Making money in real estate may seem like a slam dunk—put out a yard sign with your phone number on it and watch the commissions roll in. On the other side of the sale, agents take a cut of the home selling profits. For the uninitiated, a real estate commission looks like a large sum of cash for sticking out a sign, hosting an open house, and signing a few papers. It looks simple, but longtime agents know there’s much more to selling homes and earning a California real estate commission than that. Here are some of the things real estate agents do to earn their pay.
An agent makes money in two ways—helping people sell their own homes or assisting home buyers in finding new digs. A large part of an agent’s job is finding those people. That means finding leads by calling the homeowners of expired listings, calling people selling homes for sale by owner, beating the streets and leaving business cards, mailing information to potential buyers and sellers, and making connections whenever, wherever, and however possible. Prospecting doesn’t have to be expensive, but it requires time or money, and ideally, a bit of both.
In addition to making money when a home sell they worked on closes, agents can also make money by referring potential clients to other agents. Most agents are only licensed to sell real estate in one or two states, so when a home seller needs to buy a home in another area, an agent can collect a small referral fee from an agent in another city or state.
While less lucrative than assisting in the sale or purchase of a home, real estate agents who are just getting a start in the business, can assist banks and appraisers by offering pricing opinions on homes. These opinions take about an hour and pay between $75 and $125. They aren’t appraisals, but these broker price opinions can give a bank or investor an idea of the value of a property for a much lower cost than ordering an appraisal.
Real estate agents make the bulk of their money helping home buyers and sellers and earning a California real estate commission on each sale. However, there are other ways agents can make a few dollars.
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