Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 27, 2017

NAR explores top reasons for choosing a career in real estate

Most Realtors self-initiated their career in real estate and identify strong people skills as the most important trait to be a successful agent, according to the National Association of Realtors’ new research report, “Choosing a Career in Real Estate: A Perspective on Gender, Race and Ethnicity.”

The “Choosing a Career in Real Estate” report was developed to discover how and why Realtors (members of the NAR) chose real estate as a career and to examine gender, race and ethnicity in real estate.

“A career in real estate offers a work environment and diversity of opportunity that attracts all types of individuals, and the report’s findings reflect that,” says NAR president William Brown. “That being said, NAR remains committed to ensuring that its membership continues to reflect America’s growing diversity.”

Choosing a career in real estate

According to the report, nearly 70 percent of Realtors self-initiated their career in real estate based on interest in the industry, and almost 20 percent were referred by a friend.

Sixty-nine percent of males self-initiated their career compared to 65 percent of females, and 20 percent of women were referred by a friend, compared to 18 percent of men.

Seventy-five percent of African-American members self-initiated their career in real estate – more than any other ethnic group – while 27 percent of Asian members had their career in real estate referred by a friend, also more than any other group.

Attractive aspects of real estate

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

The report also surveyed Realtors about important skills to possess to be successful in real estate. People skills (86 percent), self-motivation (84 percent) and negotiation skills (73 percent) ranked as the most important skills in residential real estate, while negotiation skills (69 percent), problem solving skills (63 percent) and analytical reasoning (62 percent) were viewed as the top skills for commercial real estate professionals.

The report also surveyed members on whether they began their career in real estate or if they transitioned into their current position from another industry, and most Realtors (82 percent) started their professional career doing something outside of real estate. Real estate is more often the second career for females (51 percent) and the third career for males (36 percent).

Sixty-one percent of African-American members stated that real estate is more often a second career, more than any other ethnic group. Male members were more likely to have a previous career in management or sales, and in contrast, female members were more likely to have a previous career in management, office support and education.


Females make up 63 percent of NAR’s membership and those who work exclusively in residential real estate have a median gross income of $46,700, compared to $54,600 for men. Women tend to be younger in age and more likely to work part-time. When it comes to residential business activity, women had a median of eight sales transactions, compared to seven for men.

Asian members working exclusively in residential real estate have the highest median gross annual income of all ethnic groups at $56,800, followed by Caucasian members at $54,200, Hispanic and Latino members at $41,700 and African-American at $23,000.

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


Seventy percent of female members work exclusively in residential real estate, compared to 45 percent of male members. Fifteen percent of males work exclusively in commercial real estate, compared to only four percent of females.

Hispanic and Latino members make up the largest share of those working exclusively in residential real estate (71 percent), and Asian members make up the largest share working in both commercial and residential real estate (37 percent). Twelve percent of Caucasian members work only in commercial real estate, compared to three percent or less for all other ethnic groups.

Dual specialists typically have 10 residential transactions and one commercial transaction. Dual specialists tend to have more experience in residential real estate than those working exclusively in residential real estate and are more likely than others to work in small towns, rural areas and resort areas.

Race and ethnicity in real estate

Comparing the activity of each ethnic group in real estate, the report finds that Caucasian members make up 82 percent of all NAR members and had the most transactions and highest sales volume.

Asian members had the highest median gross income, sold the most expensive homes and had the highest median dollar value of residential sales transactions. They also had the second highest median years of experience (10 years) and the second largest group of members over 60 years in age (29 percent).

African-American members have the lowest median gross income and sell the least expensive homes; however, they make up the largest group working less than 20 hours a week and are also the largest group to receive less than half their overall income from residential real estate.

These findings indicate that the income of African-American members is more diversified outside the industry, and that real estate is only a part-time source of income. Hispanic and Latino members are the largest group specializing exclusively in residential real estate (71 percent), the largest group with less than one year of experience (25 percent) and are the youngest members.

Hispanics and Latino members have the second most median residential sales transactions and sold the third most expensive homes, according to the report.

NAR offers many resources to promote diversity in its Realtor membership through its Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity program, including education, grants, partnerships and events. The NAR Diversity Initiative Grant Program provides grants to help fund outreach efforts to minority consumers and bring more diversity into Realtor membership and leadership.

NAR’s diversity course, At Home with Diversity, gives Realtors tools and training to better serve today’s diverse consumers. NAR has also successfully built partnerships with housing groups and professional real estate organizations representing the multicultural community.

The “Choosing a Career in Real Estate” report was based on a survey sent from March to April 2017 to 144,000 members of the NAR. A representative sample of 6,363 members responded to the survey, an adjusted response rate of 4.4 percent.

Source: NAR