Can a real estate agent make $100,000 in one year?

A few real estate agents earn more than $100,000 a year. However, you must recognize that because we are self-employed we have to pay for our own Social Security and Medicare taxes on our commissions which increases our taxes by 7.65% so in order to earn the same $100,000 as someone who has an employer who pays that portion of their taxes we have to make $108,284.

So, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median earnings for real estate agents was $48,690 in 2018. Yet, only around 10% earned at or above $108,284 in the same year.

In May of 2020 the median home in the U.S. cost $284,600 and agents net about 1.5% after costs and before taxes so they make around $4,269 per sale in an area with median-priced homes. That means they must sell 26 homes a year to earn $108,284 which very few agents do.

Of course, there are places, like where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where home prices average $1m so here agents may earn a bit more than average but then our cost of living is much higher than average. In addition, we have many more agents in the Bay Area than average and some only sell one or two homes a year. For example, my local board of Realtors has almost 6,000 agents and half of all them didn’t sell any homes last year.

So, yes, a real estate agent can make $100,000 a year but only a very few do. This is because it is a much more difficult job and pays much less than most people think.

Leave a Reply