Does “everything’s bigger in Texas” apply to real estate agent salaries, too? Let’s find out.
How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make in Texas?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the average salary for a real estate sales agent in Texas was $70,520. The average salary for a broker was $96,630.
But that’s just the average. The above-average agent, obviously, does even better. The top 10% of Texas sales agents made an average of $121,610 in 2018.
How Does That Stack Up?
The good news is that Texas agents are out-earning the national average by a serious margin. The average salary for U.S. sales agents in 2018 was $58,710. That’s a full $11,810 a year less than the average Texas agent.
In fact, Texas is number six in the nation for sales agent salary, behind just New York, Rhode Island, Alaska, Wyoming, and California.
The Factors That Affect Agent Salary
Texas is a big state with a lot of agents. In fact, Texas has the second-most real estate agents of any state in the country, behind Florida. There’s a wide range of salaries in the state, from the tenth percentile at $26,900 to the 90th percentile at $121,610.
So what’s the difference? What separates the 10th percentile from the 90th? There are three major factors that affect agent salary: price, volume, and commission split. Let’s take a look at each of these and how they work.
Probably the biggest determining factor in a sales agent’s salary is the price of the properties they’re selling. Since salary is based on commission, the higher the price, the bigger the commission.
You’d have to sell five $100,000 homes to make the same commission as an agent who sells one $500,000 home.
Agents who work in big cities like Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio (and especially in the tony suburbs just outside of some of these cities) have a built-in advantage when it comes to price. Some markets command higher home values than others.
On the other hand, living in a high-priced market means you’re probably spending more on your own housing (and food, gas, and other essentials) too.
While you can’t really control what a market is doing (there’s only so much you can do to boost the selling price of a property), you can control how many properties you sell in a year. The more you sell, the more you make.
An agent who is out there hustling for leads is probably going to do more volume than someone who sits back and waits for clients to come to them. That’s one of the reasons that word of mouth and networking is so key for real estate agents: more leads mean more cash.
The final factor that affects salary is the commission split. Most often, the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent split the commission evenly, though sometimes other splits are offered. The listing in the MLS should outline what the split is (though of course, it is unethical to steer a buyer away from a property because you don’t like the split).
The other commission split a sales agent needs to think about is the one they have with their broker. Different brokers take different percentages of a sales agent’s commission. 50/50 is a typical split, but these days there are many brokerages that don’t take a commission percentage (or take something nominal, like 5%) and instead charge a desk fee or other set fees for sales agents.
Often, commission splits with your broker are negotiable. The more experienced an agent is, the more likely they are to be able to negotiate a better deal.
In the end, the more your broker takes out of your pocket, the less you take home. Hmm, maybe it’s time to start thinking about getting that broker license!
Want to learn more about being a real estate agent? Check out our Texas career center.