When buying or selling a home, you want to ensure you’re working with the best real estate agent for you — doing so could save you serious time, money, and headaches along the way. One potential way to gauge an agent’s skill is to consider how many homes they’ve sold in the last year. But before you can make an evaluation of that number, you’ll first need to answer this question: how many houses do real estate agents sell a year?
Of course, the national average fluctuates from one year to the next, and many other factors are at work in determining how many homes an agent sold in a given year. By familiarizing yourself with these factors and the market in a particular place and time, you’ll be able to quickly and effectively determine which real estate agent you want to work with when you’re ready to buy or sell your home.
There are both short and long answers to this question, but spending the time to get a handle on it is an important step to take as early as possible in your effort to buy or sell your home. According to the 2022 member profile report generated by the National Association of Realtors, the typical real estate agent had 12 annual transactions. This number was up slightly from the previous average, which was 10 annual transactions.
Because this number can change so drastically both over time and depending on the specifics of your property and location, it’s important that you look beyond the national average and determine how many homes your region’s agents sell in a year. To do so, you need to get a sense of local market trends and consult your state’s association of agents to improve your understanding of the local market and its fluctuation over the last year or so.
Once you’ve established a sense of national and regional market trends, identify a shortlist of local agents you may want to work with and determine their individual average within the same period of time you’re evaluating. You may be surprised by their numbers — since the national and regional averages capture numbers for top real estate agents who sell many houses in a year, as well as those who may only sell a handful, they’re likely to be quite different. An agent in Denver, for example, may have an annual sale rate ranging from tens to hundreds.
There are a number of reasons why national home sale averages are often different from regional averages, but most important of these is the fact that you’re considering a much more consistent set of data points. As a result, these numbers are more likely to provide a snapshot of what you can expect to see in your own experience. But what other factors go into determining these numbers?
Not all agents put in the same hours. This means that average sale numbers can be skewed by the annual transaction differences between those who work part-time or on a case-by-case basis, choosing to only sell a handful of properties each year, as opposed to those who work competitively within the real estate industry on a full-time basis. While these different workloads change the national average, they strive to represent overall trends within the field and illustrate shifts in the market from one year to the next — and they do that quite effectively.
Real estate agents choose to work individually, with a personal team, or as part of a brokerage. Each structure has its own benefits and drawbacks for the agent, and they must weigh those factors carefully in order to determine which is best for them. But one thing we know for sure is that those who work on their own typically make fewer annual sales than those working with others.
This is simply because doing things individually requires the real estate agent to be more involved with each step of the process, rather than delegating tasks or processes to an assistant, transaction coordinator, or a more junior agent within a brokerage. It’s important to keep this in mind when considering an agent’s recent sale numbers. Just because they aren’t closing large numbers of deals doesn’t necessarily mean they’re underperforming in their field — they may just be working fewer hours or choosing to handle more aspects of their work on their own.
→ Learn about the difference between realtors vs agents vs brokers
Another important consideration to weigh when evaluating annual transactions is what kind of real estate the real estate agent specializes in. Since agents make a commission on each sale, many choose to specialize in high-end properties, condos, or commercial real estate. While they are likely to yield higher annual salaries doing this kind of work, there’s less of a market for these kinds of properties, and the sale process generally takes longer than with traditional single-family residential properties.
This means that how many houses one real estate agent sells in a year may be significantly lower than another, but they could potentially be making significantly more money. With this in mind, it’s important to consider the type of real estate a given agent specializes in before making determinations about their overall effectiveness.
→ Learn more about how much real estate agents make
Another factor that could be impacting a real estate agent’s recent sales is something totally outside their control: the current state of the housing market. This is why considering national and local sale averages alongside individual real estate agents’ averages is so important. These averages help you to construct a context through which to interpret individual performance.
If you see that an agent’s numbers are lower than usual and you know that others in the industry are also struggling, you’ll have a more complete understanding of why that may be. On the other hand, if an agent is able to continue making sales while regional or national averages are trending down, it can suggest that they may be especially capable of weathering the storm.
Related: How much are average realtor commission rates?
While knowing how many houses a real estate agent sells in a year is an important data point to have, it needs to be considered within its complete context. A high sales average can say a lot about their effectiveness, but it isn’t necessarily the most important factor to weigh when choosing a real estate agent.
Buying or selling a home can be a long and frustrating process — you want to be sure you’re working with someone who aligns with your values and priorities to make it as simple as possible. For some, high sales averages and a large, efficient team is the most important consideration. Others prefer taking advantage of a smaller operation with a more hands-on agent who may be able to offer more personalized contact or may have an especially strong knowledge of homes in a given neighborhood.
While knowing how many houses real estate agents sell a year is important, it’s just a piece of the puzzle. As you work to choose your real estate agent, be sure you’re considering their sales average within the context of the current housing market and the structure of their business — and most importantly, that you’re also choosing someone you trust to advocate for you along the way.
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