Realtors form one of the most common categories of small business owners in the US, with over half a million people employed in the property market, and many running their own agencies and brokerages to serve home buyers and sellers nationwide.
While the median pay sits at just over $51,000, this does not really reflect the vast differences between how much realtors make depending on the areas they operate in.
In fact, as with lots of small businesses, while some realtors will be raking in the cash thanks to burgeoning property prices in their state, others will be beholden to the peaks and troughs of a slower regional market.
So if you are flexible about where you set up your small business, and becoming a realtor is appealing, which states provide the best earning opportunities, and which are less lucrative for agents and brokers in this sector?
In terms of the sheer number of people working as realtors, no other state can match Texas. This is partly to do with the fact that online real estate schools in Texas make it simple for people to learn the ropes and acquire a license to sell property within the state.
Likewise the above-average annual earnings of Texan realtors, which sit at almost $64,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that how much realtors make is not solely determined by proximity to the cosmopolitan enclaves of the East or West coasts.
Of course this average also undersells just how much the biggest players in Texas real estate earn each year, with the top 10th of the realtors raking in almost $113,000 each year.
Sitting at the top of the tree when it comes to realtor earnings, New York is the state to be in if you want to make the big bucks.
Of course the earnings here are massively skewed by New York City itself, and yet the mean annual income of around $102,000 is not to be sniffed at regardless of what measurements you use. When looking at only the 10 percent of highest earning agents, this average is bolstered further to $195,000.
The issue here is that there is just so much competition for realtors to contend with, and starting a small business to take a slice of the industry will see you facing an uphill struggle against myriad established brands.
At the other end of the spectrum, revealing how much realtors make in Illinois might surprise you, as even the behemoth of Chicago is not enough to pull the state’s property businesses out of the lower earning brackets.
The mean amount made here is just $44,000, and even the most successful agents only top out at around $90,000.
It’s worth noting at this point that the way realtors make money is primarily through commissions. This can make setting up a small business which sells real estate comparatively affordable, as staff salaries are entirely performance-based in most cases.
This also means that you can succeed in real estate in every state, if you are savvy and smart, so don’t let average earnings cloud your judgment of places like Illinois too much.
Like Illinois, you might expect California to appear higher up the charts for realtor earnings, but in this case it is the sheer scale of the state that drives down averages, even with some of the world’s most expensive properties cropping up regularly in the LA area.
Amazingly the typical take-home pay for an agent in California is lower than in Connecticut and Colorado, hovering around $77,000 in the most recent figures available.
In fact, about half of all realtors across California make closer to $60,000, with the average being dragged up by the biggest earners.
Alaska is an intriguing state for a lot of reasons, and you might assume that a region that is so vast and desolate might not have a particularly strong property market.
In fact, the opposite is true, as it comes close to matching California with a $75,000 average pay packet for realtors, with high flyers making almost $105,000.
With properties concentrated in a handful of large settlements, demand is high in Alaska, which of course benefits those who buy and sell real estate for a living.
A similar state of affairs exists in Hawaii, which has a much smaller land mass, but is almost as lucrative for realtors as Alaska, with $74,000 made here on average each year.
As you can see, it is very worth doing your research before starting a real estate business, as each state has its own perks and pitfalls, not only in terms of the potential for the amount you can make, but also when it comes to the challenges of actually catering to the geographic oddities that exist there.