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2009 NAR Member Profile Released

national association of realtors member profile 2009

What are Realtors up to?

The 2009 National Association of Realtors’ Member Profile was recently released and while we encourage everyone to read all 84 pages, we’ll give you the highlights:

Realtors & Technology

  • 60% of Realtors have a website aged an average of 5 years.
  • The most common info on the websites (according to NAR) is the member’s own listings.
  • Over 1/3 of Realtors use social networking sites.
  • 17% of Realtors regularly use blogs, RSS feeds and podcasts, up 5% from last year.
  • Years in practice had no bearing on use of social media.

Realtor Demographics

  • NAR reports “the typical REALTOR® is a 54 year old white female who attended college and is a homeowner.”
  • 60% of all Realtors are female.
  • The median age of Realtors is 54 years old.
  • 75% of Realtors don’t have a second job whereas 25% state real estate is not their only occupation.
  • Under 50% of Realtors surveyed noted real estate is their primary source of household income.
  • 9% of Realtors were born outside the U.S.
  • 96% of members are registered to vote.

Business Activity

  • Brokerage specialists averaged 7 transactions in 2008 and averaged 8 in 2007.
  • 40% of Realtors transacted at least one property in foreclosure.
  • 23% of business of Realtors licensed 16+ years originated with referrals from past clients.
  • 39% of Realtors generated “some” business from holding an open house.

Income & Expenses

  • Median gross income of Realtors fell 14% to $36,700 in 2008.
  • Median gross income of Realtors with 2 years or less experience was $8,600.
  • Median gross income of Realtors with 16 years or more experience was $53,900.
  • Realtor annual business expenses fell to $5,810 in 2008 from $6,580 in 2007.
  • 70% of Realtors are compensated on a percentage split commission.
  • 73% of Realtors reported being “very certain” they’ll remain int he business for at least two more years (therefore, 27% reported uncertainty of being in business for that long).

Brokerage Models

  • 50% of Realtors are affiliated with an independent, non-franchised brokerage.
  • Realtors are affiliated with firms having a median of 23 brokers and agents.
  • 25% of Realtors have spent 11+ years with their current brokerage.
  • 64% of brokers have some ownership interest in their firm.
  • 72% of Realtors receive no benefits through their firm.
  • 12% of Realtors worked for a firm that was bought or merged in the past 24 months.

Designations, Affiliations

  • 35% of Realtors hold a minimum of one professional designation, up 3% from last year.
  • 20% have a GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute), 13% have a ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), 10% have a CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), and 5% have a SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist).
  • 16% of Realtors hold a specialized training certification.
  • 25% of Realtors belong to one or more affiliated institutes or councils. 11% belong to CRS (Council of Residential Specialists), 10% to REBAC (Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council), 4% to WCR (Women’s Council of Realtors) and 3% to CREB (Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers).

Professional Focus

  • 60% of Realtors are licensed as sales agents, 53% actually functioned as sales agents.
  • The average years of experience for a Realtor is 10 years.
  • 82% of Realtors specialize in residential real estate.
  • 22% of Realtors have a secondary focus on relocation, 21% in commercial brokerage, 17% in residential property management, 14% in land development, and 14% in counseling.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Ken Brand

    June 1, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I looking forward to reading the $50 value report. Thanks for the share and point.

  2. Brian Block

    June 1, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Lani, I found this interesting. Especially these two statistics which don’t seem to jive very well:

    75% of Realtors don’t have a second job.


    under 50% of Realtors noted real estate is their primary source of household income.

    I guess a lot of agents are marrying well!

  3. Lani Rosales

    June 1, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    You know what *really* struck me was that it’s 50/50 independents to franchises. I thought franchises had a better hold than that!

    It’s also interesting that the income went down so much (and is so low to begin with).

    • Grant in Nashville

      February 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm

      I was really surprised at the 50/50 independent versus franchise as well. Did the study happen to mention how many real estate businesses where considered “franchise”?

  4. Ruthmarie Hicks

    June 1, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    It might be interesting to hear the definition of a “website” and “blog.” The number of agents having a website for five years or longer seems high to me. I know that’s not true for my neck of the woods unless the definition of”website” is very, very loose. The same holds true for blogging. Define “regularly” – regularly once a year??? and what is the medium. Some people think posting on Trulia Voices is “blogging.”

    I had an agent recruiting me for her brokerage and I asked her about using IDX on MY OWN SITE…if I joined them. (This has been a BIG sticking point with several of the large brokerages around here.) She proudly said “MY SITE HAS IDX!” Her “site” was a web page on the brokerage web site…indexed alphabetically with the other 70 agents who work in that brokerage. By that definition – all 70 have websites and said website has been around for more than five years….Go figure….

  5. Matt Stigliano

    June 1, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Ruthmarie – I like your questions. “Website” can be a very loose term I’ve found. What my company think is a website, I think is a waste of bandwidth. That’s why I built my own.

    Lani – The 2008 Realtor® Technology Report gave the same numbers for franchise vs. non-franchise. I also found that pretty interesting, not at all what I expected.

  6. Ruthmarie Hicks

    June 1, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks Matt –
    Everything is relative. Maybe we are backward – (in fact I know that we are) but I can probably count on two hands the number of agents that truly have their OWN website/blog rather than a page of boiler plate nonsense on their broker’s site. Yet the county boasts about 8000 agents….so the numbers don’t work – even if you double or quadrupled them and doubled that – they don’t work.

    I’m in Westchester NY. I dont’ know much about other parts of the country. Do others feel the same about their geographic areas? Anyone want to take a stab at how many individual websites there are in their areas? Just curious.

  7. Elaine Reese

    June 1, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    I agree that the majority of the 560 agents with my broker use the broker’s web PAGE and don’t have their own site. They aren’t techie enough to know the difference. As for blogging, only 3-4 of us do that.

  8. Chris Griffith

    June 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    I’d be interested in finding out, out of the 17% with blogs, how many of them are a blogger that they Ronco’d. Set it and forget it.

    There are *a lot* of orphan blogs out there who’s owners consider themselves “bloggers”.

  9. Brandie Young

    June 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Cupcake! Thanks for summarizing and posting this. Amazing that more realtors don’t have websites, and so few actually blog. I look forward to comparing in this in 2 years.

  10. Fred Romano

    June 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I’m still amazed at NAR for wanting to charge us for statistics about our own industry! I mean all they need to do is PDF it and make it available to download. Why charge a fee for that? They’re just nickle and dimeing us.

  11. @Agent_Luke

    June 1, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    nice run down.

  12. Matt Stigliano

    June 1, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Fred – They need somewhere to generate all those non-dues monies they keep talking about (see Lani’s previous article).

  13. Missy Caulk

    June 1, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    I’m surprised about the 50% franchise thing too. I thought it would be more.

  14. Joe Loomer

    June 2, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I think – like the definition of “website” – the franchise thing may be off base. If someone’s working at “Coldwell Banker Smith and Jones” – they may feel (or not know) that they’re not part of a national brand and merely reap the franchise benefit while claiming a separate identity.

    To Ruthmarie’s point, we have just over 1,000 agents in our area, yet only five of the websites on the first two pages of Google are actual agent’s sites. The rest are either national (homes, yahoo real estate, etc…) or the brokerage pages. I think you’re spot on with the analogy that agents think their free brokerage page is actually a “website.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  15. Paula Henry

    June 2, 2009 at 6:49 am

    I don’t have to tell you we are backwards here 🙂 There are about four serious bloggers, everyone thinks their company website counts and signing up for a facebook account equals participating in social media.

    I was one of the agents whose previous broker merged, then I wised up and moved on to an independant. We do have our share of independants.

    I wonder how do agents survive on the gross commissions minus expenses?

  16. Joe Loomer

    June 2, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Mean to add earlier – who the heck are the two dudes in the picture? Are they in some Realtor playoffs so they’re refusing to shave? The first Amish agents perhaps?

  17. Matt Stigliano

    June 2, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Joe – Awesome comment! Playoff beards rule. I used to grow one every year as I followed my favorite teams. Of course, when I was in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, I was lucky if I could even grow a bit of stubble.

    Paula – You may be backwards, but there’s people like you that will eventually change that!

  18. Lani Rosales

    June 2, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Clarification in case of confusion: the report is free, simply log in to using the link in the first line of the article to see the full report (which we encourage).

    Other clarification: of course they’re realtor playoff beards. 😉

  19. Joe Loomer

    June 2, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Must be Penguins and Red Wings fans……

  20. Jay Neely

    June 3, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Lani, could you add what the sample size is for the 2009 Member Profile?

  21. Lani Rosales

    June 3, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Great question, Jay! According to the NAR Report as linked to above (page 78 of 84):

    “In February 2009, NAR MAILED A 91-QUESTION SURVEy TO A RANDOM SAMPLE OF METHODOLOgy 54,140 REALTORS®. An identical questionnaire was also distributed to another group of 46,561 members via a Web-based online survey. A total of 8,113 responses were received. After accounting for undeliverable questionnaires, the survey had an adjusted response rate of 8.2 percent. Survey responses were weighted to be representative of state level NAR membership. Information about compensation, earnings, sales volume and number of transactions are characteristics of calendar year 2008, while all other data are representative of member characteristics in early 2009.”

  22. Toby Boyce

    June 28, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Great report that shows how diversified real estate really is. From the 50-50 split on indys vs. national brands, to the break down on the income part.

    As I enter my third year in real estate, I’m really glad to be putting that two-year average number behind me :p

  23. tomferry

    July 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Lani and all …

    Do you think 8,113 is a representative enough sample size of all realtors? Just wondering!

    You would think that they would have emailed all 1 million realtors, at least that’s what I think!


  24. Jacci

    December 22, 2009 at 3:13 am

    The 50/50 got me as well, that and the 75% of Realtors without a second job but 25% is primary income.

  25. trevor

    April 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    If NAR has 1 million members and there are only about 500, 000 agents & brokers, who are the other 500,000 people that pay the NAR membership fees?

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