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What Sets the Top 1% of Real Estate Agents Apart?

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If you want a job that offers excitement, flexibility, and high income earning potential, then becoming a real estate agent might be right for you. However, not every real estate agent is raking in massive commission checks.

In some cases, they’re barely making $30,000 to $40,000 per year. The question is, what sets the top one percent – those making high six- and seven-figure incomes – apart from the pack?

How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make?

Every market is different, and so much depends on experience and niche, but average real estate agents typically make a livable wage and not much more. The best ones, though? They can do very well for themselves.

“In 2020, the median pay for real estate agents in the U.S. was roughly $49,000. The lowest 10% of earners made less than $25,000, while the highest 10% of earners made more than $112,000,” The Balance notes.

Real estate brokers make slightly more, with the median pay being $60,000. However, top-end brokers can easily clear a $1 million annually if they have the right teams.

What Sets the Top 1% of Real Estate Agents Apart?

5 Factors That Separate High Earners

So, what separates an agent earning $400,000 from one earning $49,000? In many cases, it comes down to the following factors:

1. The Right Education

Don’t underestimate the importance of real estate education and training. This starts with choosing the right real estate license course and continues all the way through finding mentors and experienced agents to learn from. Adopt the posture of a student throughout your career and you’ll do much better than those who think they’ve got it all figured out.

2. The Right Broker

Be very intentional about which broker you choose to hang your license with. Some brokers have very little oversight and support, which may be a good thing. Other brokers work a lot with their agents and provide all of the necessary infrastructure to succeed. (Though they typically take a bigger commission split.)

The moral of the story: Don’t choose the first broker you run across. Do your research and find the one that sets you up the best.

What Sets the Top 1% of Real Estate Agents Apart?

3. Networking Skills

Perhaps you’ve heard people say that your network is your net worth. In many cases, this is quite true. It’s not what you know, but who you know that brings in clients and helps you generate fat commission checks.

Networking happens around the clock – not just when you’re in a formal business setting. Commit to putting yourself out there and never look back. Whether it’s dinner parties, carpool lines, or neighborhood gatherings, you can always grow your network and meet new people.

4. Resolve

As important as it is to have a massive network and A+ people skills, many in the industry believe the most important factor in success is the ability to bounce back after failure.

As real estate tycoon Barbara Corcoran says, “Handling rejection is 90 percent of what sales is all about, and the better you are about getting up quickly, and not spending too much time feeling sorry for yourself, that’s what determines who are the superstars.”

Work on your resolve and your career will always have an upward trajectory, even in the face of isolated struggles and failures.

5. Ancillary Skills

Think about what additional skills you can bring to the table to help you earn more clients and listings. For example, do you have an eye for design and an ability to help clients stage their homes? Or maybe you have a brother who has a landscaping company that gives you a good deal on pre-listing landscaping? Use your connections and skills to make yourself more attractive than the average agent and you’ll outmatch them every step of the way.

What Sets the Top 1% of Real Estate Agents Apart?

Create Your Own Success

One of the most beautiful things about being a real estate agent is the fact that you control your future. You can work hard, give it all you have, choose the right broker, invest in networking, etc. and a six-figure income is well within reach.

Or, if you choose to slack off or only work a few hours a week, you’ll find yourself earning nothing more than a livable wage. The opportunity is there, but the choice is ultimately yours. It doesn’t get any more American than that!


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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