The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tells us that “real estate brokers and sales agents help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. Brokers and agents do the same type of work, but brokers are licensed to manage their own real estate businesses. Sales agents must work with a broker.”
Across the United States, 57% of real estate brokers and sales agents are self-employed (as of most recent available statistics from 2010). “Although they often work long and irregular hours, many are able to set their own schedules,” says the BLS.
According to the Bureau, the typical real estate broker or sales agent:
• Earns approximately $42,680* annually or $20.52 per hour (median pay).
• Has at least a high school diploma or equivalent.
• Is one of 466,100 agents/brokers in the country.
• Can expect a job growth rate outlook of 11% between now and 2020 (The average growth rate for all occupations is 14%.
*The median annual wage of real estate brokers is $54,910, while the median annual wage of real estate agents is $40,030, says the BLS. Brokers and agents earn most of their income from commissions on sales.
Of those 43% of agents and brokers who are not self-employed, most work in the real estate industry in brokerage offices, leasing offices, and other real estate establishments. “While some real estate brokers and sales agents work in a typical office environment, others are able to telecommute and work out of their homes. In both cases, however, workers spend much of their time away from their desks—showing properties to customers, traveling to see properties for sale, and meeting with prospective clients.”
Hours beyond the standard 40-hour work week are typical for a broker or an agent, and networking is a key aspect of a successful career.
The Bureau specifies four qualities that are important to a real estate broker or sales agent:
1. Independence. Real estate brokers and sales agents must be able to work independently, managing their own time and organizing, planning, and prioritizing their work. Some brokers manage a one-person business in which they must handle every aspect of the business.
2. Interpersonal skills. Strong interpersonal skills are essential for real estate brokers and sales agents, because they spend much of their time interacting with clients and customers. As a result, they must be pleasant, enthusiastic, and trustworthy to attract clients.
3. Persuasion skills. Real estate brokers and sales agents need to be persuasive to convince potential clients of their ability to sell real estate and to persuade customers to buy available properties.
4. Problem-solving skills. Real estate brokers and sales agents need problem-solving skills to address, often immediately, any concerns clients or potential customers may have with a property. They also mediate negotiations between the seller and buyer.
So, how about it? Is this an accurate portrayal of you?