Key Highlights

  • Income ranges by specialty
  • Key areas of expertise
  • Qualities of top real estate agents
  • Ways to save for retirement interviewed some 2,000 top producing real estate agents for its 2019-2020 Real Estate Agent Income Guide.

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In Part I of this two-part series, we looked at income snapshots of agents and brokers, factors that influence income generation and career insights. In Part II, we take a bird’s eye-view of income ranges by specialty, key areas of expertise and top qualities of the most productive real estate agents.

Income Ranges by Specialty 

Agents who specialize in one or more real estate designations tend to earn more than generalists who associate themselves with no specialization. McKissock found that the most profitable specializations include luxury real estate, green or eco-friendly properties and foreign investments. None of these specialties is mutually exclusive. Take a look:

  • $30,192 – N/A specialty
  • $71,648 – Affordable Housing
  • $77,008 – Residential Properties
  • $79,588 – Short Sales/Foreclosures
  • $83,535 – Commercial Properties
  • $83,841 – Property Management/Rentals
  • $84,653 – Military
  • $87,003 – Condominiums
  • $88,125 – Multi-family Properties
  • $88,801 – Investment Properties
  • $89,020 – Second Home Properties
  • $96,406 – Relocation
  • $102,134 – Green or Eco-friendly Properties
  • $111,293 – Foreign Investment
  • $84,375 – Other

Key Areas of Expertise

 Professionals who generate their own leads earn more. Strong networking and listening skills matter…otherwise, how would a real estate professional learn about word-of-mouth leads?

  • $137,879 – Expert
  • $87,741 – Growing
  • $55,986 – Novice
  • $36,821 – Failing

Professionals who generate referrals from their past clients earn more. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

  • $115,557 – Expert
  • $78,040 – Growing
  • $52,083 – Novice
  • $38, 854 – Failing

Top earners are Goal Setters. The SMARTer the goals, the better – S = specific; M = measurable; A = attainable; R = relevant; T = timely.

  • $110,084 – Expert
  • $78,983 – Growing
  • $$55,505 – Novice
  • $58,409 – Failing

Qualities of Top Real Estate Professionals

 These are the qualities brokers want in agents. Know that 72% of brokerages are challenged in finding these qualities when recruiting agents for their businesses.

55.9% – consistent delivery of superior customer/client experience

  • 41.3% – people skills
  • 19.6% strong social network and networking skills

Savings Strategies for Retirement as Real Estate Professionals

 Saving for retirement ought to be a #1 on-going priority for real estate professionals. Here are different options that may make sense for you:

Roth IRA

  • Funded with post-tax income
  • Option for newbies who are earning less and at lower tax threshold
  • Be sure to check income restrictions.

Traditional IRA

  • Once income above limit of Roth IRA, traditional IRA may be a good option because there are no income limits
  • Check with tax advisor to determine whether or not you are eligible to deduct tradition IRA contributions
  • Can use up to $10,000 of this option as a first-time home buyers or to pay for qualified college costs – again, check with tax advisor
  • Check age restrictions before withdrawing funds and age requirements to begin taking distributions

Solo 401(k)

  • If self-employed, cannot have any employees
  • Check with tax advisor about contribution limits and about a spouse earning income from your business


  • Good for self-employed with no or few employees
  • Check with tax advisor concerning deductions

Real Estate Investments

  • Consider your risk tolerance
  • Can do combination of an above savings strategy and real estate investment

Thanks to McKissock

Also read: Petition for Agent Financial Relief Generates 3,300 Signatures in ONE Day!, Podcast: Exclusive Michael Reese Interview | EXp Realty, Lead Generation, Marketing, Zillow and More | Tim and Julie Harris, NAR’s & Better Homes & Gardens Coronavirus Guidelines for Agents

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