Skills Agents Say Are Most Important

October 19, 2017

The ability to network and be a people person may be your biggest ally toward building a strong real estate career. REALTORS® identified strong people skills as the most important trait to being successful in residential sales, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ newly released report, “Choosing a Career in Real Estate: A Perspective on Gender, Race, and Ethnicity.” Self-motivation and negotiation skills also ranked among the most important traits for residential sales.

Commercial real estate professionals ranked negotiation skills, problem-solving skills, and analytical reasoning as the top skills to be successful in their sector.

A go-getter attitude is also key—70 percent of REALTORS® self-initiated their careers in real estate based on an interest in the industry; nearly 20 percent were referred by a friend. 

Nearly seven in 10 REALTORS® surveyed by NAR said they found the flexible hours in a real estate career to be the most attractive aspect about being an agent, followed by an interest in the industry (64 percent), working with people (54 percent), entrepreneurial field (50 percent), and salary possibilities (49 percent).

Real estate is a second career for many agents. Eighty-two percent of respondents say they started their professional career doing something outside of real estate before transitioning to the industry.

“A career in real estate offers a work environment and diversity of opportunity that attracts all types of individuals, and the report’s findings are a reflection of that,” says NAR president William E. Brown.


The survey also included a breakdown of real estate pros’ incomes by gender and ethnicity. For example, the study showed that females—who make up 63 percent of NAR’s membership—had a median gross income from real estate of $46,700. Men had a median gross income of $54,600. Women tend to be younger in age and are more likely to work part-time, the study notes.

When breaking down salaries by ethnicity, Asian and Pacific Islander members in residential real estate earn the highest median gross annual income of all ethnic groups at $56,800. White and Caucasian members earn $54,200; Hispanic and Latino members earn $41,700; and Black and African American earn gross median averages of $23,000, according to the report’s findings. Black and African American members had the lowest median gross income and tend to sell the least expensive homes, according to the report. They also comprise the largest group of REALTORS® who are working fewer than 20 hours a week in the industry, and are also the largest group to receive less than half their overall income from residential real estate. 

Real estate pros who work in dual specialties, both residential and commercial, tend to have higher gross median incomes at $89,300.

Source: “2017 Choosing a Career in Real Estate: A Perspective on Gender, Race, and Ethnicity,” National Association of REALTORS® (2017)