Property Agents make A LOT of Money


I think the Straits Times over-glamorised the real estate profession in its multi-page spread on “Rodeo Realtors” yesterday.

In terms of their income.

Maybe the writers were being very selective and showcased only the highly successful property agents.

But I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the article may mislead a few young minds, much like the way some insurance agencies and MLM firms “encourage” their new recruits (see comment).

The ST article showcased 7 real estate agents:

  • Male, 36, 2 months’ experience, $10k average monthly income
  • Male, 53, 2 years’ experience, >$50k average monthly income
  • Female, 35, 4 years’ experience, $10k average monthly income
  • Female, 26, 3 years’ experience, $10k average monthly income
  • Female, 38, 7 years’ experience, $7k to $10k average monthly income
  • Male, 36, 2 years’ experience, $5k average monthly income
  • Female, late 40s, >10 years’ experience, >$26k average monthly income

But, according to the MOM Report on Wages, the top 25% of real estate agents make a gross monthly income of $4,647 (at the 75th-percentile mark). See post.

So the agents listed above are all in the top 25%, with 6 of them hugely successful by most standards.

Or, if these agents are the “average”, there may be a discrepancy between the MOM numbers and reality.

Either way, people will be flocking to be property agents. Hopefully they will not be too disappointed.


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  1. I remember evenings cannot quite have confirm family outings, unless it’s a special occasion. Most of the time I get suck into work that I’ll be angry if my wife plans for the evenings. Now to think back, it has been hard on her.

    Actually in Singapore I think passive income is much hype. To me there is no such thing as passive income. Some say insurance line has passive income, sell on time, get passive income. But really in reality there’s no escaping when clients call. I am now a firm believer that there must always be input to have output. Nothing will keep paying you for nothing, unless you give them money. So for me passive income is that 3-5% returns either in real estate leasing or bank FD or bonds. So for me the target is 5M by 2013. What’s yours?

  2. Real Estate is truly a real business. It has a very low start up cost with the highest turnover.
    Commenting-Time for family is to be managed by individuals priorities.
    Commenting-Sales is based on conversions ratios. To improve conversion ratios, one has to constantly upgrade and improve their own abilities.
    Many blame the business model and not themselves for not able to succeed in this industry. Many fail because of lack of knowledge in the marketing budget, failing to maintain consistant prospecting efforts, poor time management and wrong sphere of influence.
    The agent you see at the void deck after 7pm is a salesman and not a businessman.
    This business NEEDS employees!! Meant to prospect everyday, to do house viewings, to take charge of the marketing, for admin support, for flyer distributions, for networking with clients, for recruitment support, research work and many more..
    An agent should be a CEO of his own business. Our real job is to ensure that all aspects in this business is covered by sufficent employees and that job scopes are effectively delegated and leveraged.
    Market conditions can be bad, but business is still good.

    Its saddening to see negative comments here, if an agent cannot make $$ in his first month, if he has no time for his family, if he is working too hard as an agent, if he made $20k a mth but failed to be consistant, who should he blame??

    Conclusion-All agents do business differently, there is no such thing of average income in this real estate business. If you really need an average to gauge; one can earn between $2k to $100k per mth . There is no such thing as full time or part time agents. It is their own “Business”.

    Its now a battle between academic smarts and the street smarts. The streets taught me how to make money, schools help me educate employees to help me make more money.

    To all agents:- Good luck!
    To non-agents:- Join Us or Ignore us!
    To ex-agents:- Come back to us, we miss you!

    To All:-“If one cannot make money without money; what makes you think that one can make money with money?”

    All the best!!

    Just a 24 yr old guy commenting..
    Email: [email protected]

  3. i have been in small property company for quite some time now and i share the same sentiments for wat all the agents have shared. doing poperty in singapore is very competitive and most of the time the big boys get all the luck.most of the clients put their trust on the agents who wear land yard and have flyer with their face on it. i have been through many appointments where the big boys didn’t have to do any thing but just brought in “potiential buyers”(fake buyers) which inpressed the seller and on the spot the seller gave them the exclusive of the place.
    i also had agents telling me their seller didnt give them commission and wan half of my com if my buyer wan to buy the hose.
    i also had buyer who didn’t trust my experience in the property bussiness and engaged a director just to come negoiate on the price of the house.
    what i’m trying to say here is if u wan to make it in this bussiness. do wat the romans do? if u wan to be a lone ranger like me u got to accept any thing tat comes yur way and eventually u will successed. good luck, save cost make lots of money.

  4. To: Alex-Px

    Dun fine me offending, but would like you to answer few of my questions as I find your reply very different from others. I would think that agent boy75 makes a very good point about cost saving in order to make more $. Because we can be earning $20 grand a month but our advertisement cost and transport cost will kill us if we dun manage them properly.

    You are right to say that we should be “manager” to manage our “runner” to do the admin support for us. But to me, in order to do that, first of all we must have a consistent amount of closing so as to spend on this runners.

    I do not quite agree that those agent that you see after 7pm are salesman and not bizman. I have men seniors who brought viewers to view HDB flats but they are top achievers in the company too. Are you referring to those HDB agent are just salesman and not truly an agent? I do not know if this is what you mean but definitely those selling HDB flats now are the survivals in today’s market. Just read more and you’ll know.

    1. How many years are you on this market?
    2. May I know you income per month in order to substain your biz model?

    Dun mean to be offensive but i just find your post interesting…

  5. To Simple Agent:
    My post is meant for a comment. Please take it lightly.

    I would like to comment on why are most agents killed by advertisement cost is due to their lack qualifying the listing. Most of my properties are taken within 3 advertisements. I will NOT advertise units that will not sell. Newspaper ads is one of my many marketing tools which is also the most expensive and not-so effective way of marketing. I will classify advertisement cost as an investment rather than an expense. An agent who invest in the wrong listing is similar to investing in the wrong stock. An adverisement of $200 should generate at least $2000.
    I apologize if I offended anyone regarding the 7pm salesman and businessman issue. My intention is to highlight that there are many ways to do this business. Top acheivers may not necessary be good business people; or rather, they are good just good sales people. Good business people should have systems and people in place so that they can be away for the operations 80% of the time thus having more time for 4 vacations per year together with their family and loved ones. This quality Time should also be spent on networking, prospecting, lead generation, spotting of opportunities and overall business responsibility.

    I beg to differ your statement that HDB flats are survivals in today’s market. I have been transacting more private properties this year despite the slow down. I have done more than $400k in sales in Two years but I can say approx 50% is kept to invest back into the business for expansion purposes.

    You might say that we need a consistent income to fund the runners. But in my point of view, Runners should be trained to do exclusives and closings and they are on a no-closing no-pay basis.

    There is no right or wrong in this business as I mentioned. Its just different people doing this business in different ways. Everyone has different goals, I hope to achieve an automated model rather than to sell more houses.

    We can choose to set up a fruit stall in the HDB heartlands or to package our fruits distributed in international supermarkets-A concept by Adam Khoo.

    This is not a monthly income business, it is rather, an annual income business. An agent doing $20K a mth may not outlast an agent doing $5K a month consistently in the long run. “A bubble tea business and a tea manufactuer company” as a good parable to explain my point.

    Please see this as a personal sharing exprience.
    Please do not be offended by any of my statements.
    We can discuss more of this offline for a clearer understanding if needed.
    Email: [email protected]


  6. Alex Px: Just a suggestion: if your model works, why not write a book on it. I’m sure it would bring in unlimited income,e.g Rich Dad Poor Dad

  7. to the one who calculated that Directors make more than $30K per month on overriding:

    WAKE UP.

    Or better, get your facts right and JOIN and AGENCY. Stop talking nonsense.

    I AM A MARKETING DIRECTOR of the largest agency in Singapore.

    I have one new recruit and another very excellent experienced female agent who made $140K last year. Her income this year from property: $0.

    The new agent: $0.

    Even if the experienced agent made $140K this year again (unlikely, last year was a bonanza), I would have only a 6% overriding, which is only $8400!!!! ONE YEAR!!!! Even someone working in McDonalds part time can make more than that in HALF a year!

    And, did I mention that she was a very good EXPERIENCED agent??? She made ZERO this year.

    My colleague just called to ask after an ex-colleague who dropped out and we learnt that he cannot be in the business anymore because he cannot afford to advertise anymore.

    Now, GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT before spouting nonsense.

    I really cannot take it when I see self-righteous fools typing nonsense with figures ‘plucked from the air’ without anything to back them up.

    Might as well join the Straits Times and claim that the AVERAGE agent makes $10K a month. Jeez.
    The ignorance is shocking.

  8. And yes, as a Marketing Director, I have ONLY 2 downlines. (Unlike your fanciful mlm castle theory).

    To be a marketing director, it is not that tough, just hit enough sales. You can even be a director without downlines. One man show. Just hit the sales figure required for promotion and you will be promoted.

    Marketing Director earns $30K on over-riding? You must be dreaming.
    that must be the most ridiculous statement I ever heard.

  9. bullsht alert on

    so many of my director’s new recruits drop like flies… . This is a tough industry and I cannot even count how many drop outs I have seen come and go. Do you even realise HOW MUCH EFFORT it takes to take a normal Joe on the street and train him to become a producing agent who can actually feed his own family???

    I think, since the beginning of the year till now….. with ALL of the new recruits my director (my upline) has been bringing in… I can say that the TOTAL commissions brought in by these clueless newbies is DEFINITELY less than $10,000. And I am talking about 16 of them added together. Now, even IF they made $10,000 (total), my director would have only over-rode a super grand total of $600. Not bad for 10 months of motivational work eh! No wonder he is more interested in serving his clients than to recruit.

  10. bullsht alert on

    I see on the TOP 100 PAYING JOBS IN SINGAPORE based on MOM’s findings:

    A lawyer/advocate and solicitor ranked 33 makes only $7500 a month!

    And to think someone actually believes that a property agent’s Director can make an AVERAGE salary of $30K… LOL!

    That’s equal to the TOP job in Singapore – a specialised surgeon!!!

    Only difference between working as a surgeon and a property agent: A surgeon operates on someone every single day.

  11. I partially agree with bullsht!!
    I am a Director myself. I have a size 20 over downlines with me. Some perform well, some are just lazing around. With this amount of people, my overridding average $800 to $1500 per month. Most Group Directors average overridings are within $2K to $8K. Only with a strength of more than 600 to 800 associates, maybe its possible for a overriding of $30K. It may be possible, but the sheer fact is that its gonna be challenging to manage them. But as a matter of fact, I rather do recruitment than to serve me clients even though the overriding may seem small from the start. If we understand the power of compounding,imagine the 1st associate you got recommends 2 people to join, then the 2 recommends 4, then 4 to 8, 8 to 16, 16 to 32, 32 to 64. Imagine what we will get at the end of five years? This is a perfect senario, it will never happen, but what are your chances? It all starts with a seed accompanied but nurishment. Thats why I am so glad to be in this business. Sales+rental+associates+opportunities+lifestyle=Happiness.
    Email: [email protected]

  12. the post of ” bullsht alert Says’ IS great.i feel that he is telling the truth and not like some people who r out to recruit agents … i guess only top 1% gets to enjoy $30k overriddin.. my mentor has got only

  13. common sense tells u its not possible. if its easy to be at the top, many agents would have no need to sell and they have to be supported by a large base of hardworking agents. think of a pyramid, triangular structure. the top echelons make, the bottom don’t.

    some agents do make 30k per month but not most, not many just that handful. its just like traders draw multimillion payouts, but its only that handful. the rest are just average johns and does.

    stop all this nonsense especially in this climate.

  14. Very True!! No wonder the Law of Nature is fair. 10% of the people makes an income more than 90% of the people. The difference now is a simple logic between people who knows how to make money and people who dont. There is nothing to complain or argue about. Insanity derives when we continue to do what we are always doing and to expect a different result. Be open and give yourself a chance to explore the Real Estate potential. You will never know..

  15. I lost my job after 13 years as a director and my colleague lost his after 15 years in a blink of eyes. So, if you think property agent job is not stable and working in a corporate is better, then you gonna think again. If you are worth $100 an hour, you are always paid $100 even if you work more than that. This is typical bucket carrier being in a so call stable corporate job. Great monetary reward comes with taking action and not quacking. If you continue to quack like the 90% always thinking this is no good and that is no safe, how can you be the top 10%? You can’t walk walk out of your own comfort zone and take risk like the property agents do, so what big money to talk about? I respect these agents even though I’m not one of them and I don’t believe in the so call publish stats as agents are not sole proprietor and MOM tracks only the salaried employees.

  16. Wow, Positive. You hit the sweet spot and you are absolutely, 100%, guarantteed right.

    Quite simply, working in a corporation, in especially those non commission or sales based function, you will always be averaged down to the average employee, no matter how many reports, statistics, graphs you churn out or meetings you attend. It’s obvious right? Of cos your individual performance, grade A,B,C or D will help in a certain extent but if some lousy employees just keep making mistakes and cost the company money…then then no matter what, the profit pool will shrink. Anyway, looking at it another way. Companies are profit maximizers ( basic economic theory), your salary is a cost. To maximise profit,they have to minimize cost.

    I like the way Positive say ” Great monetary reward comes with taking action and not quacking. If you continue to quack like the 90% always thinking this is no good and that is no safe, how can you be the top 10%? ” .

    I think he has mentioned “the law of making money” like newton’s ” law of gravity”.

    Action makes money. Just thinking don’t.Just talking don’t.

    Anyway,in our opinion, people who take MBA in the hope of getting a job with a salary increment or changing industry are really illogical. Think like a business owner, pls. But that is our opinion only.

  17. pls la, they sure earn a lot!

    they are consider self employed.

    most of them under declared their income! LOL

  18. Hi guys,

    It’s so sad to see that generally, in Sg, everyone who is employed is always so busy making a circus of other industries and how much other people make, and how much they can be cut in terms of payment etc etc.. It truly is sad to see this happening. I’ve been self employed for a long time now, 7 years in real estate to be exact, and I can tell you, what you read in the ST is not always accurate, if ever.

    The reality of real estate, is that out of 10 new comers, 1 will succeed to last at least a year, out of the ten that succeed,3 will remain the industry, the rest will always be “part-timers”, these are generally the people who charge 1/2 commisions receivable, or discount agents as they are generally know as. I’m not even going to go into the debate of why their services may be inferior to that of a professional fulltime realtor.

    Lets look at cost vs income of a realtor.
    Income $10-$20k/monthly(before expenses) for eg:
    Marketing- $800- $2000 on fliers and distribution
    Advertising- $360- $8000
    Travel- $400- $800 for Gas
    Car- $500-1500
    Phone bills- $250-$800
    Work hours- Average 8-16 hours daily, includes weekends

    At anyone time, we have to look at about or up to 30% of the commissions cut due to
    -Seller decides not to sell/ goes missing after sale is complete
    -Undercut by discount agents
    -Buyers not being truthfull/ faithful to the realtor servicing them, ends up buying from other.
    -Let your imganition work out other reasons.. I’ve seen too many:/

    Now, figure out what’s really left after everything has been deducted.

    Lets also look at employment vs self emploment

    Pros of employment that do not exist in being self employed:
    -Fixed hours/ days
    -Fixed Holidays
    -Fixed salary
    -Fixed bonuses
    -Fixed medical & insurance
    -Days off/ Leave entitlements
    Amoungst other things..

    What I’m trying to get at is that it is a good business to be in if you’re prepared to be self employed, but as with anything else, it is not a sales job, it is a business that must be run accordingly in ordder to sustain oneself and the family he/she provides for. Yes, there are ways to cut cost but really, how much cost can be cut before the business starts to suffer.

    Also, pls note that the only entity making any real money from recruitment itself is the brokerage, but then again, that has it’s running cost as well.

    Please dont be mislead that all realtors are poor, but pls also dont be mislead that all realtors are rich and deserve to suffer at all cost..lolz..

    My heart goes out to the realtors struggling to survive during this down time.

  19. Very interesting comments here, but some comments are quite discouraging to a potential agent like me.

    I have been retrenched but still cannot find a job until now. My friend suggests since I am still not able to get a job, why not become a property agent for the time being, this is better than staying at home to shake legs.

    I have a worry because I have zero knowledge and experience in this line, how do I get started out and maybe survive in this line ?

    I do not own a car, so I believe this will be one big disadvantage for me if I decide to join this line. Still considering if this line is suitable for me.

  20. This is not true.. It truly is a mindset. For the first 3 years in real estate, I did not drive either.. it was basically BMW, Bus/Mrt/Walk. There are alot of ways to overcome not driving.. Choose a GTA(area that you want to focus in), HDB is easy for non drivers, reason being almost everything in that area is accessible by bus/walking. Should you choose to do rentals, pls pick condos that are accessible by the MRT line.

    There are many ways to make this career work for you, bt your mindset must be right. Take it as something real, give a a 100% shot and commit to it. Dont try it if you’re going to try and see, the end justifies the means, know that you want to do this and find a way to make it work. If you go in with a part time attitude, you will get part time results.. And realtors are very sharp, they can sense a fly by nite agent, and most will take you for a ride. If you commit to this, other realtors will take you more seriously, help you succeed, help you close the deal, and if you are new but keen, they will help you through the process.

    I wish you well, but pls also take note to do some homework.. you’ll need the right team more then a right broker.


  21. Totally agree with Gillian. The BMW (bus/mrt/walk) was also one of my most memorable journey during my initial years. The income will be fantastic if you have the winning attitude. I have also witness part-timers creating success by their winning attitude. They then will commit full time. It is not so much on the strategy one takes, it is the belief, attitude, desire and passion which drives them to constantly break their initial years. For “eat grass”, Be prepared for a bumpy yet fufilling ride. There will always be grass to eat. “No great achievements will ever surface without pressure!” Good Luck!!

  22. Qutoed by “adiemuso” – My comment on this – [Every industry, job, business in life looks like a triangle and a pyramid. Can we have 20 CEOs and 2 employees?? Or 100 top agents and 2 not so good agents?? Chances are that not high as this is the REAL WORLD. By discouraging others before the final whistle blows serves no purpose to others. What “adiemuso” has stated is the REAL WORLD. The question now should be, “Do you really believe yourself among the top???”]

  23. “Why must one climb the high and rocky mountains when he can choose to sleep well at home?” Without knowing one’s core purpose, nothing great will be done. This will be the first question I will like to pose to anyone interested to join our industry. Welcome aboard people!

  24. Thank you to Alex-px and others with your encouraging words. After much thought these few days, I decide to give my full commitment into this industry to try it out. Hopefully one day I can be as successful as you gentlemen and ladies.

  25. Commercial Specialist on

    You need to try out to see what areas you enjoy.
    HDB is selling Roofs
    Condo is selling Dreams
    Landed is selling Status
    GCB is selling Ego

    I am selling Solutions for Commercial/Industrial Real Estate!!!

  26. Hey Gillian,

    I agree with what you said. The right team is important. I’m shopping around for a right team and company to join. So what’s your advice on picking the right team?

  27. I start to meet and get calls from people from all walks of life since my decision to join this line as a property agent.

    Sometimes I get scolded from people for nothing (maybe due to my clients’ higher or lower in their price expectation).

    How to handle such rude callers or customers ? Hope some experienced agents can help a rookie like me. Thanks in advance.

  28. don’t take their scoldings or even insults to heart. my tip: just focus on closing deals. it’s tempting for idealistic agents to want to be frank and open in their dealings, but after a while, you’ll realize it actually doesn’t matter. learn from lawyers and say what you need to say to close the deal. good luck.

  29. Dear Eat Grass,
    Do understand our nature of the business. Its a people business. My tip: People get rude and scold because of the reaction and words we use on them. Reflect and understand how to handle them well. Focus with your heart filled with passion and joy to help them. Managed their expectations well. You can pick up books regarding “words to use” or you can hear how your manager speaks on the phone. Good luck!!