How Much Do Real Estate Agents Really Make?

How Much Do Real Estate Agents Really Make?

The housing market in America has faced considerable challenges in recent years. Higher mortgage rates, soaring home prices, and shrinking inventories have created a tough environment for prospective homebuyers.

However, despite these hurdles, the real estate industry has remained active, with agents and brokers busy with business. Real estate is often portrayed as a lucrative career with high earning potential, but what do real estate agents really make in New Jersey and New York?

Understanding an agent’s earnings isn’t straightforward because a complex mix of factors influences it, like the number of transactions, commission rates, and market trends. To shed light on this topic, we’ve dug into the latest occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analyzed the average real estate agent salary across the U.S. in 2023.

In this blog, we’ll break down the numbers, explore the key factors affecting real estate agent income, and reveal how much agents really make in today’s evolving market. Let’s get started.

Understanding Real Estate Agent Compensation

Real estate agents typically earn their income through commissions. A commission is a percentage of a property’s sale price, paid to the agent upon the successful completion of a transaction. In general, the commission for a real estate transaction is around 5-6% of the sale price, which is often split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. However, these figures can vary based on the specifics of a transaction, agency agreements, and other factors.

In addition to commissions, some agents work in brokerages with different compensation models, such as salary plus commission or a flat fee for services rendered. This variation in compensation structures contributes to the wide range of incomes seen among real estate agents.

Factors Influencing Real Estate Agent Earnings

Several key factors can impact how much a real estate agent earns. These include:

1. Experience and Reputation:

Experienced agents with a strong reputation tend to close more deals, often with higher commission rates. As agents build their client base, they are likely to receive more referrals and repeat business, leading to increased earnings.

2. Location:

Real estate markets in New Jersey and New York vary significantly. Agents in areas with high property values, such as Manhattan or certain parts of New Jersey, generally earn more because the commissions are based on the sale price.

3. Workload and Work Ethic:

Real estate agents have flexible schedules but often work long hours, especially during peak seasons. The more effort an agent puts into networking, marketing, and showing properties, the more likely they are to close deals and earn higher commissions.

4. Brokerage Structure:

The brokerage an agent works with can affect their earnings. Some brokerages offer higher commission splits, while others provide more support and resources. Agents need to find the right balance between support and commission rates to maximize their income.

Typical Earnings for Real Estate Agents in New Jersey and New York

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for real estate agents in the U.S. was about $69,610 in 2023. However, in high-cost areas like New York and New Jersey, this figure can be much higher.

Top 10 States for Real Estate Agent Salaries in 2023: Where Do Agents Earn the Most?

Despite the housing market’s challenges, some states stand out for their higher earnings for real estate agents. Here’s a list of the top 10 states where real estate agents earn the most:

1. New Hampshire

Real estate agent average salary: $94,810

2. New York

Real estate agent average salary: $93,950

3. New Jersey

Real estate agent average salary: $82,090

4. Colorado

Real estate agent average salary: $79,610

5. Massachusetts

Real estate agent average salary: $79,060

6. California

Real estate agent average salary: $77,430

7. Texas

Real estate agent average salary: $77,320

8. Wyoming

Real estate agent average salary: $74,820

9. Nevada

Real estate agent average salary: $73,990

10. Mississippi

Real estate agent average salary: $72,900

10 States Where Real Estate Agents Earn the Least: A Salary Breakdown

1. Illinois:

The average salary for real estate agents in Illinois is $44,510, the lowest in the nation.

2. Ohio:

At $45,570, Ohio is second on the list of states with the lowest earnings for real estate


3. Louisiana:

Real estate agents in Louisiana earn an average of $46,690.

4. Missouri:

Missouri offers an average salary of $47,670 to its real estate agents.

5. Idaho:

Real estate agents in Idaho earn $49,830 on average.

6. New Mexico:

With an average salary of $50,920, New Mexico is also among the lower-earning states.

7. Kansas:

Real estate agents in Kansas earn $52,970 on average.

8. Nebraska:

With an average salary of $53,090, Nebraska is on the lower end of the spectrum.

9. Delaware:

Delaware’s real estate agents earn an average of $53,690.

10. Kentucky:

The final state in the bottom 10, Kentucky, offers an average salary of $55,050 to its real estate agents.


Real estate agent earnings vary widely depending on factors like location, experience, workload, and brokerage structure. In 2023, the median U.S. salary for real estate agents was $69,610, but agents in high-cost areas like New York and New Jersey can earn significantly more, often exceeding $90,000.

However, these higher earnings come with greater competition and cost-of-living challenges. To succeed, agents must focus on building their reputation, working hard, and choosing the right brokerage. While real estate offers lucrative opportunities, it demands a strategic approach and adaptability to market trends. Understanding these factors can help agents thrive in this competitive industry.

If you’re considering a career in real estate, take the time to research local markets, talk to experienced agents, and choose a reputable brokerage that aligns with your career goals. With the right approach, real estate can be a profitable and fulfilling career choice.

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