How Rich are Real Estate Agents? (And Why a Complete Stranger Asked Me for Thousands of Dollars)
Real estate agents facilitate millions of dollars in transactions each year.
And we get a cut from each one.
…So we must be rich, right?
By that logic, car salespeople, furniture sales staff, and the Tupperware lady must all be raking it in with the value of sales they make. After all, they broker thousands of dollars in sales – tens of thousands even – and get a cut from each sale! They must be rich.
But, they’re not.
I’m afraid we real estate agents are about as rich as anyone else in any other industry who earns a commission.
For some reason though, people continue to assume real estate agents are rich, and should give up their over-stuffed commission to benefit the little guy. (Which is apparently everyone else.) It’s bizarre. In no other industry I’ve worked, have I been asked to forego my earnings (translation: the deserved paycheck I worked hard for!) just because. But it happens in this industry – sometimes as casually as one says hello.
I recently received an email from a complete stranger, who immediately asked a favor. “I’m interested in one of your properties… can you help me with the down payment?” To clarify, this person was asking that I “help” by giving up my commission. This person I’ve never met was asking me to forfeit my paycheck. (Has anyone asked for YOUR paycheck after you put in the time?)
It’s a big ask, even for a family member who loves you dearly. To ask it of a complete stranger is beyond a favor. It’s downright offensive.
If you, like this person, assume real estate agents are too rich and just a bunch of greedy hoarders who for no reason at all owe you a living, then I guess you wouldn’t understand how such a request could be remotely offensive.
If you work hard for what you have though, and a stranger walked up to you and required your thousands of dollars just because they wanted it… I seriously doubt you would smile and fork it over just to be “nice”.
Well, reading that email did not inspire any nice thoughts. I imagined all kinds of things I could say to “educate” the person who sent it. But I know better than to open my mouth when I’m upset. Once I cooled down, I thought back to the days before I owned a house.
Saving up the down payment is about the most difficult part of buying your first home. It takes diligence, discipline, and a whole lot of work and time.
It’s hard. I get it. Been there.
That’s why I’ll write about how to build up that down payment in a future post.
Today, I just wanted to highlight once again that real estate agents are not some uber-wealthy race of robots whose earnings belong to the human collective.
We are your average working Joe.
We are your average mortgage holder.
We are you.
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