Real Estate Marketing Academy

Life as a Real Estate Agent: Survey Results


By Colin Ryan


It’s often said that there’s no such thing as a typical day for a Realtor. While many people are drawn to the real estate profession for this reason, it can be difficult as a new agent to know what is expected of you, and what you should expect from the job.

With that in mind, we decided to dive deeper into the daily and weekly routines, experiences, habits, and priorities of real estate professionals. In Placester’s Life as a Real Estate Agent Survey, we polled working real estate agents about everything from time management and budgeting to technology and education. Here’s what we found out.

Breakdown of the agents we surveyed

The Sample

Over the course of the “Life as an Agent” survey, we polled a total of 137 real estate agents from around the country.

  • 65 percent of respondents have worked in real estate for four years or longer. A third (33 percent) have been at it for over ten years.
  • Only 14 percent said real estate was their first career. The rest came from a wide variety of fields and professions. At the top: computer and information technology services (18 percent), followed by the banking and financial industry (7 percent) and other commission-based sales work (7 percent).

Agents spend the most time each week on marketing and advertising

Daily and Weekly Routines

New agents expecting a short workweek are in for a rude awakening: Only 22 percent of real estate agents work fewer than 30 hours a week. Nearly half (49 percent) work 40 hours or more. What’s more, over half (53 percent) say they work the same hours or longer today than they did their first year. As for what they’re doing during those hours:

  • 58 percent of agents said they spent most of their work hours at the office, while 28 percent spent more time on location at showings and other functions.
  • Of all the activities and practices agents spend time on, marketing and advertising take the cake. 62 percent of agents said they devote at least an hour a day to marketing themselves and their listings.
  • Next came prospecting and lead generation. 60 percent of agents said they prospect on a daily basis, with more than a quarter (26 percent) devoting several hours a day to finding new leads.
  • In third place: showings, appointments, and travel. Half of agents said they spend at least an hour a day offsite or on the road.

it takes most agents at least six months to support themselves financially

Earning and Spending

Many new agents are hit hard by the financial realities of the real estate profession their first year. Here’s what our respondents had to say about money:

  • Only 22 percent of agents said they were able to support themselves financially in less than six months on the job. For many agents, it wasn’t much longer—a third said it took between 6 months and a year—but nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) said it took more than two years to truly make their living as an agent.
  • The most significant expense for agents is transportation (gas, car payments and maintenance, etc.). 55 percent said they spend more than $1000 a year on it, with 19 percent spending more than $5000.
  • Another big item? Professional dues and fees. 53 percent of respondents devote $1000 or more to licensing and credentialing expenses, NAR and local real estate association dues, MLS fees, etc.
  • Third on the budget sheet: online marketing, with 31 percent spending over $1000 a year.

Real estate agents' favorite methods for continuing their education and professional growth

Other Topics

A few more illuminating stats on technology, education, and other topics:

  • 53 percent of agents spend more than $500 a year on technology and software.
  • 22% of agents cited their smartphone as the most important technology in their business, followed by paperless and transaction management tools (16 percent), CRM systems (13 percent), email marketing (13 percent), and social media (13 percent).
  • When it comes to measuring job performance, Google Analytics is the most popular method, with 19 percent of agents using it to evaluate their marketing efforts.
  • 12 percent of agents said they don’t formally measure their performance in any way.
  • When it comes to education and professional development, agents voted blogs, books, and news as the most valuable resource. Other popular choices included mentoring and marketing and technology courses like HubSpot and Copyblogger.

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