How much do we Realtors REALLY make???

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Tomlinson


I get so tired of reading about how much Realtors make in the news...Today in our local paper an article hit saying that billions of dollars have been made in Real Estate commissions this year..The media makes it sound like we are all sitting around raking in the dough and doing absolutely nothing!!  How untrue..If that was the fact, I'd be sitting on a warm sunny beach right now sipping a drink with an umbrella in it. I'd like to share with you all where your well spent dollars go when you hire a Realtor to market your home.

Let's say your home is worth $175,00..(the average price of a home in the Lewis-Clark Valley)

If I list and sell your home with a 6% commission the fee would be $10,500.

That amount is split between me, the listing agent, and the agent who brings you the buyer..Most people who look to buy a home will contact a realtor to help them. It is my job as a listing agent to not only market your home to the public, but to other Realtors as well...Realtors with solid buyers, not just people who are "tile kickers" as I like to call them...

That makes the commission $5,250 per agent...BUT WAIT!!

That amount will then get spit with the Real Estate companies broker..(the owner or manager of the company who the Realtor works from)..Currently..I keep 70% of the listing side, but it varies per office and individual Realtor..

That gives me about $3500 after the spit...but there is more taken out...

There is the advertising that was done..On average I would say for a property of this price range I would probably spend..about $100 per month.  The average time a home sits on the market is 3 there is $300 spent for ads..making my take only $3200. 

The property may need a little staging..lets say I purchased flower baskets to hang from the porch to attract buyers eyes in the spring, or put some pretty poinsettias on the mantle for the holiday season..

If the home is vacant and it is winter..I may pay someone to come and insure that the heater is in working order..or maybe another Realtors client breaks something, forgets to return the key, etc...there are so many things that come up to list..This also usually comes out of my pocket..

I may on average only gross $2500 from the sale of that property!  This is not in any way a shabby pay check, by far!!  But a long way from getting rich. 

As I stated earlier, we also market to the public.  We try to bring buyers to your property, being our listing, or another agents...We spend a lot of money on buyers as well.  We drive them around going from home to home, and in many cases not sell them a thing!!  We do not get paid for doing that.  We also usually end up buying the home seeker lunch during a full day of home seeking..If they bring the whole family that can get spendy. 

In many cases we have to "pay" for our buyers.  I am a certified relocation specialist..which means I have to pay to keep that certification in order for them to "give" me buyers.  If a buyer or seller is referred to my by another company, I will also have to give them 25% of my commission for that referral.

Don't forget to pay taxes in April!!!  We have to pay our own taxes as well.

Each month I pay for insurance, education, plus dues in order to be able to keep my license.  Being a Realtor is very expensive, in fact.

Then why do I do it?  Why do I risk all that money in order to be a Realtor?

Well, I do make a good living at it, I won't lie about that.  But I also sell quit a lot of homes.  I like to have 3 to 5 deals going each month.  Out of those deals, it seems as if one will fall through before getting to the closing table.  I work very hard to get as much as possible just in case others don't make it.  I also have to save money for the winter months, since it slows down here from October to January..Many agents do not do any business in these months.  If I have a really HOT month, I certainly don't run out and spend all my money, I think about taking care of my family during the months where things cool off.  But I enjoy the winter..I get to spend more time with my family. 

That is the number 1 reason why I enjoy being a Realtor.  I have a lot of flexibility.  I also get a chance to meet a lot of great people, and help in times of crisis.  Many times there is a crisis involved in the sale of a property.  It makes me feel good to know I helped someone avoid a truck load of stress by taking away the burden of a sale of a property during financial woes, divorce, death or a major transfer.

So next time you read an article about how rich us Realtors are, I hope you remember this BLOG.  If a realtor does do really well and makes a lot of money it just means that they work extremely hard.  I just hope that if they are making an extreme salary they are doing some good with it, and not just showing off everything that they bought.

At this point, I want to thank all my past and current clients for making my career choice a real blessing.

I am excited about the things to come in '08!!


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Heather the Realtor Orlando, Lake Mary
LemonTree Realty - Orlando, FL
First Time Home Buyers, Bank Owned Homes
Shari this is so true we work very hard for what we make and sometimes if you spread that out over an hourly cost sometimes McDonalds workers make more then us.
Dec 20, 2007 12:51 PM #1
John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana
Right on Shari, a lot of clients really don't think we work that hard for the money.
Dec 20, 2007 12:52 PM #2
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

We just tear up a bill, and the little piece that was the bottom right corner; that's ours. And we're happy to get it, even if the public thinks it's so much more. Ssssshhh! They wouldn't believe us if we told 'em.


Dec 20, 2007 12:56 PM #3
Shari George
Coldwell Banker Tomlinson - Lewiston, ID
Thanks for the support, guys!!  If I were so rich, I would have not spent 4 hours pouring over the computer today doing BPO's...I could be out playing
Dec 20, 2007 01:00 PM #5
Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes
I just did a review of all me expenses for the year- and they really add up.  Although the gross income is pretty high, if you  look at your net your income, you'll be pretty surprised how little you actually make.
Dec 20, 2007 01:01 PM #6
Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC
And don't forget that since agents are 1099 folks, they're paying the self-employment tax unless they're incorporated.  Talk about a wretched tax-we're punished an extra 15% because we aren't part of corporate America. 
Dec 20, 2007 01:04 PM #7
Jon Miller
United Country-Marshland Realty - Beaufort, SC
Even after a 25-year career in the military, I can honestly say I've never worked harder for so little return in my life.  I spend wayyyy more than what you quoted on advertising every month.  I've had two sales fall through this past couple weeks too.  If I were able to convert all I've worked on this past year, I'd be sitting on that warm, sunny beach sipping drinks with umbrellas in it too. 
Dec 20, 2007 01:05 PM #8
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
weird....just had one of those 'Deja Vu' moments.......
Dec 20, 2007 06:32 PM #9
Irene Woodworth
Color and Redesign Academy & Redesign Boise - Garden City, ID
Color-Redesign-Staging, Trainer & Motivational Speaker - Idaho


Thank you for sharing your insights on what Realtors really make.  I know as an Entrepreneur there seem to be a lot more expenses than people ever realize.  I do enjoy the flexibiity, though.  Thanks fo sharing!

Have a Colorful Day!

Jun 21, 2008 11:16 AM #10

And don't forget that since agents are 1099 folks, they're paying the self-employment tax unless they're incorporated.  Talk about a wretched tax-we're punished an extra 15% because we aren't part of corporate America. 


You're not punished an extra amount.  You're paying the same thing the rest of us in corporate America are.  That's not extra.  It's the same.

Jan 03, 2010 01:55 AM #11
Olivia Adkisson

So realtors don't actually have a weekly pay check, just a comission check? I was looking into going into the business but it is a scary thing to just jump in with having two kids to support.

Mar 27, 2012 12:54 PM #12

IMHO you all are still a bunch of scam artists.  The last three house I found the house myself and all you did was submit my offer and show up at the signing.  Not to mention trying to stear me to your home inspectors.  I put Realtors on the same plain as car salesman.

Sep 01, 2012 11:54 PM #13
Jean Stevenson
Horizon Realty International - Venice, FL
"Service and Commission that Beat the Competition!

Yes, I agree we make a whole lot less than people think.  There used to be an article that listed all the things a realtor does from the time he/she gets a phone call on a listing to the closing table.  Does anyone remember that article?  I am looing for it and can't find it.  Can anyone help? 

It was just a list like

#1.) Prepare the CMA  (4hrs)

#2.) Meet with client explain CMA  (2hrs)

#3. ) discuss my marketing program (1Hr)

#4.)  Take measurements, make detailed notes of the interior and exterior  (whatever time is invloved in that)

#4.) submit the data to the MLS (1 hr) 

#5.)  Take digital photos write ads for the listing  (1 hrs)

There was detailed breakdown of duties the realtor proformed for each side of the transaction...and it was impressive!

Where is that list!  Can anyone help me find it?



Nov 14, 2013 12:01 AM #14
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