February 14, 2020
Many of the questions new students in our South Jersey real estate schools ask have nothing to do with their getting a New Jersey real estate license. Their questions often surround the lifestyle of a REALTOR® and what their income potential could be once they get their real estate license.
Real Estate Express publishes an annual report called “Real Estate Income Guide.” The most recent “2019-2020 Income Guide” was compiled from a survey taken among almost 2,000 agents who had taken continuing education courses with McKissock Learning. Here are some excerpts from their most recent publication. The responses from the previous year are shown in parentheses.
Hours spent at work.
The respondents stated that as real estate agents they worked an average of 21-40 hours per week and as brokers, 40-50 (41-59) hours. Frankly, I was very surprised at this statistic! I cannot remember a time when I only worked 21—or even only 40—hours a weekly since I became a real estate professional. Of course, a real estate career gives practitioners flexibility, so if you are getting a real estate license to add some incremental income for your family, you could easily do this by working just a few hours a week.
The report broke down earnings by the average hours the agents claimed they devote to real estate every week, and it is obvious that those who make a true commitment to their business are the ones who reap the greatest reward:
“21-39 hours worked per week” Average $46,458 ($56,521) annual income
“40-50 hours worked per week” Average $81,378 ($99,378) annual income
“41-59 hours worked per week” Average $99,401 annual income
“60 hours or more worked per week” Average $145,347 ($123,024) annual income
The superstars, the “mega-agents” typically work fewer hours than the average agent—the agent who does very well but who has not reached the top level of achievement. That is because the agents at the top of the profession have discovered the power of leverage. They hire people to take care of the administrative tasks and even duties such as showing properties so they can act as the orchestra leader, freed from the “busyiness” of running and building their business. Those top agents become the CEO of their real estate practice.
How much can I make?
The lure of an unlimited income potential is a major reason people get a New Jersey real estate license. The Real Estate Express survey showed that full time real estate agents earned an average of $78,052 ($71,000) a year while part-timers earned $24,556. This statistic was not gathered in 2018. Brokers earned $149,349 ($123,000) on average. 57% (59%) of agents and 65% (65%) of brokers say they earned more last year than the year before. In the South Jersey market, my unscientific guess is that persons working full time as REALTORS® should make way above $71,000—probably closer to double that. Of course, there are licensees who work part time—or even “no” time” and who therefore make little or nothing.
When asked about their level of job satisfaction, agents ranked it an average of 3.75 (4.08) out of a 5.0 perfect score, and brokers rated their career satisfaction to be 4.45 (4.59)/5.0. This compares to a report from The Conference Board which says 51% of workers in the United States are satisfied with their job. Perhaps as a result of the real estate market having improved in the last 2-3 years, 68% (80%) of agents said they are optimistic with their futures in the business.
The Real Estate Express report then broke down the incomes by category of how satisfied the REALTORS® they surveyed were with their careers. It is a remarkable finding that the happier the agents are, the more money they made, and vice versa. Here are the details of this finding:
“Not very satisfied” $23,333 average annual earnings in 2018 (not counted in 2019).
“Not satisfied” $37,992 ($35,875) average annual earnings.
“Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied” $46,622 ($33,449) average annual earnings.
“Somewhat satisfied” $75,486 ($63,642) average annual earnings.
“Very satisfied” $108,939 ($105,413) average annual earnings.
To quote their article, “Agents who are very satisfied with their career earn nearly $71,000 more than the income of agents who are not satisfied.”
What brokers look for in new agents.
Brokers are almost always looking for new agents. The Real Estate Express survey asked brokers to describe the three most important attributes that they look for in newly licensed recruits. Those characteristics are:
- Can consistently deliver superior customer or client experience. 55.9%
- Have people skills. 41.3%
- A strong social network and ability to network. 19.6%
What agents look for when selecting a brokerage.
The report found the three most important reasons an agent chose their brokerage were:
- Commission split.
- Brokerage reputation.
- Brokerage culture.
What are the secrets of the top producers?
- They never stop lead generating.
- They focus on listings. The more right-priced listings an agent has, the more money they will earn. Guaranteed.
- Control your expenses. As soon as agents earn their license, they are inundated with get-rich-quick proposals from lead-generation firms and various other scammers. Every dime an agent spends on marketing or promotion should be held accountable to see what its rate of return is. NEVER commit to a contract with an unknown vendor that does not have an escape clause after 30 days if their promises fall flat. If the company is prepared to stand by its claims, why would it even hesitate to give you that?
- Make training and education a career-long commitment.
Ready to start YOUR real estate career? We have both daytime and evening real estate licensing classes that start every month. For a full schedule of our real estate school classes in Cherry Hill and Robbinsville, go to www.GSREacademy.com
I am grateful to Real Estate Express for providing the above information. You can visit them at their website: www.RealEstateExpress.com/income
David C. Forward is a licensed real estate broker and instructor and was first licensed as a Realtor® 31 years ago. During his career, David and his business partner sold more than 450 homes in South Jersey. He is now School Director of Garden Real Estate Academy, has won numerous awards for real estate sales, is a much-requested public speaker who has addressed audiences on six continents and is the author of 15 books. David can be reached at David@GSREacademy.com