Real Estate Sales Agents Overview

Every State requires real estate agents to obtain licensure. Although landing a job is relatively simple, beginning agents must compete with agents who have more experience. Employment is highly dependent on the state of the economy. The demand for workers decreases along with declining economic activity. Those with a certificate, associates or bachelors degree in real estate should expect better job opportunities than those who have no formal postsecondary education.

Nature of the Work for Real Estate Sales Agents

Real Estate Sales Agents

People typically need help from real estate sales agents when purchasing real estate due to the complexity of the process. Real estate agents have extensive knowledge of the real estate market. They already have an understanding of which neighborhoods are the best fit for a client’s needs and budgets. Familiarization with the local tax and zoning laws and of where to obtain funding for property purchasing is also necessary.

Real estate sales agents work with brokers to provide services on the basis of a contract. The agent is then paid a percentage of the sale that they make.

Property ownership is verified by real estate sales agents by arranging title searches, and organize meetings between sellers and buyers so they may finalize the details of the agreement. In the last meeting, the new owners will take possession of the property. They may also act as the middle man for price negotiations between the sellers and buyers. Real estate sales agents may also secure finances from a lender for a prospective buyer, which could mean the difference between closing and losing a sale.

Real estate agents spend a lot of time searching for properties to buy or sell. When they find a listing for sale at a firm, they must compare that price to other similar properties on the market to determine its market price. After they sell the property, a real estate sales agent must share a portion of the commission they receive with those who gave it to them.

Prior to showing residential properties, an agent will meet with a client to discuss what kind of home they would like to buy, and what they can afford to spend. In some cases, they will require the client to sign a loyalty contract, which states that only they can show them listing. The next step is to create a list of properties for sale, including their description and location and available sources of financing. They may meet many times with prospective buyers to visit and discuss properties.

After both the seller and the buyer have signed the contract, the real estate sales agent must make sure that all terms in the contract are finished before the closing date. This may include any repairs or modifications due to environmental concerns, such as lead paint.

A few real estate agents sell industrial, commercial, agricultural and other types of real estate. They must have extensive knowledge on their respective field. For example, those who sell, buy or lease industrial properties are required to have knowledge on the region’s utilities, transportation and labor supply.

Real estate agents often work over a 40-hour workweek and it is typical for their hours to overlap into evenings and weekends. Most agents can determine their own schedule despite the irregularity of their hours.

The ability to retrieve listings and other insurance information through the Internet has caused a number of real estate sales agents to work from home. However, these workers still spend the majority of time away from their desks.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Real Estate Sales Agents

The minimum degree requirement for real estate sales agents is a high school diploma. However, as real estate transaction have become more legally complex, many employers now prefer to hire college graduates.

There are a variety of programs that offer graduates a certificate in real estate. There are also a few 2 to 4-year programs that grant graduates an associates or bachelors degree in real estate. College courses in business, finance, statistics, economics and administration are also recommended. Those interested in opening their own real estate company should take courses in business, marketing and accounting.

Regular and advanced courses on legal aspects, mortgaging and financing and other subjects are available through many local real estate associations that are members of the National Association of Realtors. On-the-job training, such as learning how to navigate computer generated listings, is also common for real estate agents.

Every state requires real estate sales agents have licensure. To do so, they must pass an examination and sometimes have to complete between 30 and 90 hours of classroom instruction. Although a written examination is not mandatory, many State require continuing education for licensure renewal.

Real estate brokers prefer to hire applicants who have a neat appearance and engaging personality who are at least 18 years old. Good judgment, trustworthiness and maturity are a few of the required traits that attract prospective customers. They must be extremely organized and have a good memory for names and faces.

Real estate sales agents are able to increase their income by closing a greater number of transactions. In large firms, agents typically advance to general or sales manager. They may also enter financing or real estate investments.

Top 10 Most Popular Real Estate Schools

1. Florida State College at Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Florida)
2. Sheridan Technical Center (Hollywood, Florida)
3. New York University (New York, New York)
4. Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College (Ogden, Utah)
5. Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove, Illinois)
6. Lively Technical Center, Tallahassee (Tallahassee, Florida)
7. Orange Technical College, Mid Florida (Orlando, Florida)
8. Air Force Institute of Technology - Graduate School of Engineering & Management (Glenwood Springs, Colorado)
9. Florida State University (Tallahassee, Florida)
10. North Seattle Community College (Seattle, Washington)

See All Real Estate Schools

Most Popular Online Real Estate Schools

1. Ashworth College - Online School
2. South University - Online Programs
3. New England College - Online School
4. Trump University - Online School
5. Marylhurst University - Online School

Employment and Job Outlook for Real Estate Sales Agents

Number of People in Profession

151,550

Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow faster than average (increase 14 - 19%).

Combined with real estate brokers, sales agents hold about 151,550 jobs, though real estate agents hold about 76 percent of these jobs.

Many combine a real estate career with other careers, working part time, while 59 percent of all real estate sales agents are self-employed. Employment is focused on large urban and rapidly growing communities.

Job growth for real estate sales agents is projected to increase 14 percent in the next decade, which is faster than average for all occupations. This is mainly due to a growing population of young adults who will require a real estate sales agent’s expertise. Job growth will be somewhat stunted by the continued us of the Internet, serving as a way to search for listings.

Job opportunities will arise due to the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Real estate sales agents are typically older and are thus expected to retire over the next decade. Employment is also dependent on economic activity. The income and amount of hours worked varies greatly during an economic downturn. As complex technical and legal requirements are raised, many workers will face competition with those training in these areas.

The best chances for success will be reserved for those with a certificate, associates or bachelors degree in real estate and have established social and business connections in their communities.

Earnings and Salary for Real Estate Sales Agents

The median annual wage of salaried real estate sales agents is $40,100. The top 10 percent earn more than $96,410, while the lowest 10 percent earn less than $20,800. The median annual wage for the top employing industries of real estate sales agents is:

Residential building construction: $49,620
Land subdivision: $44,410
Offices of real estate agents and brokers: $41,320
Activities related to real estate: $36,410
Lessors of real estate: $32,150

Commission is usually the main source of income for a real estate sales agent and is determined according to the type of property and its value. As an agent gains more experience, they usually increase their income. It also varies based on motivation, economic conditions and the type of property.

Annual Salary for Real Estate Sales Agents

On average, Real Estate Sales Agents earn $40,100 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $20,800/yr $27,370/yr $63,510/yr $96,410/yr

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook