Realtors and Class: An Interesting Tidbit

The happiest holiday of the year (that would be Easter, not St. Patrick’s Day) is behind us, and I do hope all of you had a wonderful Easter (and Passover for my friends of the Tribe). Just a quick little interesting note from some research I’ve been doing of late to share this morning.

According to the 2016 NAR Member Profile, Realtors are making bank, yo! It kind of goes against what I’ve been hearing ever since I started in the real estate industry, so figured I’d discuss it with you all. Check this out:

Now, according to that, half of all Realtors are making $100K or more in gross household income. Add in the 31% who are making at least $50K per year and we have 81% of Realtors making a solid middle-class or upper middle-class income.

In fact, if we go by common definitions of income classes in the United States, here’s how things break down:

So roughly speaking, maybe half of the Realtors are in that “middle class” bucket from $41,869 to $125,609. And we know that more than 29% are over the $125,609 line since 29% are over $150,000. Think about that. Nearly a third of all Realtors can be classified as Upper Income!

What’s even more amazing is that 38% of new agents (under 2 years of experience) are making $100K or more. One out of twenty is in the Over $250K category, and almost one in ten are making over $200K per year.

Now, keep in mind that this is Gross Household Income — not what the Realtor made from real estate sales. And only 48% of Realtors say that real estate is the primary source of income for the household. So in the vast majority of the above, we’re talking about Realtors married to or living with someone else who makes a bunch of money too.

When I saw this, I immediately thought of the “80/20” rule, that says that 80% of the business is done by 20% of the Realtors. Maybe that’s true — and that 20% are the top two tiers making at least $200K a year plus a few from the $150,000-$199,999 range. But the 31% that are in the $75K -$150K range? That’s actually kind of an incredible stat. Almost suggests that even those who aren’t really producing very much are still very much in the upper middle class….

There are some dark-side worries to have about this, but I’ll keep those to myself for now while I look into a few things. For now, let’s just let the numbers speak for themselves.


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Rob Hahn

Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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4 thoughts on “Realtors and Class: An Interesting Tidbit”

  1. Gross income in real estate is sort of an obsolete in my opinion. Your looking at 1099 income, not take home.
    Just something worth mentioning.

  2. I would say consider the source of your data. Basically an organization who makes 100% of its income from memberships sold to “wanna be a millionaire” agents. Become a Realtor, and get rich quick. Wonderful. Everything messaged by the NAR about the status of the industry is “fair weather ahead”. Without direct access to the true source of this data it is impossible to determine the accuracy of these statistics. And thanks to 720 plus MLSs controlled by NAR policies and rules, that will simply never happen. Take the annual sales figures as an example. If more than 20% of the properties sold in 2015 were sold outside the MLS as “coming soon”, how was the total residential sales figure determined by the NAR? It must be simply “automagical”.

  3. Always someone who sits around breeding negativity! Thanks for the information as always! Yes stats are always skewed to be more negative or pleasant for the audience HOWEVER truth be told if you work hard in this business and stay abreast of the what is happening in the market and communities you serve you will be successful! It’s the law of averages…..

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