types of home loans

First Year Real Estate Agent Salary {Action Steps to Maximize Income}

Spread the love

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure.

First year real estate agent salary

Are you tired of looking at first year real estate agent salary information online and not finding realistic expectations but rather averages for different areas? I was frustrated when I first started researching becoming a real estate agent, because I couldn’t find actual income reports of first year agents! I’m going to tell you how you can maximize your income your first year in real estate without sacrificing your personal life! I first began my real estate career in the State of Georgia, in a town called Warner Robins in 2012. I’m going to share with you my approach as a new Realtor® in Warner Robins and then starting out as a first year real estate agent in a new state after we moved to Illinois. My approach and technique were completely different in both states, and I want to share what worked and what wasn’t so effective so you can have an amazing first year in real estate! Side note: Before I dive in, it’s important to know that it’s absolutely crucial that you set SMART goals. I’ve created a SMART goals worksheet {printable}. Download it at the bottom of this post after you’ve read all about how to maximize your income.


First Year Real Estate Agent Salary in Georgia

When I lived in Georgia and decided to obtain my real estate license, I had worked as a banker for 8 years. I was sitting in my Wells Fargo office, frustrated because after my Manager had quit, I applied for her position and was told I was “too valuable in my current position”. (Insert eye roll emoji) Of course as the Personal Banker II/Business Banker, I was responsible for leading the office conference calls and reporting numbers multiple (so many) times a day to the District Manager, all while trying to hit my sales goals and make sure everyone in the office was hitting their numbers. So I was doing the Manager’s job without being given the title, position, or pay raise.

I had actually spoken to a real estate broker several years earlier but felt that it wasn’t the right time for me to quit my job and start selling real estate full time. You really need to have a good nest egg (emergency fund) built up before you make such a drastic decision (unless your spouse is the primary income earner and you’re not counting on your income).

So the first thing I did in Georgia was I joined an experienced real estate agent’s team. The original deal was that he was going to pay me 50% of all the homes I sold, in exchange for administrative/social media marketing duties, and if I chose to list a home, he’d take 20%. This was after the main brokerage were affiliated with took their 20% of my income. So let’s say I sold a $100,000 home on the buyer’s side and the commission was $3,000 (or 3%). The broker took his 20%, leaving me with $2400, and the Realtor® whose team I was part of would take his 20%. I also had to pay an administrative fee of 1.5% of each transaction, and this left me with a little less than $1,900 before taxes and expenses. This was a terrible set up from the get-go. Forget about the fact that the guy I worked with was a narcissistic a-hole. I wasn’t set up to maximize my first year real estate agent salary. After two weeks of no sales, tons of “busy work”, and after having him telling me that I wasn’t allowed to bring a Chic Fil A cup into his office (oy vey), I walked away and decided to go it alone as an independent agent.

Week One as an Independent Real Estate Agent

Within a couple of days of moving to my own tiny office, I sold my first house! It was a floor duty lead, and I showed the couple 4 or 5 homes before they made an offer on the one they loved! Unfortunately, it took us 3 months to close on this property since it was being financed with Wells Fargo (go figure…I couldn’t get away from them lol). But I did it! While I waited for that property to close so I could get paid, I was able to sell a couple of other properties. I was taking advantage of floor duty whenever I could, and I was emailing and calling everyone in my sphere of influence. But I really had no idea what I was doing.

The Slowest Month for Real Estate Sales

Everyone says December is the slowest month in real estate. It makes sense. It’s cold, snowy, windy, and downright miserable to get out. Plus everyone is focused on Christmas and the holidays with their families so they usually take a break from house shopping. I was originally licensed in July of 2012, and my first December I actually closed on 5 homes! I wasn’t in an affluent area, so my commission was only about $10,000, but I was pleased with that! It was a GREAT December!

My First Year Income as a Real Estate Agent

So now we get down to it…how much did I make my first year as a real estate agent in Georgia? My total gross commission was about $20,000 from July – December of 2012. After expenses and fees, I think I showed a profit of $6,000. I remember cringing when I wrote the check for $50 for my “desk fees” to my broker. I was on a strict budget, and if we were going to make this work, I had to count every single penny. Little did I know that $50 was next to nothing for an office/desk fee.

Starting Over as a New Real Estate Agent in a New Area

We moved to Illinois to be closer to family in late 2014 after the birth of my daughter (our unexpected blessing). As Y’all may know, life has a tendency of throwing you curve balls, and God has a plan for you, whether you expect it or not! We settled in, and the Realtor® who sold us our new home kept trying to bring me onboard with her team. I told her that I’d been on a real estate team before and it wasn’t the greatest situation, so I had reservations about joining a team again.

One thing you should know about the State of Illinois is that everything is more expensive in Illinois. If I was to be a licensed, independent real estate broker in my area, it was going to cost me over $1,000 per month, and that didn’t even buy me an office or a cubicle. How the hell does anyone make any money if their expenses are astronomical? So I spoke with Deb Sarsany, my Realtor®, and she explained that as a licensed assistant, I would only have to pay half of the office dues/fees, and she believed that I would be very successful.

So I jumped in, head first, and transferred my license from Georgia to Illinois. Illinois is a reciprocal state, so all you have to do is take the state exam and pass in order to move your license.

My First Year Real Estate Agent Income in a New State

My first year as a real estate agent in Illinois, from January 31 to October 31, 2017, I grossed $50,000! I sold 20 homes, and this was all while working from home with my preschooler. My daughter only went to daycare 2-3 days per week, and my husband travels a lot for work. So I quickly learned to balance being a stay at home/work at home mom and career woman. I have to say…when I was a working Mom, I was always envious of the stay at home Moms and when I was a stay at home Mom, I was always envious of the working moms. Now I’m just thankful to be able to work from home and sneak away to have lunch with my kids at school. I’m grateful that I’m able to take quick breaks to play Shopkins and sing songs with my daughter.

So how was I able to make $50k my first year in real estate in a new (totally oversaturated) market?

  1. I time-blocked. I planned every single minute of every day before the day even started. I scheduled my workouts at the gym, my meals, my blogging time, my trips in the car to drop my daughter off at daycare/school and pick her up. I called that time “Driving Miss Sadie”. 😛
  2. I focused on money-making activities. I don’t care what all of the veteran real estate agents who’ve been selling homes since you were in diapers say. There is absolutely NO benefit to attending networking events with other Realtors®. Don’t waste your time (especially as a newbie trying to build a book of business) networking with your competitors!
  3. I didn’t host many open houses. Many real estate agents will tell you “Open Houses don’t sell houses”. I’ve never once sold a home at an open house, although I’ve picked up a couple of buyers at open houses. My advice would be that if you’re stressed and trying to manage work/life/family balance, don’t spend too much time sitting in empty houses, praying for a buyer. Spend Sundays with your family. If you ARE going to host an Open House, consider having it open during a community yard sale Saturday. Enlist some helpers to serve lemonade and cookies on the lawn with signs pointing potential buyers and snoopers inside to check out the home. You never know who they know!
  4. Every single real estate agent needs a website and an online social media presence. Don’t waste your money on billboards and park benches. Spend your money on building an online dominance in your market. I branded myself “The Dedicated Agent” after looking at reviews and seeing a recurring theme of “dedication”. You can build a website for less than $100, and it is literally the best investment you can make! I highly recommend Bluehost as the absolute best, most powerful web hosting provider.

You can build your online social media presence by updating your profiles. I created a Pinterest tutorial on how to create branded board covers, and I shared my winning Pinterest strategy and how I grew my Pinterest audience by 1000% in just 1 month in this post. Be sure to sign up for Tailwind. It allows you to schedule out your pins for days and weeks at a time (if you want), freeing you up to focus on money-making activities, such as prospecting and networking. You literally have nothing to lose, though, so sign up for the free account for now and try it out. I guarantee your audience and reach will skyrocket (especially if you follow my Pinterest tutorial and strategy).

Visual Marketing from Tailwind

Some stats about Pinterest, courtesy of OmniCore Agency.  The average age of Pinterest users is 40, however the majority of active pinners are younger than 40. Millenials use Pinterest as much as Instagram. There are 75 million users inside the US and 100 million users outside the US. 81% of Pinterest users are female.

The majority of your potential clients already use Pinterest. So why not optimize your profile to put it at the top of search results in your niche and area. I use Tailwind to schedule my pins, and it makes things SO much easier! It literally takes a few minutes, and you’re done! You can sign up for a free trial here, and you don’t even need a credit or debit card to sign up!

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

Main Takeaway

If you’re looking for ways to maximize your first year real estate agent salary, by following the steps outlined above you CAN make $50,000 plus your first year! It won’t be easy, but it will be well worth it! What other career allows you to work from home, on your terms (for the most part), and make six figures plus without a college degree? Before you go, don’t forget to grab your free printable SMART Goals Worksheet!

Get My Tips Delivered Weekly!

Receive my best tips for saving and making money via email! You'll get behind-the-scenes footage of my budgeting techniques and debt payoff methods.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
Follow me


I've done all the things! Girl, I've washed my face. I've trashed everything that doesn't spark joy. I've walked the baby steps. I've cried. I've prayed, but my perfectionism has really held me back.

Perfection Hangover can be crippling. Stop comparing yourself to others and start living your best life! That's why PH exists! I want to encourage you to take control of your money, your blog, and your business.
Follow me


  1. hal

    stick with it! I hear ya’ on starting over… as a hairstylist I can really relate – starting over in a new area can be soooo hard to regrow your client base & your reputation

    1. It’s a very demanding but rewarding career! Let me know if you have any questions!

  2. I have always wondered how commission works for real estate agents ! My hubby has been telling me for years that is what I should be doing but it all seems a little scary being strictly commission! Thanks for the break down and congrats on your office !

    1. It’s a LOT of work for sure. That was my first year in real estate here in Illinois, and since my husband’s work has him traveling half of the month (every month), I’m focusing on the kids and my financial coaching blog. I think real estate is a very lucrative career for so many, but it just didn’t work for my schedule at this season in my life. Plus my passion is finances 😛 Thank you for your comment! Let me know if you have any questions!

  3. Congratulations, darling! I celebrate you and your success. Really loved learning the steps you took to get there – it is inspirational and motivating! You are amazing!

  4. Pingback: Abundance vs Lack Mentality: Is Lack Holding You Back? - An Unlimited Amount of Money

Add A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.