Behind the Fancy Houses and Expensive Cars

There’s a running joke amongst some real estate agents that many of us left the feeling of a comfortable salary and being told what to do by a boss, being chained to a desk or phone for 40 hours per week, only to become a real estate agent and work 24/7. Sure there are perks like building your own business, having no income caps, and enjoying flexible working hours but that comes with clients calling and texting you at all hours, other agents that you need information from that may not respond or be nice, 100 % commission only, all the license and access fees and of course getting paid last after all the hard work.

Television makes this job look so easy and glamorous. In reality, it is not. Some days I feel less like a realtor and more like a truck driver driving from house to house to office to house and finding all the unhealthy snacks at gas stations along the way. I like to say that once an offer is accepted is when the real work begins, mostly behind the scenes. There are so many personalities, thoughts, opinions, and ideas to manage on top of the actual transaction work going from showing to the closing table.

Don’t get me wrong people can make a lot of money in this business, but I can also guarantee that those at the top likely worked just as hard to get there. I promise it isn’t all golf outings and sports cars. Here are some numbers to help outline how hard some of those realtors worked to get where they are:

  • From the National Association of Realtors, there are 1,564,547 members as of October 2021.
  • In the Grand Rapids area association for Kent and surrounding counties, there are 2,870 real estate salespeople alone as of July 31, 2022.
  • The typical REALTOR® is a 56-year-old white female who attended college and is a homeowner.
  • The median gross income of REALTORS® was $54,330 in 2021

While $54,000 might sound like a reasonable or good salary amount, don’t forget that realtors are independent contractors and pay all of their taxes, and expenses on our own. Common expenses for realtors include gas, license fees, monthly and annual membership fees for access to technology, all technology like laptops and cellphones, as well as marketing materials like business cards and signs. 

The point of this post is not at all to complain about my job, I chose this and am thankful every single day for flexibility and the ability to make my own schedule and work as hard as I can and want to. Just know that with every sale and fancy house we get to see and sell there is a lot of work and sacrifice behind the scenes. My job allows me to now spend most Fridays with my son while he’s little and at a very fun age. My job also allows me to help and assist our former foster twins with appointments and things during the day while their parents work more traditional schedules. It also allows me to spend time with my horse at a time when the barn isn’t as busy so I can soak up all those moments with him as he’s in his golden years. So I will gladly try to answer all the late-night texts, phone calls, and emails to help my clients accomplish their goals of homeownership because they allow me to accomplish my own personal goals as well. 

Posted by Ariel Christy on
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