How Much Commission Does a Realtor Make in NY?

Written By Sabastian Lawrence

The New York State (NYS) real estate market has shown no signs of slowing down. While the median home price in New York has decreased for the first time in ten years, there has been a 14.5% increase in demand and home sales.

With the current vibrant and dynamic market trends, then excellent time to be a real estate agent in New York. The high demand for diverse property types and the significant commission earnings make it a highly lucrative and exciting career choice in the Big Apple.  

Being an agent in New York opens the door to higher commissions. In fact, New York boasts a robust real estate market, with over 78,000 active salespersons and more than 52,000 active brokers.

What’s more, the earnings potential is impressive. According to Indeed.com, even agents with just a year or two of experience can average a salary of $100,000 in New York. All of this highlights the financial advantages of pursuing a real estate career in this bustling state.

But do real estate agents in New York earn this much? If they do, is the number the same for anyone who takes up a career as a real estate agent? What skills, education, or experience do you need to be a successful real estate agent?

Here’s a closer look at the real estate industry to help you decide if a career as an agent is right for you.


1. How are real estate agents paid? 

Agents receive a commission as a fee against the services offered during the purchase or sale of a property. As a result, very few real estate agents are salaried, and most work independently on a commission basis. 

This commission is usually pre-negotiated between the real estate agent and the seller. In most cases, it is a percentage of the final home sale price. In others, it can also be a flat fee. 

Source: 1

1.1 Commissions: Unstable income but high potential

Commissions can be an unstable source of income. But it also means that you can have unlimited income potential. Your income depends directly on your sales performance. 

As you are not paid hourly or daily, your income depends on the number of properties you sell, your commission rate, and the property’s sales price.

1.1.2 How much is the real estate commission, and how is it shared?

The commission on a real estate transaction is negotiable and ranges between 5-6% of the home sale price. 

If the selling price of a home is $400,000, a standard commission of 6% will give a commission of $24,000. But one agent won’t receive the entire commission.Instead, this commission is shared by the seller agent and the buyer agent. Each usually gets half the 6% real estate commission at closing, which amounts to $12,000.

1.1.3 Do Agents have to split the commission with their broker in NY

A real estate agent cannot work independently and cannot receive money directly from the buyer or seller. They have to work under a broker who guides and advises them. The broker will receive the commission, take a pre-decided portion, and give the remaining to the agent. If the broker and agent agree on a 50/50 commission split, the agent will get 1.5% or $6,000 in the above example. This is true for both the buyer as well as the seller agent.

The image below shows the commission split process when the percentage split is 60/40 in the agent’s favor, assuming a home price of $350,000 and a 6% commission.


2. How much do agents make in New York State per annum?

The average annual salary of a real estate agent in New York is around $102,200. 

New York is one of the five best-paying states nationwide regarding real estate agent salaries.

Below are the state-wise average annual salaries of real estate agents. You can see how NY shines regarding payment for real estate agents. 

StateAnnual Salary
Florida$56,460
Texas$59,250
California$76,750
Virginia$69,190
Colorado$81,210
South Carolina$53,960
Arizona$50,370
New York$102,200
District of Columbia$77,710
Massachusetts$94,170
Connecticut$$78,540
Delaware$53,490

2.1 Salaries are based on seniority

It’s true. You will likely earn more money if you have more real estate experience.

Knowledge, expertise, and building a vast social network for years help realtors garner more business. Of course, other factors apart from longevity influence an agent’s pay. It includes the number of hours worked a week, location, etc. However, it’s undeniable that agents who stay longer in the business earn more money.

Real estate agent’s earnings based on their seniority:

SeniorityAnnual Salary
Top-level real estate agent$326,267
Senior level real estate agent$200,283
Mid-level real estate agent$116,460
Junior-level real estate agent$67,719
Starting-level real estate agent$41,570

2.2  Income also depends on how many deals an agent does in a year

To earn around $72,000 a year on a  full-time basis, an agent will need to sell about 12 homes (assuming an average commission of $6,000 per deal). 

Annual commission = Number of deals X Commission per deal = 12 X $6,000 = $72,000

However, if the agent is involved in selling an expensive home that costs over $750,000, he would easily earn $11,000 per home sold. This means he would make $88,000 by selling just eight homes a year.

Annual commission = Number of deals X Commission per deal = 8 X $11,000 = $88,000

2.3 Commercial Vs. Residential deals

Agents dealing in commercial property make more money than those dealing in homes. For example, an average commercial real estate agent makes $198,103 in New York, whereas a residential real estate agent earns about $116,460 yearly. 


5. How much do real estate agents make in NYS per sale?

How much a real estate agent makes on a deal will depend on various factors—the home price, location, local rules & regulations, whether it is a low-priced or a premium property, whether it is residential or commercial, etc.

If the property is in a high-demand, high-value market, the returns will be higher for the agent. On the other hand, the potential returns may be low if the property is in a dull market. Other factors like market conditions in your area, whether you reside in a metropolitan, suburban, or rural location, and the home’s proximity to amenities and schools all contribute to the home’s price.

For example, the average sales price of a home in New York is $400,158, and the average commission in the state is 5.10%. So the total real estate commission works out to,

Home price X Commission percentage = $400,158 X 5.10% = $20,408

Total Commission = $20,408

In case the two agents and their brokers all split the commission equally, each would receive one-fourth of the commission, which amounts to,

Total commission ➗ 4 = $20,408 ➗ 4= $5,102

The more valuable the home, the more money a real estate agent makes per sale. An agent who pitches for $700,000 lakefront homes in his area may sell only a few houses, but his income would be higher than an agent who sells the same number of $300,000 homes.

The table below shows how much an agent can make per sale in different locations in New York, assuming an equal split between agents and brokers. 

New York CountyNo. of Sales in 2021Median Home Sales PriceAverage real estate commission rate (5.10%)Agent’s income per sale 
Nassau1,973$620,000$31,620 $7,905 
Tomkins999$288,000$14,688 $3,672 
Westchester9,001$750,000$38,250 $9,563 
Saratoga3,524$331,196$16,891 $4,223 
Albany3,682$242,700$12,378 $3,094 
Monroe9,316$185,000$9,435 $2,359 
Erie9,468$215,000$10,965 $2,741 
Onondaga5,134$174,900$8,920 $2,230 
Ontario1,582$225,000$11,475 $2,869 
Dutchess3,650$375,000$19,125 $4,781 



5. The Highest paying cities in New York

There are high-paying cities for real estate agents across New York state.

Even with recent disruptions and a high unemployment rate, the real estate industry continues to stand its ground. 

Here are the top 10 high-paying cities for real estate agents in New York:

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly Salary
Bronx$85,999$7,167
Syracuse$85,799$7,150
Yonkers$83,901$6,992
Manhattan$83,899$6,992
New York City$83,758$6,980
Binghamton$82,745$6,895
Staten Island$82,534$6,878
Poughkeepsie$80,544$6,712
Old Westbury$79,911$6,659
Queens$78,956$1,518

6. How much money does a first-year real estate agent make in New York?

As of June 2022, the average annual salary for a first-year real estate agent is around $93,559 per year, but this rate may vary. 

Most agents start by earning a significantly lower salary of $65,531; however, good performers can earn up to $121,779, with top performers making up to $149,630 annually.


7. What taxes do you pay as a New York real estate agent? 

Real estate agents are usually independent contractors; hence no taxes are withheld from their pay by their brokers. 

Their taxes are not even listed on any employment tax returns with the IRS. But the agents are required to pay estimated taxes to the IRS, which are paid four times a year to cover income and self-employment taxes. According to the IRS website, the self-employed tax rate is around 15.3%, with 12.4% of gross income going towards social security and 2.9% going towards Medicare. 

Real estate agents in New York also pay state income tax based on their annual earnings. Here are the tax brackets for agents:

Tax BracketTax
$0 – $8,4504.00%
$8,450 – $11,6504.50%
$11,650 – $13,8505.25%
$13,850 – $21,3005.90%
$21,300 – $80,1506.45%
$80,150 – $214,0006.65%
$214,000 – $1,070,3506.85%
$1,070,350+8.82%

Residents of New York City may end up paying additional income tax compared to other cities in the state. This is because these cities have their local income tax and the existing state tax. That’s why New York City’s income tax rates are pegged at 3.078%, 3.762%, 3.819%, and 3.876%. These rates vary since New York’s income tax is a progressive tax schedule, meaning higher-income earners pay high taxes. Also, New York taxes you when you live here, while Yonker taxes you when you live or work in the city.


8. How much money do part-time real estate agents make in new York?

Even part-time real estate agents earn decent money, given that they work at least 20 hours a week. Agents who work fewer than 20 hours a week earn around $24,566 a year, while agents who work 20 to 40 hours per week earn about $46,458 on average.  


9. In New York City, agents need to stick to REBNY Rules

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the leading real estate trade association, provides membership to real estate firms in New York City (NYC). REBNY officially withdrew from the national-wide authority National Association of Realtors (NAR) in 1994 after years of wrangling over membership costs vs. the actual benefits associated with NAR. As a result, the term Realtors is used to describe members of NAR only.

REBNY offers specific benefits to associated real estate firms while at the same time requiring them to take on certain responsibilities. 

Here are some of the REBNY rules.

9.1 Buyer agent to get half the commission

One of them is if REBNY arranges the agreement between two agents, then it stipulates that the seller firm compulsorily has to offer at least half of the real estate commission to the buyer agent. 

9.2 For FSBO 

Some sellers take the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) route and list the home on their own without a listing agent. In this situation, REBNY says that the buyer agent should be paid between 2-3% of the home price.


10. Grow your income as a New Agent by doing this 

While being a real estate agent is ranked as one of the best jobs, first-year agents may find it challenging to make enough money to support themselves. Here are a few tips for new agents on how to boost your salary during the first crucial years while learning the business and building your brand.

10.1 Spread the word 

Tell everyone, including your neighbors, associates, friends, and social contacts, that you are a professional agent now and share your achievements, especially your first few transactions with them. 

10.2 Sell expensive homes 

You can sell expensive homes, as the average commission earned from these transactions is much higher. For example, if you sell a house for $200,000 at a 5% commission, you will earn $2,500, while you can earn nearly $4,375 if you sell a $350,000 property.  

10.3 Provide customer service 

Know more about your customers’ concerns and dreams so that you can help them with the best offers available. This itself can help spread the word and get you more customers. 

10.4 Unique offer 

Offer something unique to your buyers to stand out from other real estate agents. For example, share a blog with topics to show your expertise in the field. 

10.5 Attend different events

Meet people at various events like the farmer’s market, festivals, home and garden shows, and craft fairs. Find out more about them in your local area and connect with people who need an agent. 

10.6 Start with a broker 

Your managing broker can help you enter the real estate industry by introducing you to their network and helping you set up your office space. The broker can give you support and marketing tools to grow your income. 

10.7 Join the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 

If you are based in NYC, REBNY members in New York City are not called Realtors unless they are members of the NAR by choice. So join NAR to unlock many benefits like marketing tools, industry discounts, and a network of 1.4 million members to increase your sales.  

10.8 Make Real Estate Your Plan B

You can pay your bills by working on a main job while increasing your real estate sales by working as a part-time real estate agent. Once you have good field exposure and have built a great network of connections, you can opt for a full-time position. 


11. How long does selling a home in New York take?

The average time to sell a home in New York is 103 days. 

Let us break it down for you: 

It takes 68 days to get an offer and 35 days to close the deal. These are the annual averages, and the actual time taken for a sale may vary depending on the locality and time of the year.

Key factors that impact New York home sale timelines include local market conditions such as buyer demand, job market, time of the year, type of property, and its condition. It also depends on your listing strategies, such as pricing, marketing, networking, buyer’s financial condition, or how long it takes a buyer to secure loan approval.

                                                          Average Time to SellAverage Price
National81 days$375,000
New York103 days$522,122

12. Accreditation and license

One of the reasons people try their hands at the real estate business is that it does not require a college degree. Anyone can become a real estate agent if willing to work hard. 

To qualify for a real estate agent licensure, an applicant must complete 75 hours of a salesperson-qualifying education course approved by the Secretary of State. They also need to clear the examination administered by the Department of State. The 75-hour period is valid for eight years post the course completion date and should be used to obtain a license; else, it will expire, and the exam needs to be retaken. Completing a school-administered proctored examination is also required in addition to the qualifying examination administered by the Department of State. Once a course has been applied towards the license, it will not expire and can be upgraded later.

The requirements could vary depending on the state, so make sure to find out the requirements in your state. For example, some states require you to join a broker before you take the exam, whereas others allow you to work with a broker after the exam.


13. FAQs

13.1 Can I get healthcare and paid time off as a real estate agent?

Most real estate agents are self-employed and are not considered an employee of a brokerage. As a result, only a handful of brokerages provide health benefits. It is also important to note that firms that offer health benefits might either make full payment for the insurance premium or ask you to contribute a portion of the amount. Typically, the premium could be deducted from your commission. If you need to add in a part of the amount, you should think twice about whether you should get separate coverage on your own or go with the company’s benefits. 

According to NAR, only 4% of real estate firms offer health insurance, while 30% of real estate agents have coverage through their spouse’s employer. Also, 45% pay from their pocket for insurance, and 21% do not enroll in health benefit plans. In addition, most brokerage firms do not offer paid time offs and sick days. Hence if real estate agents need to take any leaves, they must take them without pay.

13.2 How many hours per week does a realtor have to work?

Only 22 percent of real estate agents work fewer than 30 hours a week, while nearly half (49%) of the agents work 40 hours or more, and over 53% work the same hours or longer than they did in their first year.

Many agents prefer to work 40 hours a week and, at times, are asked to work beyond 9-to-5. This is because many client meetings take place on weekday evenings or weekends. Typically, the working hours for real estate agents tend to be 8:30/9:00 AM to 6:30/7:00 PM, Monday to Friday.

According to NAR, agents worked 36 hours per week in 2019 and made a median gross income of about $49,700. These figures also account for real estate agents who pursue part-time jobs.

Expensive homes can take longer to close, but the long hours make up for the cost as the ticket size is large.

With home prices constantly rising, it is a good time to be an agent in the real estate market. The best thing about this career is that the upside potential to your earnings is huge. You need to concentrate on high-value properties and close deals quickly to increase your income. Being an agent also gives you a flexible schedule, and you are your boss.

It is a networking business, so it will be a huge advantage if you enjoy working with others. You will need to be patient, learn how to deal with rejection (for prospecting perfect strangers), and be competitive be a problem solver. If you feel you are all this, go ahead and take the plunge. This could be a life-changing career for you.

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