eling
Fathom Realty Group - Sonoma, CA
Realtor Extraordinaire

Interesting statistics, Anthony.  Thanks for sharing.


Jul 11, 2011 01:50 PM
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty - Healdsburg, CA

Here's a quick snapshot of Sonoma County as of August 17.

Total residential sales to date. 3,348 transactions totalling $1,264,109,628

There are 2,538 agents listed in the MLS as based in Sonoma County.

Figuring an average 5% commission, that works out to $24,903 for each agent. Clearly some are doing better and some worse, but at 2/3 of the way into 2011 we're mildly ahead of the national average on dollar volume.

Based on transactions, we're way behind. The numbers above work out to about 6,700 transaction sides so far in 2011. With 2,538 agents working the market, that's an average of 2.6 sides this year for an average agent. Ouch.

Aug 19, 2011 04:50 AM