How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in Illinois

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in Illinois

Are you looking to enter the real estate industry and curious about your earnings potential? Knowing your potential real estate agent salary in Illinois is a crucial part of any career decision. In Illinois, real estate agents’ income varies greatly, depending on factors like their experience, location, and market conditions.

This How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in Illinois guide provides an overview of these factors and more, helping you understand what you can expect to earn as a real estate agent in the “Prairie State.”

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Real Estate Agent Salary Illinois

A variety of factors can influence real estate agent salaries in Illinois, including, but not limited to:

  • Experience: Real estate agents with more experience typically command higher earnings. The average salary of an agent in Illinois is around $74,353 per year
  • Specialization: Focusing on certain areas of real estate, such as commercial properties or luxury homes, may lead to a higher income
  • Geographic Location: Within Illinois, more populous or affluent areas like Chicago may offer higher salaries or more lucrative sales opportunities vs. smaller towns and cities
  • Transaction Volume: An agent’s ability to successfully facilitate property transactions — measured by the number of properties sold and the total value of those transactions — often leads to higher earnings
  • Working Hours: Real estate agents who work longer hours, including evenings and weekends, often can close more transactions and thus earn more
  • Economic and Real Estate Market Conditions: The health of the overall economy and the local housing market can greatly impact an agent’s salary. During housing booms, real estate agents may earn significantly more than during slow periods

These factors aren’t exclusive to Illinois; they apply to real estate agents, in general. Illinois-specific factors will depend on the state’s current economy and housing market, which can change over time.

Interested in becoming a real estate agent? Check out our How to Get Your Illinois Real Estate License guide.

Understanding Commissions

Real estate agents get paid a percentage of a property’s selling price. The average commission is approximately 5% to 6% of a home’s sale price — usually split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent (listing agent).

If a house sells in Illinois for $500,000 and the agreed-upon commission rate is 6%, for example, the total commission would be $30,000. Typically, the seller’s and buyer’s agents will split this amount equally so each would then receive $15,000.

But, an agent won’t keep this entire amount. They also must split their commissions with the brokerage firm for whom they work. This split varies based on an agent’s agreement with their broker, and it could be anything from 50-50 to 90-10 in favor of the agent. If we assume a 70-30 split in favor of the agent in our example scenario, the agent would keep $10,500 while the broker would receive the remaining $4,500.

Remember, these are average figures. The specific amounts can vary based on a number of factors, including an agent’s agreement with their broker, the local market, and negotiations between the buyer, seller, and their respective agents. Most agents also must cover some additional business-related fees and expenses.

Variable Expenses

A real estate agent may encounter a range of variable expenses as part of their work, including, but not limited to:

  • Licensing and Professional Fees: These include license renewal fees, membership dues for local, state, and national professional associations, and access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database
  • Marketing Costs: These costs can range from online advertising, physical signs, and brochures to hosting open houses, and more. The more listings an agent has, the more they’re likely to spend on marketing
  • Office Expenses: If an agent’s broker doesn’t provide them with an office, they may have expenses related to maintaining a home office or renting office space. This can include furniture, office supplies, phone and internet services, etc
  • Technology Costs: This could include costs associated with maintaining a personal website, customer relationship management (CRM) software, premium email services, and other digital tools to enhance an agent’s productivity and client service

Remember, these expenses can vary based on factors like an agent’s location, their specific business, their client base, and more. Many of these expenses also may be tax-deductible, which can help reduce an agent’s overall tax liability.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Illinois

Becoming a real estate agent in Illinois involves meeting some basic requirements and taking several steps.

You must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. If you’re 18, you can still apply; however, the state of Illinois will consider you a real estate leasing agent vs. a real estate agent. In Illinois, a real estate leasing agent focuses on finding suitable tenants for properties and negotiating leases.

Here are the common steps required to obtain a real estate license:

  1. Complete pre-licensing education. You must complete 75 hours of pre-licensing education from an approved provider. This includes 60 hours of real estate topics and 15 hours of interactive coursework.
  2. Pass the state licensing exam. After completing your pre-licensing education, you must pass the Illinois Real Estate Exam. A third-party testing company will administer the exam on behalf of the state.
  3. Find a sponsoring broker. Before you apply for your real estate license, you must first find a broker who’ll oversee and mentor you during the start of your real estate career. Brokers manage all of the real estate agents who work under them.
  4. Apply for your license. After you pass the licensing exam and find a sponsoring broker, you can apply for your real estate license through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
  5. Complete post-licensing education. After obtaining their initial license, new agents must complete 45 hours of post-licensing education during their first renewal cycle. This should occur within the first two years of their original licensure.

The process of obtaining a license provides applicants with the knowledge they need to know about Illinois’ real estate laws, practices, and procedures. It also ensures new agents understand the complexities of real estate transactions — from contracts to closings.

Recommended Course

For Illinois real estate pre-licensing education classes, StateRequirement recommends:

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Real Estate Agent Salary Illinois FAQ

How much does a new real estate agent make in Illinois?

The average salary for a new real estate agent in Illinois is $46,467. However, their salary can range between $45,394 and $59,105. Top agents who work in larger markets like Chicago could make even more due to higher property prices in those areas. For more information, check out our How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make article.

What is the highest-paid real estate agent in Illinois?

The highest-paid real estate agents or brokers in Illinois typically include those who consistently sell high-value properties in affluent areas like Chicago. For example, a luxury commercial real estate agent or a residential real estate agent specialize in buying, selling, or renting high-end properties and often cater to high-profile clients.

How many hours do you need to become a real estate agent in Illinois?

To become a real estate agent in Illinois, you must complete 75 hours of pre-licensing education from an approved provider. This includes 60 hours of real estate topics and 15 hours of interactive coursework. After their initial licensure, an agent must complete 45 hours of post-licensing education within the next two years.

How hard is it to get a real estate license in Illinois?

Obtaining a real estate license in Illinois requires commitment and studying, and it’s generally considered manageable with proper preparation. You may encounter some challenges along the way, though, which may include mastering real estate law concepts and passing the licensing exam.

Do you need a degree to be a real estate agent in Illinois?

No. Having a college degree isn’t required to work as a real estate professional in Illinois. Agents need to be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete 75 hours of pre-licensing education, pass the state exam, and find a sponsoring broker.

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