Becoming a Real Estate Broker: Salary Information & Job Description

About this article
A real estate broker's mean annual salary is around $80,000. Is it worth the licensure requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about the career's outlook to find out if becoming a real estate broker is right for you.
View available schools

A Real Estate Broker Career: Pros and Cons

Real estate brokers facilitate property sales between buyers and sellers. To determine if becoming a real estate broker is right for you, consider both the positive and negative aspects of the career.

Pros of a Real Estate Broker Career
Relatively high earning potential (a mean salary of $80,420 as of 2014)*
Often self-employed (they are licensed to operate their own businesses)*
Minimum education requirement is a high school diploma*
Opportunities to specialize in different types of insurance*
Large pool of potential clients (many people want to own their own homes)*
Can work according to your own schedule*

Cons of a Real Estate Broker Career
Average expected job growth (11% from 2012-2022)*
Earnings are based on commission and can be irregular*
Licensure is mandatory*
Pre-licensing and continuing education are required*
Often work overtime, nights and weekends*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Overview

Job Description

Brokers help guide people through the complex issues involved with buying and selling property. They may work for either buyers or sellers of properties. When they work for sellers, they promote the property through advertisements and open houses. When they work for buyers, they help their clients find properties that meet their needs and budgetary constraints. Brokers may also handle rental situations.

In this career, you have the option of working in a variety of areas, including commercial, residential and industrial property sales. You might, for example, arrange for the sale of offices spaces, warehouses, apartment buildings and farms. Each of these property types may have different sale and transfer laws, which vary depending on the state.

Brokers are often self-employed workers. They usually own their own businesses and have franchise agreements with well-known real estate companies. Since you'll own your own real estate agency, you may also handle the business aspects of operating a company and oversee a staff of real estate sales agents. You can expect to work 40 hours or more per week in this career, and you may have to work evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of clients.

Job Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of real estate brokers would grow by 11% from 2012 to 2022. This is about as fast as the average growth for all occupations. Population increases and the recovering real estate market will spur job growth; however, growth could be stunted if economic decline occurs within that decade.

The BLS also reports real estate brokers earned a mean salary of about $80,420 as of May 2014. Their salaries, however, are based on commissions, which may be divided up between brokers, agents and real estate companies. Additionally, income varies according to economic conditions and the broker's selling skills.

Career Skills and Licensing Requirements

Real estate brokers need excellent customer service and sales skills. They also need a working knowledge of their local real estate market so they can research and present the best property options to their clients. Other important skills include the ability to persuade and negotiate with clients, work independently and present a pleasant, trustworthy demeanor.

A high school diploma is the minimum education required to enter this career; however, brokers are required to become licensed. License requirements are different in every state, but most states require the completion of pre-licensing courses and 1-3 years of experience as a real estate agent. You'll have to maintain your broker's license every 2-4 years by completing continuing education courses.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers tend to prefer applicants with brokerage experience in the types of real estate that their firms specialize in. Some, however, will accept applicants with no experience as long as they meet other requirements and obtain licensure after getting hired. Get a better idea of what employers look for by perusing this sample of April 2012 real estate broker job postings:

  • An Illinois commercial property consulting agency wanted a real estate broker willing to aggressively seek out clients. Applicants needed 1-2 years of experience.
  • A corporate real estate services provider in California advertised for a real estate broker to network, generate new business and carry out transactional activities. The employer preferred applicants with a bachelor's degree and 1-4 years of experience but will also accept unlicensed applicants who can obtain licensure within 45 days of employment.
  • A residential real estate firm in Illinois was looking for a bilingual real estate broker who was licensed or preparing to become licensed. Payment for this position was 100% commission based.
  • In New York City, a commercial brokerage firm advertised for a broker with 2-5 years of experience and a pre-existing book of business clients. Duties included acting as an intermediary and preparing virtual tours of properties.
  • A Texas residential real estate brokerage company wanted a broker with excellent customer service skills to help turn sales leads into closings. Requirements included current knowledge of local estate market, strong communication abilities and familiarity with mortgage procedures.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Develop Clientele

As a broker, one of your strongest assets is your clientele base. You should build a strong client list and keep in contact so that your clients remember you when they're ready to purchase real estate. You can build your client list through solid deals, advertising and word of mouth. You might also make cold calls to potential clients.

Gain Postsecondary Education

While a degree isn't required for this position, an undergraduate education can give you an edge in the field. Additionally, some states will allow you to skip some of the pre-licensing training requirements if you hold a college degree. Many schools offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in real estate, though degrees related to finance, law, business administration or economics might also apply to this career.

Other Careers to Consider

Real Estate Appraiser

If you enjoy the real estate market but aren't a strong salesperson, consider becoming a real estate appraiser. Real estate appraisers estimate the value of property for several reasons, including sale of the property, mortgages and taxation. Appraisers usually hold at least associate's degrees and must be certified by their state. According to the BLS, real estate appraisers made a mean salary of more than $54,000 as of May 2011.

Wholesale Sales Representative

If you like sales but not real estate, you may want to look into a career as a wholesale sales representative. These workers represent manufactures and act as an intermediary between wholesalers and the stores that sell the products directly to consumers. Most positions require at least a high school diploma, and certification is available but not required by law. As of 2011, wholesale sales representatives made a mean salary of nearly $64,000, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
      • Master of Science in Finance
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Finance
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Finance
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin - Accounting
      • Bachelor of Accounting
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Business Admin - Financial Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
    Master's
      • MBA - Financial Management
      • MBA - Marketing
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MBA - Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Finance
      • Master of Business Admin
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Finance
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
      • Associate of Science in Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Seton Hall University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Accelerated Master of Business Administration
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - Internet Marketing
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Master of Science in Finance

What is your highest level of education completed?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Finance
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Finance
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Business Admin - Financial Management
  • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
  • MBA - Financial Management
  • MBA - Marketing

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Master of Business Admin: Finance
  • BS - Business Administration - Finance
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Seton Hall University

  • Master of Business Administration - Finance
  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?