How Much Do Real Estate Agents Really Make? The Surprising Truth

Real estate is one of the most lucrative professions globally, with the average salary for a real estate agent in the United States ranging from $40,000 to $200,000 or more annually. A real estate agent, also known as a realtor, is a licensed professional who assists clients in buying, selling, and renting properties.

The amount earned by a real estate agent depends on several factors, including their experience, location, and the number of transactions made. While some real estate agents make a considerable income, others may struggle to make ends meet. Let us take a closer look at how much real estate agents really make.

How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make on Commission?

Most real estate agents work on commission, which is a percentage of the sale price of the property. The commission earned varies from one agent to another and is typically split between the seller’s and buyer’s agents. In general, the standard commission rate is 6% of the sale price, with 3% going to the seller’s agent and 3% going to the buyer’s agent.

Let us say a real estate agent helps sell a house worth $500,000. If the commission rate is 6%, the agent would earn a total of $30,000, split between the seller’s and buyer’s agents. However, this amount would also be split with the agent’s broker or agency, typically in a 50/50 split.

How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make on Salary?

Some real estate agents work for brokerages that pay them a salary instead of commission. However, these agents are rare, and the majority of real estate agents work on commission only.

There are also real estate agents who work as salaried employees for property management companies. These agents earn a salary ranging from $30,000 to $80,000 annually, depending on their experience, location, and employer.

How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make in Different Locations?

Real estate agents’ earnings vary depending on their location. The cost of living, demand for property, and the real estate market’s activity levels all impact how much they can earn. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paid real estate agents are located in New York, Texas, and California, with average annual salaries of $84,000, $60,000, and $74,000 respectively.

On the other hand, states with lower costs of living, such as Mississippi, make significantly less, with a median annual income of $40,000. It is essential to note that rural areas typically have lower wages for real estate agents compared to urban areas.


In conclusion, a real estate agent’s earnings depend on various factors such as location, the amount of experience they have, and the number of transactions they close. While some agents make six figures annually, others may only make enough to get by. It is essential to note that to succeed in real estate, an agent must be committed, have the right skills, and maintain a good reputation.