Real estate sales agents, like brokers, must pass licensing exams to sell property in all 50 states. A real estate sales license usually requires 30 to 90 hours of class training, while a broker's license may require more training plus experience. A real estate sales agent must work under a licensed broker. The monthly income of sales agents depends on hours worked, the industry of employment, the location and economic factors.
Average Monthly Income
The Bureau of Labor Statistics surveyed 151,550 real estate agents in the U.S. in 2009. The BLS provides only hourly and yearly wages for the jobs it surveys, but dividing the average annual income of $53,100 for estate agents working full-time gives an average monthly income of $4,425. Many sales agents work weekends and evenings, and many also work only part time. The average hourly pay for part-time agents came to $25.53 in 2009.
Range of Incomes
Full-time real estate agents have a wide range of earnings. According to the BLS, as of 2009 real estate sales agents at the 10th percentile received $1,733 per month, and those at the 90th percentile receive $8,034 per month, or more than four times as much.
Salary by State
Career One Stop gives annual pay for real estate sales agents by state as of 2009. Dividing the annual pay by 12 for the monthly pay gives a median income of $5,125 for sales agents in New York state. In Maine, median pay came to $2,433 per month, while in Florida, it came to $2,942. Michigan sales agents had a median monthly income of $2,483, and Texas sales agents had median pay of $2,558. Those in Oregon received median pay of $3,017, and sales agents in California received $3,800.
Pay in Large Industries
More than two-thirds of the real estate sales agents worked in four industries as of 2009, according to the BLS. The largest number, nearly 55,000, worked for real estate offices, where they received average pay of $4,562 per month. The more than 34,000 agents for lessors of real estate averaged $3,839 per month, and the more than 28,000 working in real estate-related activities averaged $4,067 per month. The highest-paying industry with many jobs, residential building construction, had more than 10,000 jobs for sales agents in 2009 with average monthly pay of $5,120.
The BLS predicts 14 percent job growth for real estate agents between 2008 and 2018 as an increasing population desires to buy homes. More jobs will also open up because of agents leaving the profession. However, the Internet will moderate the growth somewhat as prospective clients will do more of their own looking online. During difficult economic periods, the need for sales agents will decline and the incomes of agents will fall. Beginning part-time employment in real estate sales will become more difficult as the technical and legal knowledge required continues to increase.