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.


About Author


  1. I read the article and hmmm.. who should i believe the ST or MOM..
    What is the reality?
    These few years, estate is blooming, they will earn a lot. When market is bad, will they earn so much?

  2. wait and wait on

    Reality is it’s not possible to find the “average pay” for real estate. It can range from negative(after cost) to more than a million SGD per year. Also the pay is gross, so must still deduct expenses, about roughly 20% – 30%.

    Property agents are not employees, they are considered business owners. Therefore a business owner earning a few hundred thousand dollars is ok when compared to other businesses.

    It’s only when you conmpare them to employment income then you feel they are earning alot. The popular curry puff owner makes alot more than $100k a year.

  3. I don’t have information about what property agents take home pay is. But even if it is not $10K, $5K monthly is still a lot for a Sales position that does not require a Degree. All being said, when during downturn, the pay will be substantially reduced. Also, my perception is that there are more people making big as property agents than insurance agents. Just imagine 1% commission per transaction, average price of a HDB house is probably about $300K, you just need to close 1-2 deals a month.

    The article may over-glamourize, but I feel that it is a very lucrative career if you are okay with house viewing on weekends and weekday nights.

  4. wait and wait on

    I agree with smart trader that it can be a lucrative career only if one works hard and smart. No degree and earn more than $10k a month is very common in singapore. I remember there is an article in about hawkers earning >$100k a month in sales. Even after say 50% expenses, still can make $50k a month. Maybe they don’t even have PSLE.

    I believe the higher your education, the less you will start your own business, therefore less chance to become rich. Being employed and earn $5k a month is good pay. Being self employed and earn $20k a month is normal.

  5. Property business is the one for any who like to start to be your own boss with no high start up cost. Maybe some money for buying nice shirts, ties, handphone bills and transport fees. But in this business I think you must like sales and like to mingle with people from all walks of life.

    However, you are competing with more than 30000 in the market and how you can stand out among them will determine how much you gain. The fear of not clinching a deal for months will make you sweat. I am sure there will be a lot that fail no matter how hard they try but the newspaper only feature those super successful. Anyway, no pain no gain.

  6. My understanding is that a lot of those real estate agents DO NOT declare their true income to evade income taxes.

  7. Yet they boast on

    @Reader – yes I think so too. Yet some of them have the cheek to boast about their astronomical income in newspapers such as the one mentioned in the blog article above.

  8. wait and wait on

    Most of them only state about $10k a month. Don’t think is boasting. In fact very humble already. Real estate agent if cannot earn > $10k a month is considered below average. Even sell cars also can earn about ths figure after including all the loan and insurance referral commission.

    Anyway how much you earn is not the most important. How much you spend and how much you can save is. Earn $10k, spend $9.5k is not rich.

  9. earn and earn on

    My property agent told me he earned more than 300K last year and 50K alone last month. And he is a resident agent and does not have a car, he only sells apartments within our condominium.

    Imagine his savings!

    But if the market spirals downhill things may turn out differently of course, after all last year was a bumper crop year for all in property line…

  10. some earn more some earn less. but its really very tough market. I should know cause i’m an agent.

  11. Well, amist all the comments.. I find that most people still think that property agents earns good money based on simple work.

    It is only when you are in the field itself than you would truely understand how it is really like.
    For those who think it is easy, why not try giving up stability in your fixed pay job and give it a try for 1 year. you will understand what it feels like then (As a agent yourself).

    People alway comment on things based on a empty head. If it is so easy a job / career, Nobody would be working for a lowly paid job anymore.
    Have anyone really think of what the job is truely like??
    1)Competition – More than 300,000 agents and increasing, fighting for the same rice bowl.
    2)High Overhead Expense – Where you get some of your leads from, Flyers ($500monthly), Distribution ($20~25/1000pcs), Advertising (min $500 per month), transportation, phone bills, administration stuff, legal issues, follow-ups.

    Basically Cost & Competition would be enough, it is like a self run business, sometimes you earn but you need to prepare for the rainy days. 1-2 deals monthly?? only enough to cover what you have spend on the overheads, not enough to give you & your family a good life.

    Those who think it’s still easy, just give it a try. After that, than you’ll know how “EASY” it is..

  12. neuromanticx on

    I guess ST “average” is miscommunicated. There are some months that they make and some months that they don’t. So its an unsteady stream of income, and when you average it out over 12 months it is as if they make more than 10K each month, which I don’t think so if there’s nothing to sell and nobody buys anyway. So that’s why they agents want to make big bucks whenever they get a chance to even out the days that they don’t make.

  13. wait and wait on is a good site. Good job admin. I realised there is a trend here. Most people want to find out what’s the average pay of any vocation. When they see somebody getting good pay, they assume he is the best of the best and they want to know what the average get.

    You know what? My opinion is that if you are average, you should be paid average. Period. There is a saying, “In any business and any industry, the top 3 companies make almost all the $$ and the rest of them just struggle to survive.”
    Same for jobs. The top management make most of the $$, the rest of the staff get enough to pay their bills. Same for footballers. Our S-league players maybe earn

  14. i think housing agt is a very unstable job…life iua abt gives and takes. true, if house ag is so easy a job= came and try and see if u succed. i very much doubt that graduates can succeed as agent.. graduates only know how to be jealous of ag salary… everyone has the right to be succful in life, whthr they are highly educated or not.. i;m a graduate house agnt.. spasking up for my non- degree house agent frens..

  15. a simple agent on

    I am a property agent and have in this biz for the past 8 mths. Like most sales line, there’s a need of certain calibre in order to be sucessful in this line. To earn at least $10K per month on EVERY other month. The keyword is to MAINTAIN your results.
    -Discipline, hardwork, skills of negotiation, luck, persistent
    Like some said. It’a a truly unstable and stressful job when you cannot close a single deal after putting whole’s month effort. Who’s gonna pay for our expenses?
    We are like farmers. We only get our fruit of our labour (which is cash) after we close the deal. If we don’t close end of the day, we get NOTTING and nobody’s gonna pay for our past effort. So sometime I called it ‘business risk’.
    For those listed as top earners or producers, only a business minded agent will be able to maintain their income because our salary is truly unstable.
    This is really a competitive world which a lot of employed workers will never feel.

    (I used to work for a gov agency for the past 7 years and I have recently quitted my full time job to work in this line. It’s has never been easy for me.)

  16. wait and wait on

    Post got truncated don’t know why. Continue => S-league players maybe earn

  17. chargingbull on

    It is disgusting how the straits times always tell what is not the truth!

    The reality of the real estate business’s top agents is in the multi-level earning power of the top of the uplines, and the amount of money collected from their misleading the masses into their recruitment drives, and the collection of huge amounts of training fees, from gullible people who are misled into thinking that they can chase that singapore dream of earning big bucks!

    Another words, the straits times is not telling you the truth in short that the real estate business in singapore is about multi-multi-level marketing!

    And agencies earn big bucks in collecting money from training “agents”

  18. chargingbull on

    I recruit many of you and many of you pay $600 to $1500 each for training, and i get commission from your paying training fees, and i collect 5% over-riding from many of your commissions.

    Many of you recruit many others under you and you get commission from training fees, and i also get to collect a cut of this commission, and many of you collect 5% over-riding from many of your recruits’ commissions, and i get to collect 3% from them too.

    And the same sequence goes on and on.

  19. chargingbull on

    On the average, an agent at the Director Level earns not less than $30K per month from Over-Riding Commission.

    This excludes the training fee commissions they collect from recruiting newbies into the company who pay from $600 upwards for Basic Real Estate Training.

    There are about 100 to 300 new recruits for each agency every month.

    There are about 45,000 to 50,000 agents and the numbers are increasing.

  20. and they then use these shameless training ‘profits’ and add them into their own income stream as proof that property agents make bug bucks. Which in turn will con the other impressionable common folk to fork in their hard earned money to contribute to their wealth. Sad but vicious cycle.

  21. wait and wait on

    But they can also earn $30k a month just by doing personal sales. No need to recruit a single person.

  22. wow… really?/
    an agent at the Director Level earns not less than $30K per month from Over-Riding Commission??
    can anyone support or tell me how true this statement is??
    i always thougth life as a house ag is unstable..
    if a house ag cna earn so much passive income from overriding, then it isnt so unstable afterall…

  23. $30k per month personal sales implies sheer hard work..
    $30k per month from overridding implies sound too good to be true.. in fact a bit ridiculous?? any house ag director here to verify???

  24. SmartTrader on

    I stand corrected after hearing all the tough experiences of the real life agents here.
    Seems like the experiences are similar to MLM, go in early and you can reap good money, go in late, you are feeding others.

  25. chargingbull on

    Well, since the Administrator of this blog removed my posts of the actual named agencies, let’s just say that Donald Duck and his gang of Mickey Mice at the agency next to the Western Food Joint near the Toa Payoh Library, uses this selling point that he has ever not worked for a full year and yet he still earns $30k a month.

    And if you want to be like him, you must join his agency; which coincidentally claims to be the biggest; in order to start earning big income like him.

    Mind you, he was not talking about closing that $30,000 deal when he talked about it in the crowded classroom!

    So, M-L-M is the name of the game, even the DishWasher agency claims it too.

    I really hope someone brings up this blog to that stupid journalist who wrote that article to mislead people into the M-L-M of Real Estate.

  26. aiya.. dun scold the ke lian journalist.. she just doing her job to write articles.. anyway,i still curious as to so good oveerrriding fees.. keke..

  27. I admire the simple agent that quitted his 7 years iron rice bowl career and embark into a journey of uncertainty. Property agents are selling a service whereby any tom dick or harry can do it. Luck is very important. I strongly believe it is not an easy work although anyone can do it. Because anyone can do it means now more than 30 000 people are competing with you. You know the Maths.

  28. a simple agent again on

    seriously before i quitted my gov job (of 7 years) to join property, someone painted a rosy picture about this line and how easy we can earn big buck.

    I was somehow being convinced and “conned” that it’s just a ‘match making job’. Any tom, dick and harry can do it.

    But it was a real cultural shock to me, really harsh and cruel. No one actually said that I will earn NOTING for the first 6 months and already alot of $ was spent on course and advertisement.

    My so-call upline never give me any leads and I was like left in the jungle to fend for myself. I almost regret after 3 months. I did not close a single deal and was feeling very down and losing my confidence but it was my family support and a very understanding hubby who helped me to go thru all these months of hardship.

    I did not earn $10K or more every month. But for the past 8 months, I already earn what I was getting for the past seven years annually. This is what I call breakthrough and sense of achievement.

    It’s all from my hardship and persistent to be who I am today. I never regret joining this line as there are customers who will come to me for advice for my professionalism. I believe in sincerity and responsibility. To me, my commission is always the last thing in my mind when I am on my job. I believe in being upright and honest.

  29. If you dont believe in over-riding, then come to HSR and see how much you can collect from training fees and over-riding.
    ha ha

  30. Hi! I intend to join property business but is looking at the right n good agency to stay. Wonder if there’s any group out there which focus on central area, private condo. I used to be with Propnex which charge 7-3 commision which seems to be the worst ratio rate. Anyone out there can advise? Thks!
    Email: [email protected]

  31. simple agent on

    well, i think for rookie, most agency paid at the same rate, unless you got kangtao…..

  32. thinking bout it on

    hmm…seems like there’s the same ratio between good and bad advice on wanting to become a property agent. I’m impressed by simple agent’s perseverance in this line, since I’ve heard many good and bad stories on those who stepped into this job as well. In my opinion, those who do well will obviously give you the better side of the story, and those who don’t likewise. It’s probably all about getting the right mindset before stepping into this line? Even with a high commission ratio, if you don’t make any sales you will still be broke. Whereas if you push yourself and get lucky, less commission ratio you’ll still earn money.

    Personally I’m looking to start part time and monitor myself to see if fledging into full time , “can make it anot”. I already do not have a high paying salary on my day job being am a freelance creative personnel and work part time on the other days to supplement my income and expenses for driving lessons, so no income at the start for me is something I am prepared to handle if it happens lah, since I kena lousy bosses in the past who never pay my salary on time and ran away with my CPF, nothing more sway than that I cannot tahan lol. In my situtation, I feel I’m in the worst scenario to want to start my own business since I have no money to do it and still need to bring the dollars home for myself and parents every month. But honestly in anycase for every line you really never know what will happen till you try for yourself.

    Any more experienced agents have useful advise to share pls do so? It would really help to motivate and provide us with a reality check as well =)

  33. simple agent on

    To thinking bout it,

    If you intent to step in this line, I suggest that you really have to do whole heartedly and in full time basis. Seriously, alot of my other co-colleages though they started early than me or have more experience cannot survive in the part time basis.

    Beside doing viewing, there’s alot of preparation work. If you are serving buyer, you need to find about the market price and spend time searching and arranging for the property to view. If one viewing cannot buy, we must also understand why so that when we arrange for the next viewing, we know what to avoid.

    If we are serving the seller, we must spend $ on advertisement cost and to entertain viewing. In today’s market, the closing rate is definately slower than before. But then, private and HDB market is a very different market. So we have to choose what we want to do.

    Next, beside the basic fundamental, alot of time, we spent time negotiating, persuading and problem solving in order to close a deal.We must also be knowledgable about the procedure so that we don’t over-promise something and ended up in silly situation.

    So we must take care of every little details in order to close a deal. Not to forget that our cheque does not come in ASAP. For HDB we must wait for a least 8 weeks upon closing the deal for our cheq

  34. simple agent on

    for our cheque to come in. Like wise for private, 12 week generally.

    So our cashflow is a BIG consideration that we need to pay for our transportation fee and advertisement cost (can range from $800 to $2000 per month)!.

    And my last advice is, if you dun own a car, it’s gonna be very difficult to survive in this line. because it’s really very inconvenient to take public transport and to serve buyer to bring them around.

    To summarise:
    1) Better to own a car.
    2) cash flow to “dong” you for 6 months.
    3) spend time reading and doing research work for your buyer and sellers so as to advice them property.
    4) Must know your paperwork well to avoid getting silly situation when you promise the terms and conditions.
    5) Negotiation skills and stragise your closing.

  35. to a simple agent:

    I strongly support yr statement, being a agent is more than just getting sellers to sell, buyers to buy. All the background work, preparation, arrangement and timing coordination roles are very time consuming.

    In the long run, I will say being in the top management, providing new agents training, motivation, coaching and direction, reaping a reasonable overiding commision is definitely justifiable.

  36. simple agent on

    to P-values:

    Thanks for the support. I am still green in this line (coming to 1 year as full time agent). But I thought that I should really share my experience before anyone like me who have no clues about WAT WE ARE IN FOR.
    I am not in any management position yet but I know that in order to reach that level, definitely, we sacrifice our precious time to coach new agent instead of doing our own closing. (It so much more $ to earn the deal ourselves) So I feel that our management still deserve some overriding.
    Actually,since day 1, I am rather independent as my manager didn’t really help me a lot. (He just accompany one viewing and that’s it) I source for my own listing and I learn a lot from my own mistakes and solve my own problems.
    Sometimes, it’s more irritating that my own manager don’t even know how to solve my problem as they have never handle such deals before. It’s quite sad.
    Anyway, I have happy to be who and where I am now and most important that this job beside $ gives me a lot of fulfillment.

  37. -to simple agent:

    You head becomes harder after knocking the wall yourself for a few time. Soon enuf you dont need a helmet (you manager).


  38. Does a real estate agent need to contribute CPF compulsorily? Cos how does MOM get the figure if agents do not have to contribute CPF ( or declare taxes)?

  39. I was a real estate agent and I used to make about 20k every month. But we agents like to tell people the gross income. But to make 20k, the cost is about 40-50% of gross, so this makes me make 10k only. But I like to tell people I make 20k.

    Referring to the earlier post of top 25% makes average of 4k, this is true. The top 3% makes 70% of the top 25%’s income. For example, if you are in ERA and not in top 100, then you might as well get a regular job. It’s less tiring. Because to make 5k a month, you need about 10k gross to be safe. This means 2-3 houses every month. To sell 2, you need to be marketing 10, and for 10 you need to be meeting 20 new buyers/sellers every month, and to get there, you need to throw 100,000 flyers and advertise at least twice weekly. For 5k, I’ll rather be an employee. For those who are superagents, either they work 2 times as hard to make 20k (40k gross, and hence tell people they make 480k a year), or their conversion rates are better.

    but it is a still a good business to be in. It’s quite fun. If I close down my current business, I may return to real estate line.

  40. To ERA Man,

    May I know how many years were you in real estate business?

    Also since it’s a good biz to you, possibly what are the good reasons to make you quit during that time?

  41. I was in real estate for 2.5 years
    Then I went to China to start an education business. 🙂 I was thinking forward to about 10 years later when I want to return to Singapore.

    Real estate is good biz, but your evenings are always not with your family. You have to reserve it for house viewings. But in the day, quite free. For me, family is important too. So I looked for another opportunity. And then China looked attractive at that point in time. So I dived in to try. Though I did not do education business first. I was in general trading first, then education. I’m quite happy now. China is a crazy place.

  42. Ya, I agree with you that family is important to me. Thus sometime, I felt so guilty when I was so busy closing my deals and going for house viewings.

    I have also given myself about another 2 years in this biz (though I enjoy the challenges that I am having right now) to start my own biz. I love to have passive income to support me so that I can allocate more time to spend with my kids. They are very young and I wish to spend more time with them.

    Actually I have no regrets to be a property agent and aim to be respected to be a good and professional one. (though many times, we can be play out by others…..)