real estate agent considerations

20 Pros and Cons of Being a Real Estate Agent

Being a real estate agent has its highs and lows. On the upside, there’s no limit to how much you can earn since pay largely comes from commissions on sales, often bringing in significant income. Plus, you get the freedom to set your own schedule, making it easier to juggle personal commitments. Helping clients find their dream homes can be deeply satisfying and strengthen trust. However, income can be unpredictable, with some months better than others, and the job brings a fair amount of stress, especially during negotiations. Want to uncover more about the ups and downs? Keep going!


  • Median annual wage for real estate agents was $49,980 in May 2022 (BLS). The lowest 10% earned less than $29,130, and the highest 10% earned more than $113,320.
  • Income often depends on economic conditions, individual motivation, and property available. Income usually increases with experience.
  • Most agents work full time, often irregular hours including evenings and weekends to accommodate clients. Many are able to set their own schedules.
  • Agents earn most income from commissions on sales, which vary based on property type and value. Commissions are often split between agents, brokers, and firms.
  • Employment of agents is projected to grow 3% from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as average for all occupations (BLS).
  • About 51,600 job openings are projected on average each year over the decade, many due to the need to replace retiring workers.
  • Demand for agents should continue as people look for new homes, relocate, or purchase property for a business. But tighter credit and rising prices may limit growth.
  • Real estate market is sensitive to economic fluctuations. In times of growth, employment rises to meet demand. In downturns, work often declines.
  • Most important skills include patience, persistence, organization, and ability to operate outside one’s comfort zone. Finding new clients is an ongoing challenge.
Pros of Being a Real Estate AgentCons of Being a Real Estate Agent
Potential for High EarningsIncome Instability
Flexibility in ScheduleIrregular Working Hours
Job Growth OpportunitiesEconomic Sensitivity
Diverse Work EnvironmentsChallenges in Client Acquisition
Continuous Demand for ServicesLicensing and Education Requirements
Opportunity for Self-EmploymentTightening Credit and Rising Prices
Age DiversityHigh Competition
Consistent Job OpeningsInitial Costs
Varied Income BracketsDependence on Economic Health
Continuous Learning and GrowthStress and Pressure

Pros of Being a Real Estate Agent

  1. Potential for High Earnings: Real estate agents have the potential to earn a significant income, especially if they are among the top 10% who earned more than $113,320 in May 2022. The commission-based nature of the job means that those who are dedicated and successful in their sales can see substantial financial rewards. For instance, selling high-value properties or handling multiple transactions can lead to higher commissions.
  2. Flexibility in Schedule: Most real estate agents have the advantage of setting their own schedules. This flexibility allows them to work during times that are most convenient for them, accommodating client needs, and balancing personal commitments. For example, an agent might schedule property showings during the day but reserve evenings for paperwork and client meetings.
  3. Job Growth Opportunities: The employment of real estate agents is projected to grow 3% from 2022 to 2032. This growth rate, while on par with the average for all occupations, indicates steady opportunities in the field. With about 51,600 job openings projected annually over the decade, there’s a consistent demand for new agents, especially to replace those retiring.
  4. Diverse Work Environments: In 2021, real estate agents had varied employment avenues. While 58% were self-employed, others worked in real estate and rental leasing, construction, or other industries. This diversity offers agents a chance to explore different facets of the industry, from residential sales to commercial leasing or property management.
  5. Continuous Demand for Services: Despite economic fluctuations, there will always be a need for real estate agents. People continuously look for new homes, relocate, or purchase property for businesses. For instance, a family might need to upgrade to a larger home as it grows, or a business might need to relocate to a more strategic location, ensuring agents always have potential clients.
  6. Opportunity for Self-Employment: A significant percentage of real estate agents, 58% in 2021, were self-employed. This offers agents the autonomy to run their own business, make independent decisions, and potentially reap greater financial rewards. For instance, a self-employed agent can choose which properties to list and how to market their services.
  7. Age Diversity: The median age of real estate agents in 2021 was 44.5 years old. This suggests that the profession is open to individuals across various age groups, whether they’re looking for a career change later in life or starting out fresh after school. A 30-year-old might join the industry bringing innovative marketing techniques, while a 50-year-old might bring a wealth of experience and a vast network.
  8. Consistent Job Openings: About 51,600 job openings are projected on average each year over the decade. This consistent demand indicates that there’s always an opportunity for new agents to enter the market, especially with the need to replace retiring workers. For example, an agent retiring from the industry might refer their existing clients to a newer agent, providing a head start.
  9. Varied Income Brackets: The income range for real estate agents is broad, with the 75th percentile earning $75,940 in May 2022. This showcases the potential for growth and higher earnings as agents gain experience and build their client base. An agent in their first year might be in the lower percentile but can aim for the higher brackets with dedication and hard work.
  10. Continuous Learning and Growth: The real estate industry is dynamic, and agents often learn on the job. Every transaction offers a new experience, and agents continuously hone their negotiation, marketing, and interpersonal skills. For instance, dealing with a challenging property sale can provide invaluable lessons for future transactions.
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Cons of Being a Real Estate Agent

  1. Income Instability: While there’s potential for high earnings, income for real estate agents can be unpredictable. It often depends on economic conditions, individual motivation, and available property. For example, an agent might face financial challenges if they go through a prolonged period without successful sales, especially since most of their income comes from commissions.
  2. Irregular Working Hours: Even though agents can set their own schedules, they often work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate clients. This can lead to long days and a work-life balance that’s challenging to maintain. For instance, an agent might have to host an open house over the weekend or meet with clients after traditional working hours.
  3. Economic Sensitivity: The real estate market is notably sensitive to economic fluctuations. During economic growth, employment opportunities rise, but during downturns, work often declines. An economic recession, for example, might lead to fewer people buying homes, directly impacting an agent’s potential sales.
  4. Challenges in Client Acquisition: One of the most significant challenges for real estate agents is finding new clients. Essential skills like patience, persistence, and the ability to operate outside one’s comfort zone are crucial. For a new agent, building a client base might require extensive networking, marketing, and time before seeing consistent sales.
  5. Licensing and Education Requirements: All states require real estate agents to have a license, which involves 60-90 hours of coursework, exams, and working under a broker. This process can be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, staying updated with changing laws and market trends might require continuous education and training.
  6. Tightening Credit and Rising Prices: Tighter credit conditions and rising property prices can limit the growth of the real estate market. This can make it challenging for agents to close deals, especially with first-time buyers who might struggle with loan approvals or high property prices.
  7. High Competition: With 438,900 real estate agent jobs in 2021 and a projected growth of 5% from 2021-2031, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive. New agents, in particular, might find it challenging to establish themselves in a market with seasoned professionals who have built reputations and client bases over the years.
  8. Initial Costs: Starting as a real estate agent can come with significant initial costs. These might include licensing fees, coursework expenses, marketing materials, and joining local real estate boards. For example, a new agent might need to invest in professional photos, business cards, and online advertising to attract their first clients.
  9. Dependence on Economic Health: The demand for real estate agents is closely tied to the health of the economy. In economic downturns, fewer people might be looking to buy or sell properties, leading to reduced opportunities for agents. An economic crisis, like the one in 2008, can lead to a significant slowdown in the real estate market.
  10. Stress and Pressure: The pressure to close deals, meet client expectations, and continuously find new clients can be stressful. Real estate transactions are significant financial decisions for most clients, and agents often bear the brunt of this responsibility. For instance, an agent might face stress from clients who have high expectations for the sale price of their property or are anxious about finding their dream home within a tight budget.
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Income Potential

exploring income opportunities online

The income potential for real estate agents is substantial, primarily driven by commission-based earnings that range from 2.5% to 3% of the property sale price. This means that for every successful sale, an agent could earn between $25,000 to $30,000, depending on the property’s value.

Imagine selling multiple properties in a month; the potential earnings can quickly add up, showcasing a high earning potential in this career.

Income in real estate is not capped, offering an unlimited income opportunity. How much you can make largely depends on your effort, skills, and market conditions. Strong market conditions can lead to more sales and higher commissions, whereas a sluggish market might require more effort to achieve the same results.

Understanding and adapting to these market conditions is vital for maximizing potential earnings. Building a strong client base is essential for sustained income growth. Successful real estate agents often invest time in networking and market research, which helps them understand client needs and market trends better.

This dedication and knowledge can lead to a lucrative career with high potential earnings. Ultimately, the harder you work, the more you stand to earn, making this profession highly rewarding for those willing to put in the effort.

Flexible Schedule

One of the appealing aspects of a career in real estate is the flexibility it offers in scheduling. Real estate agents often enjoy a flexible schedule, which can lead to a better work-life balance. Unlike traditional 9-to-5 jobs, there are no fixed clock-in and clock-out times, providing agents with a high degree of autonomy. This means they can often tailor their work hours to fit their personal commitments, making it easier to juggle work and family life.

However, this flexibility comes with its own set of challenges. To meet client needs, many real estate agents find themselves working irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. This can make it hard to stick to a regular routine. Balancing work and personal life can be challenging, especially when client demands are high. Effective time management becomes essential in this scenario, allowing agents to prioritize tasks and manage their schedules efficiently.

The freedom to set one’s own hours is a significant perk, but it requires discipline and planning. Real estate agents must be adept at managing their time to make sure that they fulfill both their professional responsibilities and personal commitments.

Work-Life Balance

maintaining work life harmony

Balancing work and personal life is a significant perk of being a real estate agent due to the flexible working hours.

However, this flexibility can sometimes be overshadowed by unpredictable time commitments, such as last-minute client meetings or property showings.

This duality offers both a heightened sense of autonomy and occasional challenges in maintaining a consistent schedule.

Flexible Working Hours

How do real estate professionals achieve a work-life balance with flexible working hours?

Real estate professionals often enjoy flexible schedules, which can greatly enhance their work-life balance. Without the constraints of fixed clock-in and clock-out times, agents have the freedom to adjust their hours to suit their personal needs. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for those who value spending time with family or pursuing personal interests.

However, balancing this flexibility can be challenging due to the irregular working hours typical in real estate. Client meetings frequently occur during evenings and weekends, demanding effective time management to juggle professional and personal commitments.

While flexible hours provide the opportunity to manage one’s schedule, they also come with the risk of overworking. Many agents find themselves adjusting hours continuously to meet client demands, which can blur the lines between work and personal time.

To maintain a healthy work-life balance, real estate professionals must practice effective time management. Setting boundaries and prioritizing tasks can help prevent overworking while still accommodating client meetings. With careful planning and discipline, agents can enjoy the benefits of flexible schedules without sacrificing their personal lives.

Unpredictable Time Commitments

The unpredictable time commitments inherent in real estate careers can have a profound impact on an agent’s ability to maintain a stable work-life balance. Real estate agents work irregular hours, often including evenings and weekends, making it hard to carve out personal time. This unpredictable scheduling can be quite challenging, as balancing client needs with family and leisure activities becomes a constant juggling act.

Long hours and last-minute showings can disrupt personal plans, leaving agents scrambling to keep up. Imagine planning a family dinner, only to get a call about a sudden property viewing. Such scenarios are all too common, contributing to a sense of instability. Agents often face time management challenges, trying to fit client appointments, paperwork, and marketing efforts into an already packed day.

Maintaining a consistent routine can feel like an elusive goal. The lack of regular hours can lead to potential burnout and exhaustion, making it tough to sustain energy and enthusiasm. A solid work-life balance requires careful planning and strong boundaries, which can be difficult to establish in a career characterized by its unpredictable nature.

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Despite these challenges, many agents find the rewards of helping clients and closing deals worth the effort.

Financial Uncertainty

navigating financial instability ahead

Due to their commission-based income, real estate agents often face significant financial uncertainty with no guaranteed paycheck. This lack of a steady income can lead to frequent income fluctuations, posing challenges in budgeting and financial planning.

For instance, a successful month with several closed deals might be followed by a period of slow activity, causing a dip in earnings. This unpredictable nature of the business makes it vital for real estate agents to develop effective savings planning strategies to guarantee financial stability.

Moreover, during economic downturns, the real estate market can stagnate, leading to even fewer opportunities for income. This can create stress and anxiety as agents work to maintain their financial obligations.

To combat these pressures, it’s essential for agents to have a financial cushion, such as an emergency fund, to help navigate through lean periods.

Helping Clients

assisting with client needs

Guiding clients through the complexities of real estate transactions is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a real estate agent. Whether they are assisting someone in buying their dream home or helping a seller navigate the market, real estate agents play an essential role. The process of buying or selling property can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance, it becomes a memorable and rewarding experience.

For agents, the joy of helping clients achieve their real estate goals is unparalleled. Providing client support throughout the journey, from property investments to securing the perfect home, creates lasting relationships and a sense of accomplishment.

  • Personal Satisfaction: Assisting clients in making significant life decisions offers a deep sense of fulfillment.
  • Building Relationships: Agents often form strong bonds with their clients, leading to lasting professional relationships.
  • Variety in Work: Each client and property is unique, ensuring that no two days are the same.
  • Direct Impact: Agents have a direct impact on clients’ lives by helping them find their dream homes or make wise investments.
  • Client Trust: Successfully guiding clients through the buying or selling process builds trust and reputation.

In this way, real estate agents find meaning and purpose in their work by making a tangible difference in their clients’ lives.

Job Stress

workplace stress management techniques

Maneuvering through the high-stakes world of real estate can lead to significant job stress for agents. Real estate transactions often involve substantial financial decisions, not just for buyers but for sellers too. These high stakes can create stress and uncertainty for all parties involved, especially when clients face challenging moments such as fluctuating market conditions or unexpected financial hurdles.

Agents find themselves juggling these stressful situations while trying to provide rewarding experiences for their clients. It’s a delicate balance. On one hand, there’s the thrill of closing a deal and seeing the joy on a client’s face when they get the keys to their new home. On the other hand, the pressure to guarantee everything goes smoothly can be intense.

Stress peaks during the negotiation phases, where agents must mediate between differing client expectations and market realities. However, having a strong real estate network can be a lifesaver. This network provides support, advice, and resources, helping agents navigate through trying times and alleviating some of the pressures.

In essence, while the job can be immensely rewarding, the stress tied to real estate transactions and financial decisions is an inescapable part of being a real estate agent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Downside of Being a Real Estate Agent?

The downside of being a real estate agent includes irregular working hours, commission-only income, minimal supervision leading to potential mistakes, risk of inactivity, and the necessity for strong discipline and business planning skills to maintain productivity.

What Do Realtors Struggle With the Most?

Realtors most commonly struggle with income unpredictability, demanding schedules, and market fluctuations. Additionally, managing high-stress client interactions and overcoming initial competition to establish a client base are significant challenges faced in the industry.

Is Real Estate Actually a Good Career?

Real estate can be a rewarding career, offering income potential, flexibility, and personal fulfillment. However, the inherent challenges, such as inconsistent income and the need for a robust network, require careful consideration before pursuing this path.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Being on a Real Estate Team?

Joining a real estate team offers mentorship, shared resources, and camaraderie, enhancing productivity. However, it may involve splitting commissions and potential conflicts over responsibilities, impacting individual autonomy and earnings.


Being a real estate agent comes with significant pros and cons. The potential for high income and a flexible schedule are attractive, offering a chance for a balanced life.

However, the financial uncertainty and job stress can be challenging. Helping clients find their dream homes can be deeply rewarding, despite the occasional difficulties.

Ultimately, entering the real estate field requires weighing these factors carefully to determine if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for one’s personal situation.


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