Ken's Naperville Real Estate Blog : REALTORS, DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BE PAID A SALARY??


I just read Jason Crouch's post questioning the Realtor business model.

In it, he asked why agents work on commission, versus a more consistent hourly or salary model.  I was surprised by all the supportive comments...

I like the way Realtors are paid.

Don't you?

We work on commission.  We are only paid at the closing table, after seeing our client through the whole process.

Yes the real estate sales cycle is longer than most other sales cycles.  We have to work with prospects for several months before we are "paid".

That is OK.  It just means we have to be good at what we do.  We need to have consistent customer service.  We need to build strong long term relationships.

Our checks are surpisingly large, yet hard to come by...

Our income has no limitation, but we can also go hungry...

I love the upside of owning my own business.  With that, comes risk.

We have to fight hard for business...

I wouldn't want it any other way.


A Realtor you can trust.

Comment balloon 21 commentsKen Tracy • March 10 2009 12:05PM


Ken, I'm with you.

Posted by Jo Olson, HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt - Stevens County (HOMEFRONT Realty) over 9 years ago

Effort, using the noodle and good old fashion hard work and the sky's the limit. There are ups and downs so save money for rainy days. Commissions are the carrot that make it a earn what you are worth and it is up to you to knock on doors, go crazy promoting property and your area.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 9 years ago

Ken, I agree with you totally on this one. I love what I do also, and the way I get compensated for it, I only get paid if I fully do my job till the end.

Posted by David Width Jr. over 9 years ago

I am not aware of any entity that will pay a business owner to open a business, operate it, fund it, manage it and then pay us a salary. 

If a broker is going to be paying us a salary, we will not be in business.  We will be employees and our income will be limited. 

No thanks.  The contingent fee is the best way to manage your business and make a high income.  No company, absolutely no company is going to pay me what I make.  No one.


Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Hi Lenn, David, Andrew, and Jo.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

The funny thing, I have yet to make it over the hump and really make the big bucks...

But it is the carrot that spurs me on!:)

Thanks again all.


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 9 years ago

You said it all...and expressed it well.    I agree.

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) over 9 years ago

Hi Sea to Sky.  Thanks for stopping by.

I hope life treats you well.


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 9 years ago

I think if you work hard, then you get back what you put in. Full commission works great for me :-)

Posted by Lara O'Keefe (North Texas Home Finders) over 9 years ago

Hi Lara.  Thanks for reading.

Rock on.

I hope all is well,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 9 years ago

You are so right Ken.  I think most of us at times wonder what we are doing in this business but the earning potential is huge.  If I had to go back to a 9 to 5 job and divided our commissions up into hourly wages, where would we find a job for the same pay?  And work our own hours? And report to ourselves???

Posted by Jenny Kotulak, Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate (RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago


I totally agree! That method of compensation would actually limit the income of most agents.

I was a math teacher for 10 years, so I was a salaried employee. No matter how many hours I worked, I could never make any more than the amount stated in my salary schedule. That was discouraging.


Posted by Dawn Isenhower (Sibcy Cline Realtors) over 9 years ago

Hi Jenn and Dawn.  Thanks for reading.

I was surprised how many were loving on Jason's post...

Oh well.

Rock on ladies!


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 9 years ago

I don't know what type of copmpensation model I would choose at the moment... these days a little bit less risk and a little bit more reward would be nice.

Posted by Steve Shatsky over 9 years ago

Ken - The fact that we're on commission and our own bosses are probably the amin reasons we all are in this crazy business.  Yup our paychecks can be sizeable, but going for long stretches without one can be part of the game, too.

Posted by Marlene Bridges, Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate (Village Real Estate Services, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Ken I am with you on this one.  We earn what we earn.  The only real way to make a lot of money is to own your own business or get paid on commission.

Posted by John Walters, Licensed in Louisiana (Frank Rubi Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Ken, I read Jasons post, I must have misunderstood what he was saying.

I thought he said to take an upfront fee, which would be deducted at closing from the commission.

Then if they walked away, you are paid for the time etc...

I agree with Lenn no company could pay me what I am worth.

Let me know if I read Jason's post wrong.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 9 years ago

Ken ~ I agree with you and your commenter's! I like working for myself and my clients. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) over 9 years ago

Ken-I really agree, thanks for a great post.

Posted by Joseph D. Federico, Eastern Massachusetts Real Estate (Donahue Real Estate Co.) over 9 years ago

I have heard of companies in the past that have tried this model, and all went belly up. the fact of the matter is that no matter how hard we try to pre-qualify all our prospects, we still pump alot of dry wells. If there was such a model it has proven so far that it would have to charge alot more than 6%, and almost always have an upfront fee, just to keep the business afloat.

The most important part of the job that most consumers don't think about is how hard we have to work to continuosly have appointments on our schedule with people that want to buy or sell. The more we have the better we will do.

It's a tough job, but everyday I remind myself how happy and lucky I am to have a job I love.

Posted by Andrew Baumbach, Greater Milwaukee Real Estate (Homestead Realty Inc.) over 9 years ago

Hi Andrew, Joseph, Terrie, Missy, John, Marlene, and Steve.  Thanks for reading.

Missy, an upfront fee?  First step towards salary and hourly.  I think he suggested a few options.

Things are tough for many right now.

Not just in our business.

Natural part of the cycle.

Let's keep the business model as it stands.

Thanks everyone,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 9 years ago

Hi Ken, People seem to feel strongly either way on this issue.  It will be interesting to see if things change or stay the same. 

Posted by Shirley Parks, Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate (Sands Realty 210-414-0966) over 9 years ago

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