Expected Average Income and Expenses for a New Real Estate Agent

Oct 18, 2018 · 8 minutes to read

If you are reading this blog post, then you are likely considering a new career as a Real Estate Agent. Or maybe, you have already gotten your real estate license and are busy setting up your business.

Many get into this business tempted by the limitless potential, the opportunity to avoid sitting in an office for 9 hours a day, the flexibility in the work hours.

We all know the success stories – those realtors that live the dream, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars for relatively easy work.

But what does success look like in real life?  What are the average numbers that you can expect to make?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the average incomes and the difference in pay of agent vs. broker. We’ll also touch on the expenses that are common when you are just starting out. All this information will help you have realistic expectations and give you some tools to help plan for the future.

Maybe it makes sense to work the real estate business as a side hustle, keeping your full-time job until you start making money. Or perhaps the flexibility will allow you to stay home with your children but unstable income, especially in the beginning, will be your trade-off.

Let’s start by looking at some of the main differences between real estate agents, brokers and realtor.

Real Estate Agent vs. Broker vs. Realtor

Before we dive into the numbers and the income discussions we want to highlight the differences between the few types of Real Estate professionals. These differences are important to know as they bear a direct correlation to the average income you can expect to make.

The three Real Estate professionals are Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker, and a Realtor.

Real Estate Agent

Once you complete your mandatory pre-licensing course and pass the state exam, you can start helping your clients buy and sell properties. Your business card will identify you as a “Real Estate Agent.” As a Real Estate Agent, you can not work on your own or hire other agents to work for you. In fact, you are required to work for a Real Estate Broker. Working under a broker is an excellent way to learn the ropes and the ins and outs of the business. The broker is also responsible for you, so they will provide you some legal protections.


A Real Estate Broker is a Real Estate professional that has invested additional time and money into their RE education and passed a Broker exam. Each state has their own requirements for a certification training and exam process. Typically you need to have a few years of experience as a licensed agent to be allowed to become a broker. The focus of broker studies generally is on real estate law, insurance, ethics, contracts, and taxes.

A Real Estate Broker is very knowledgeable and is usually more experienced than an agent. They are also able to hire agents to work for them.


Often the terms “realtor” and “Real Estate Agent” are used interchangeably. Both are licensed agents that can help a client with their real estate needs. However, a Realtor is called so if they are a member of National Association of Realtors (NAR). This is a trademarked name and can only be used by those that are part of the NAR. Members of the NAR are held to a strict code of professional conduct and ethics. You have to be a licensed RE Agent to become a member.

Related: What’s difference: Real Estate Agent vs Realtor?

Broker, realtor and agent income

This is undoubtedly the section that you have been waiting for. This section talks about the income a RE Professional makes on average. Of course, every profession has outliers that perform either far above or below the averages. Real Estate is no exception. Some agents are wildly successful and make in a month what an average RE Agent makes in a year. On the other hand, some struggle even past the “brand new agent” stage and make far below the average.

Why does the income differ for Agent Vs. Broker?

Now let’s have a look at how your average income will change based on the path you chose to take. As you might have guessed a RE Broker makes more simply because they are responsible for the actions of other people and have more experience. Does it mean that you have to become a Broker to earn a good living? Of course not. However, one of the benefits of being a broker is getting a percentage of the commission from those Agents that work for you.

Average annual earnings

Below are the average yearly earnings for RE Agents and Brokers according to a few online sources.

Average income for RE Agents

According to Payscale.com[1], the median annual income for a RE Agent is a little over $47,000. Glassdoor[2] page for Keller Williams Real Estate reports a similar average income of $50,000. Keep in mind that these averages take into account agents with various levels of experience, both the new agents and ones that have been at it for a while. It is entirely possible that you will not make anything for the first few months as you just begin acquiring clients. However, undoubtedly with hard work and dedication that income will go up.

Average income for RE Brokers

Payscale.com [3]shows us that the average income for a broker is about $52,000. Since a broker has agents working under them, they get a cut from every sale on top of any sales they make themself. Of course, this can boost income significantly as well as profit sharing and other bonuses.

Expenses – Expected and unexpected

When we talk about the income, we also have to talk about the expenses. Aside from acquiring clients and closing deals, the toughest part of the job for many new agents is to make the mental switch that you now own a standalone business. Even though you’ll be working for a broker, you are still an independent contractor. As such, you’ll have expenses that you might not even consider, especially if you are coming from a 9 to 5 job.

The brokerage will typically provide a cubicle in an office space for you to use as well as office equipment such as printers. You will also likely have access to trainings (some free to you, some for a fee). They won’t, however, pay for any costs to run your business, such as Insurance for example.

Below are the most common expenses for new agents:

Licenses and registrations: estimated cost $600+ a year not including additional trainings

As a licensed professional you will need to invest money into obtaining and keeping your license. The requirements to obtain your license vary by state. You can expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars on a pre-licensing course, exam fee and license fee.

Additionally, once you pass your licensing exam, you will need to take continuing education classes to keep your license active. This is it for the mandatory expenses. However, many agents invest in training and courses to help them gain traction and get ahead in this business.

Promotions, marketing materials, and advertising – estimated cost $1000+ a year

As a new agent, this is one of your biggest and most important expenses. While the brokerage provides basic office necessities and maybe occasional leads, all of the marketing is on you. When you are just starting out, you need to get your name out there, and fast. Marketing expenses include a professional website, membership in your local business association chapter, flyer, business cards and so on. All this adds up fast. Don’t let the cost scare you though. When done right, this investment pays for itself and more with new clients and closed deals.

Insurance – estimated cost $800

This is another fairly large expense that you should be aware of. A Professional Liability insurance policy protects your new business from the cost of a lawsuit. Whether the grievance the disgruntled customer has against you is real or only perceived, you will still need to hire an attorney and defend yourself in court. BizInsure works with many carriers that offer Real Estate Agent Professional Liability insurance. We are happy to send you an instant quote if needed.

Business Expenses – Estimated cost: varies

Your other miscellaneous business expenses may include client closing gifts, client lunches, and transportation costs and insurance. Also don’t forget about your phone bill, internet, and computer expenses.

All these are necessary expenses that you have to incur to keep your business running. Budgeting for these will help you come up with a plan as to how to cover these until you start making money.


Remember, the numbers that we presented in this article are just the average earnings across all experience levels and zip codes. When creating your business plan, take into account the average income, but also the common expenses that you will face.


[1] Payscale.com. (2018). Real Estate Agent Salary. [online] Available at: https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Real_Estate_Agent/Salary [Accessed 4 Oct. 2018].
[2] Glassdoor.com. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Keller-Williams-Real-Estate-Agent-Salaries-E114145_D_KO16,33.htm [Accessed 4 Oct. 2018].
[3] Payscale.com. (2018). Real Estate Broker Salary. [online] Available at: https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Real_Estate_Broker/Salary [Accessed 4 Oct. 2018].

Get Free Online Quotes and get coverage instantly

The coverage you need for your business.

Business insurance is divided into different policies. We offer 4 types so it's easy to design the coverage that fits your business.

Professional Liability Insurance

Get a quote

General Liability Insurance

Get a quote

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

Get a quote

Workers Compensation Insurance

Get a quote

Let's find

The coverage you need for your business

Professional Liability Insurance

Get a quote

General Liability Insurance

Get a quote

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

Get a quote

Workers Compensation Insurance

Get a quote

Super helpful! Made everything so easy!!!
Andrea O.
00:22 29 Mar 23
Very professional people. Prompt reactions always
emile W.
16:06 28 Mar 23
BizInsure has really come through for me on some really hard to place risks. Andrew takes the time to understand the risk and work through how we can make it work, rather than looking for ways to say no. Thank you for your help!
Carlos T.
18:06 16 Mar 23
Very helpful and explanatory on the policy line of the policy
Josua V.
17:30 14 Mar 23
Worked with Tevin. Amazing customer service. Was very patient with me in figuring out the best insurance coverage for business. Thanks Tevin for making it easy.
Faisal O.
16:23 14 Mar 23
No complaints, Always a fast response when a need arises.
Dan F.
13:56 10 Mar 23
Very good information patience was shown. Much help from Kaled, satisfied with the amount of insurance and good coverage. Affordable is what you need with starting a small business until you grow. Old saying is go as you grow.
Jacquelynn W.
21:53 20 Jan 23
Professionals at what they do! easy to navigate and very good people to lead to to the best coverage!
Magnifier 2.
20:37 17 Jan 23
I have been shopping for business liability insurance for several months. I am happy to share that BizInsure ranked #1! The representatives were polite, patient, and empathetic. They accomplished what most companies struggle with achieving: they did what they said they were going to do, they were on time, and they had empathy. They delivered a policy for 25% less than the closest competetor, and even included $50k of cyber security at no additional cost! I only write reviews when I receive exceptional experiences- highly revommended; keep up the great service BizInsure!P.S. I own a professional referral service in Hawai'i and I am going to see if BizInsure offers an affiliate program.Aloha!
John S.
05:51 23 Nov 22
They respond quickly and give you quotes immediately ...
Regean K.
23:55 09 Nov 22
The agent that I spoke to was very experienced and could tell that I was new at this and was very understanding and took the time to explain everything to me.
lotanga J.
00:04 15 Oct 22
Easy to work with and very responsive. Glad to have them as my broker.
Edward G.
18:54 13 Sep 22
We’re very happy with BiInsured LLC. VERY AFFORDABLE
Paul A. F.
19:20 11 Sep 22
Jasmine Q was on the spot professional, she knew where to direct me and explain to me my concerns and request; she delivered my personal information within minutes of me asking policy questions.That young lady is a true ROCK STAT!!!
Shaka 3 Z.
23:09 15 Aug 22
For a small non-profit, the package I was given was affordable. The representative was polite, patient, understanding, and knowledgeable.
Gertrude R.
18:06 15 Aug 22
Asked for a specific venue to be place on our certificate of insurance and it was done within one business day. Yay! Bizinsure!
Melinda S.
17:02 01 Aug 22
The process was fast and easy and the professional staff was very knowledgeable with any questions that I had and ready to help
06:40 31 Mar 22
Friendly agents. Timely replies. Fair pricing. This is a good fit for my business! Thank you, Noah, for all your help.
Beth Anne V.
19:27 28 Mar 22
They are awesome
Tony H.
00:41 07 Jan 22
Noa made sure I had all the information I needed for a first time business owner . He helped me understand what I needed to secure a quality policy and he was super helpful when explaining how the policy would serve its purpose to my company. I was very satisfied and had an Awesome experience, I think people like that make the company look good!
Wayleen O.
04:36 15 Oct 21
I was in need of WC, GL and PL coverages for my business and was able to shop, discuss, confirm and purchase all the coverages in two days! This was a great experience, especially when "Time is Money". Noah Bowman was very professional and knowledgeable. Thanks!
AmeriCreed 1.
15:42 23 Sep 21
19:49 09 Sep 21
Their representative clearly explained different kinds of policies to help me select the one appropriate for my needs and then helped me enroll by phone painlessly. By the end of the call, I had a policy in place.
Dissent D.
22:21 02 Sep 21
Eugene was Awesome!!!!
Lakesha G
17:19 21 Jul 21
Excellent solution for writers and authors professional liability policy as well as coverage for copyright and trademark infringement. Service was prompt and excellent.
18:22 22 Jun 21
Done in less than an hour!
William O.
00:30 02 Jun 21
Efficient, and great value. The agent was able to give us a quote and a new policy in a short period of time. Thank you
Brenda J.
20:30 24 May 21
I had a great experiencing obtaining several of my insurance needs as a landscaping company here in Northern Colorado. BizInsure's team took care of my needs and was very responsive to help with paperwork needed to secure a potential client account!
Arik S.
16:34 10 May 21
Very efficient they were able to help me out with my request promptly....highly recommend this companyI am very happy to have them
Elba P.
18:50 26 Apr 21
I need a help getting errors and omissions insurance along with general liability. Jose was very friendly informative and was very patient with me during the process. He found me some of the best rates for the coverage that I needed. Highly recommend
Casper M.
19:51 20 Apr 21
I had numerous conversations with several business insurance agents over a month's time. I also had several conversations confirming the policy inclusion/exclusions and asked many questions. My BizInsure agent was professional, knowledgeable and most important—detail oriented. Even after having an initial conversation a month earlier he knew and *remembered* all my personal/professional insurance needs. When I asked for additional information on the third call he was able to provide me with details very quickly. He was also VERY patient. That is a big plus in my opinion. It illustrated a high level of respect for my needs. I also found when I called back and asked to talk with the initial agent, the person who answered the call was able to get in contact quickly and my agent responded and returned the call within 5-10 minutes. The transaction was smooth, and I think it's a good sign should I ever need to make a claim. I highly recommend BizInsure.
Poetic F.
21:00 07 Apr 21
The rep was extremely helpful actually lowered my quote and made sure I was covered to fit my needs with my growing business! 5star!!
Franklin B.
19:04 16 Mar 21
Excellent service and prices.
Cassiopée V L.
23:13 09 Mar 21
Mr. Daniel Scott was very responsive to my professional needs.
Stephanie W.
17:38 18 Feb 21
Eugene deserves a raise! First time purchasing insurance and he made the process so simple for me. His patience and attention to detail left me feeling confident in my decision to choose BizInsure. Gracias Eugene!
Esined P.
23:32 17 Feb 21
The customer service provided by Jose was outstanding. He explained everything in a very clear/logical way and answered all of my questions. After providing all the information to obtain general liability insurance, Jose sent me the declaration page of the insurance for review. All of the information matched what I provided over the phone and there were no typos. The next day I called back to purchase the insurance which was easy and fast. Overall, my experience with BizInsure including the customer service by Jose exceeded my expectations.
Joe W.
03:29 12 Dec 20
Hiscox/BizInsure made getting Liability Insurance very easy and reasonable.I expected it to be a long and complicated process and it was a nice surprise that they made it so uncomplicated. Thank you. Lisa
Lisa W.
21:51 24 Nov 20
Eugene was incredible. I called 4 other brokers before him who were impossible to get any help.
rhonda H.
23:26 12 Nov 20
Very quick to get in touch with you and good with follow up. Had some trouble retrieving my quote to log into my account initially but Daniel assisted me and the changes were made to get me into my account. Great value for the money.
Fran S.
16:34 20 Sep 20
Very happy to be insured with this company. Professional, Timely, very helpful. Thank you Juan, you made it so much easier for me to understand.
Aileen D.
19:55 15 Sep 20
This company responded when I needed them to respond while facing a deadline. They are an excellent choice for business Insurance.
Michele H.
01:52 12 Sep 20
Jose Quintero took such great care of me and was very patient explained everything I did not understand and got me set up quickly. Fabulous customer service
Christina R.
02:41 27 Aug 20
I can't say enough good things about Daniel Santos kind and effective communication skills as an insurance agent. Daniel was so pleasant, friendly and efficient with helping me obtain insurance as a teacher. If I were to give Daniel a grade, he has earned an At . He made the process easy to understand, it was far easier than what I anticipated. Nancy S.
Nancy S.
00:47 26 Aug 20
I was in need of professional liability insurance for my sole proprietorship. A friend referred me. Everythng was quick and simple and AFFORDABLE!
hope J.
20:31 25 Aug 20
If you need Private Home Care Provider insurance for your company, BizInsure, LLC can get it for you!
Pamela C.
16:45 24 Aug 20
Great and fast service!!!! The representative was very professional!!!!
Tanya S.
19:51 14 Jul 20
I was tryi9ng to find commercial liability insurance for my new comp-any and BizInsure was easy to use and very affordable which is great for me as a new business.
Jimmy S.
19:01 14 Jul 20
Great service insurance prices are great for professionals looking to get insurance for businesses....
Rhonda G.
22:34 22 Jun 20
The provided very professional service and made the process easy.
Paul R.
21:51 04 Jun 20
Bradley Hoyle from the Biz Insure team was excellent to work with. Everything was quick and smooth. Great service, much appreciated!
Kristene S.
02:03 04 Jun 20
Anthony Spencer was great!! Very quick response time!! He was very Professional! I would suggest him because he helped me find a affordable rate and explained all the technicalities..
Fre H.
16:38 28 May 20
I was referred to Bizinsure by a industry trade group that I am a member of. It was easy to get a quote online and then received excellent customer service from Bradley H. to complete my policy purchase over the phone. I have shared this company information now with other business owners for their policy needs.
Dawn T.
22:11 08 May 20
This company was very precise with explaining services and made sure I chose the right business insurance coverage, great customer service at purchasing.
Nekeisha B.
01:30 05 May 20
Jasmine Q
14:31 02 Dec 19
Trish is the most patient, professional and understanding insurance agent I’ve ever worked with. Trish has taken care of all my business insurance needs for the last couple years. I am really happy that I found an insurance agent that I know will take care of me & all of my concerns. I feel like a valued customer & I appreciate the great customer service that I get every time!!THANK YOU!
Dr. Youssef C. A.
17:21 14 Nov 18
Tricia helped me get insurance for my business. The task of obtaining a quote was really starting to frustrate me until I was referred to BizInsure through a different agency. Tricia got me a quote fast, and even took a down payment over the phone and issued the proof of insurance the same day. a+ service, would do it again in a heartbeat!! Thank you!!
Josh M.
18:07 22 Jun 18
BizInsure was a great find! I did not have to fill out applications, and Tricia was able to quote and bind business insurance for me within half an hour.
Allison Y.
17:28 21 Jun 18
Started doing business again and needed a policy fast. Ramez was reasonable, helpful and the rates are OK. Buyer beware? Sure, for me it turned out OK this time. Worth a call.
Mark W.
23:42 13 Nov 17
Great customer service. I've been very inpressed with my dedicated representative that had helped me navegate my insurence needs. Thanks so much!
Graham B.
22:12 23 Jun 17

Popular Searches

Google Rating
Based on 92 reviews