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Realtor income rises 25%, prepare for wave of new licensees

Realtor income and sales rose in 2012, and despite challenges cited, this news alone will have some considering getting back into real estate, or starting a new career, a potential wave which could be a double edged sword.

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2013 Realtors Member Profile shows incomes up

According to the 2013 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Member Profile which outlines member data from 2012, income and sales are up for Realtors for the second year in a row following nine years of decline, news that will likely lead to a new wave of professionals looking to diversify income or quit job hunting to seek their real estate license.

After all, the median gross income of a Realtor rose 25 percent from $34,900 in 2011 to $43,500 in 2012 is admittedly an attractive stat, and many will jump on the bandwagon, or perhaps return to the bandwagon regardless of any other facts in the report.

Paul Bishop, NAR vice president of Research put the earnings in perspective, noting that “the median Realtor® income had fallen by 35 percent during the housing downturn, but with the help of sustained increases in both home sales and prices, it’s recovered to the highest level since 2006.”

Brokers, experienced Realtors earn more

NAR reports that in 2012, brokers typically earned $54,900 while the median for sales agents was $34,000 and Realtors in the business for 16 years or more earned $57,300. NAR members working 60 hours a week or more earned $85,700, and 21 percent of all members earned a six-figure income.

Sales are up as well, with the number of sides in 2011 averaging 10 per NAR member, up to 12 in 2012.

NAR President Gary Thomas, said the real estate business is cyclical. “Realtors® have some way to go to surpass the peak income recorded back in 2002. Interestingly, the peak wasn’t during the bubble years because there were way too many people in the business,” he said. “To help smooth out the peaks and valleys associated with residential sales, many Realtors® are diversified into related services. As a result, changes in Realtor® income don’t exactly parallel changes in home sales and prices.”

More about members

Most (80 percent) of NAR members focus on residential sales and 73 percent have secondary real estate specialties. Fully 18 percent of residential specialists also offer commercial property management, 17 percent relocation services, 15 percent commercial brokerage, 8 percent counseling, and 7 percent land development. For Realtors® who have other primary specialties, 37 percent listed residential brokerage as a secondary business.

NAR reports the typical Realtor has 13 years of experience, is 57 years old, works 40 hours per week, and 57 percent are women. Half have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 90 percent are homeowners. Under two percent are under 30, and only four percent are between 30 and 34. Only six percent of Realtors surveyed were uncertain they would remain in the business for at least two more years.

Over half of all NAR members are licensed as sales agents, 27 percent are brokers, 18 percent broker associates, and four percent appraisers, some holding more than one license. Only four percent have two or more personal assistants, while 14 percent have one.

Only 39 percent of Realtors hold certifications in specialized training, of which, Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification (SFR) is the most popularly held certification (23 percent) followed by e-Pro (17 percent) and Real Estate Professional Assistant (REPA, at seven percent).

Over one in three Realtors have obtained at least one professional designation with the GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute) as the most popular (21 percent), followed by ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative, 15 percent) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist at 11 percent).

How Realtors now operate

Fully 36 percent of Realtors still do not have their own website, but 94 percent say their firm has a web presence, and 88 percent report to be without a blog, even though 56 percent say they use social media sites. Although it feels like every real estate professional in the country is on every social network and has multiple blogs, that simply isn’t the case, and the industry has a lot of room to grow.

Sixty-eight percent of Realtors are compensated through a split commission arrangement, 18 percent receive all of the commission and another four percent receive a commission plus a share of profits; 10 percent received some other form of compensation.

Most NAR members see no fringe benefits, and while four percent receive health insurance through their firm, a surprising 78 percent are not covered by errors and omissions insurance.

Challenges for Realtors

NAR members continue to report the biggest obstacle to any real estate transaction is obtaining a mortgage (cited by one in three respondents) and tight inventory levels (25 percent report difficulty in finding the right property).

Repeat business accounted for a median 21 percent of activity in 2012 and is higher for those with more experience – for members in the business 16 years or more, repeat business was 40 percent of their activity. Referrals accounted for an additional 21 percent of all business.

Quick facts about Realtors:

  • Realtor median gross income rose from $34,900 in 2011 to $43,500 in 2012
  • Brokers earn $54,900
  • Sales agents earn $34,00
  • Realtors with 16+ years of experience earn $57,300
  • Realtors working 60+ hours per week earn $87,500
  • Realtors average 12 sales per year, up from 10 in 2011
  • Typical Realtor has 13 years of experience
  • Typical Realtor is 57 years old
  • 57% of Realtors are women
  • Half of all Realtors have at least a bachelor’s degree
  • 90% of Realtors own a home
  • Less than 6% of Realtors are under 34
  • Half of all Realtors are sales agents
  • 27% of Realtors are brokers
  • 18% of Realtors are broker associates
  • 36% of Realtors don’t have their own website
  • 88% of Realtors don’t have a blog
  • 44% of Realtors don’t use social media
  • 78% of Realtors aren’t covered by errors and omissions insurance
  • 96% of Realtors do not receive health insurance through their firm
  • One in three Realtors say obtaining a mortgage remains the top obstacle to a transaction
  • 25% of Realtors say the top challenge is finding the right property
  • 21% of Realtors’ sales are from repeat business
  • 21% of Realtors’ sales are from referrals

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Business News

Etsy is trying on second-hand fashion with purchase of Depop

(BUSINESS NEWS) With the younger generation moving away from fast fashion, it makes sense that Etsy has acquired one of the most popular Gen Z second hand apps.

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Woman looking at a rack of clothes in a second hand thrift store

Over the last few years, sustainable shopping has been a bullet point in the large-scale topic of the environment. Burning through clothing by disposing of old clothing and shopping from places specializing in “fast fashion” is causing damage to the earth.

According to the UN Environment Programme, the fashion industry is the second largest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

As a result, shopping second hand has become more popular, as opposed to mass-produced fast fashion. Online platforms like Poshmark and ThredUp have grown tremendously over the last 3 to 5 years.

Now, Etsy is getting in on the resale action through its acquisition of Depop – a second hand fashion app that allows for the buying and selling of used fashion items.

Etsy paid $1.6 billion to acquire the UK-founded company, which has attracted a younger, Gen Z-based audience due to its social media use and messaging on shopping in an ethical and environmentally-friendly fashion.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said the company was “thrilled” to be adding what it believes to be the “resale home for Gen Z consumers” to Etsy. Depop has approximately 30 million registered users spanning 150 countries.

“Depop is a vibrant, two-sided marketplace with a passionate community, a highly-differentiated offering of unique items, and we believe significant potential to further scale,” Silverman said in a statement Wednesday.

“We see significant opportunities for shared expertise and growth synergies across what will now be a tremendous ‘house of brands’ portfolio of individually distinct, and very special, ecommerce brands.”

Due to the COVID-related e-commerce boom, shares of Etsy have more than doubled in the last year. The stock was up about 6.7% Wednesday afternoon.

According to data from Crunchbase, Depop had raised a total of $105.6 million from investors including General Atlantic, Creandum, Balderton Capital, Octopus Ventures and Klarna CEO and co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski, prior to their agreement with Etsy.

With fashion being so cyclical, it may be safe to say that second hand will never fully go out of style.

What are your thoughts on resale apps being the answer to fast fashion woes? Let us know in the comments.

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As masks become optional, businesses find themselves stuck in the middle

(BUSINESS NEWS) One liquor store’s decision on mask policy following changes in local laws has become a recurring story throughout the nation.

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Woman in front of small business with two children, all wearing face masks

The American mask debate has comprised a whirlwind of clashing political ideologies, legal dilemmas, and personal agendas, with businesses placed directly in the middle of the storm. As the pandemic continues to run its course, a disparity in state mandates and legislation is only serving to increase the strain on these establishments.

With increased access to vaccines and several states rolling back their COVID guidance, the option to wear—or not wear—masks is becoming more discretionary, with businesses often having the final say in whether or not they expect masks to be used on their premises. One such business, a liquor store, posted a notice regarding their staff’s decision to continue wearing masks:

“In accordance with Johnson County mandates: Masks are now optional. Please do not berate, verbally assault, or otherwise attack the staff over their choice to continue wearing masks.”

The notice went on to say, “It is painfully depressing we have to make this request.”

That last line epitomizes many business owners’ stances. Places across the country have started allowing customers to discard their masks with proof of vaccination, but if employees choose to keep their masks for the time being, it’s difficult for clients not to view it as a kind of political statement—despite their decisions often being corroborated by local laws.

And, as long as businesses continue to operate within the confines of those laws, their decisions should be free from public scrutiny.

Sadly, that’s not what’s happening as evidenced by the notice posted by the liquor store in Johnson County. The same disparity that allows for some freedom despite COVID still being present in many Americans’ lives often leaves those who choose not to wear masks to conclude that those who do wear them are being judgmental or unnecessarily cautious.

Those judgements work in reverse as well, with businesses who allow their employees to work maskless facing criticism from masked clients. It seems that the freedom to choose—something for which people strongly advocated throughout the pandemic—continues to cause separation.

As businesses change or adapt their regulations to fit state mandates and employee (and customer) concerns, everyone would do well to remember that the decisions these establishments make are usually meant to affect some kind of positive work environment—not to welcome harassment and abuse.

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Business News

You should apply to be on a board – why and how

(BUSINESS NEWS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.

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What?
What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”

Why?
It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.

We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.

Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:

1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.

As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.

When?
NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).

The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.

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