How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in Rhode Island

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in Rhode Island

Working as a real estate agent in Rhode Island can provide a rewarding career, but it’s important to understand the potential income that comes with the role. Agents earn their income through commissions, which can fluctuate due to factors like their experience level and sales volume as well as market demand. 

This article addresses the question, “How much does a real estate agent make in Rhode Island?”, helping you better understand the average real estate agent salary in Rhode Island, how commissions get distributed, and the financial considerations associated with real estate transactions.

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Real Estate Agent Salary Rhode Island

Real estate agent salaries can differ due to several factors, including:

  • Experience: The average real estate salary in Rhode Island is $78,874 per year. With experience comes increased market knowledge, enhanced negotiation skills, and a larger network of clients — all of which can contribute to higher earnings.
  • Sales Volume: Higher sales volumes or larger transactions can lead to substantial commissions thereby increasing an agent’s income. In addition, securing listings with higher-priced properties can potentially yield larger commissions.
  • Market Demand: High-demand markets with robust property values usually offer agents more opportunities to earn higher commissions. 
  • Location: Urban areas in Rhode Island with thriving economies and growing populations tend to generate more business and potential clients, which can lead to higher earnings for agents.
  • Work Hours: Real estate agent jobs differ, and those who’re willing to work longer hours — including evenings and weekends — can accommodate the schedules of busy clients. That can increase an agent’s likelihood of securing more transactions and closing deals.

Remember, these factors can evolve over time. Understanding them can help you strategically position yourself to build a successful real estate career.

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

Understanding Commissions

Real estate agents earn commissions based on a percentage of a property’s final sale price, and then divide their share of each commision between themselves and their brokerage company. The standard commission percentage is 5% to 6%, but it can vary. 

Let’s suppose a residential property sells for $500,000 with an agreed-upon commission rate of 6%. In this example, let’s also assume a typical split of 50% for both the listing agent (also called a seller’s agent) and the buyer’s agent. The commission for this transaction would total $30,000, and both the listing and buyer’s agents would receive $15,000. 

Brokerage companies typically charge a fee based on a percentage of an agent’s commission. Let’s assume a 30% broker fee for this example, which would total $4,500. After deducting the broker’s fee, the listing agent’s net commission would be $10,500. The buyer’s agent’s net commission would be the same if they also have a 70-30 split agreement with their broker.

While commissions represent the primary source of income for agents, they also must consider a variety of work-related expenses that can impact their overall earnings. 

Variable Expenses

Variable expenses that can directly impact an agent’s income refer to costs that fluctuate based on an agent’s level of business activity. Here are some common variable expenses real estate agents incur:

  • Licensing Fees: Most states require agents to renew and maintain their licenses. This usually requires completing continuing education (CE) requirements and paying the necessary renewal fees.
  • Advertising and Marketing Costs: Agents may allocate a portion of their income to various marketing efforts, such as online advertising, print materials, signage, social media promotions, and property staging. The amount an agent spends on marketing can vary, depending on their budget and the specific needs of each listing.
  • Professional Fees and Membership Dues: Agents may choose to join professional associations, such as the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which charge membership dues. Other professional fees may stem from attending industry conferences or networking events to stay up-to-date with market trends and maintain their professional credentials.
  • Transaction-Related Expenses: During a real estate transaction, agents may incur costs related to home inspections, appraisals, property surveys, title searches, and legal services. While their clients might pay for some (or all) of these expenses, agents may need to cover certain costs upfront and secure reimbursement at closing.
  • Technology and Software Costs: Real estate agents invest in various technology tools and software applications as part of their office equipment. This may include customer relationship management (CRM) software, website hosting services, email marketing tools, virtual tour software, and other industry-specific software applications.

These expenses directly relate to an agent’s transactions so can vary from month to month or year to year. It’s important for real estate agents to track and manage their variable expenses carefully to ensure they align with their income and overall business goals. 

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Rhode Island

To work as a real estate agent in Rhode Island, you must take a series of steps and meet specific requirements set by the Real Estate Commission within the State of Rhode Island’s Department of Business Regulation. Here’s a general overview of the real estate licensing process:

  1. Complete pre-licensing education. You must successfully complete a 45-hour, pre-licensing course from an approved real estate education provider in Rhode Island. The course covers topics like real estate principles and practices, contracts, property ownership, finance, and Rhode Island laws and regulations.
  2. Pass the real estate license exam. After completing your pre-licensing education, you must pass the Rhode Island real estate licensing exam. Administered by Pearson VUE, this exam will test your knowledge of real estate principles, laws, and regulations. You’ll need to schedule a time to take it and pay the exam fee.
  3. Undergo a background check. The next step involves checking your criminal history record. Rhode Island requires all applicants to undergo a background check. You may obtain a copy of your criminal history record from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation within the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office. 
  4. Obtain errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. Rhode Island requires real estate licensees to have E&O insurance coverage. You should obtain an E&O insurance policy from an approved provider and then submit proof of that coverage with your license application.
  5. Submit your license application. Once you pass the exam, you can submit your license application to the state’s Real Estate Commission. This application requires information about your personal background, education, exam results, and any relevant experience.

By obtaining a real estate license in Rhode Island, you can lawfully practice real estate within the state while ensuring your compliance with state regulations and professional standards.

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

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Real Estate Agent Salary Rhode Island FAQ

How much does a real estate agent make in Rhode Island?

An agent’s income in Rhode Island can vary based on factors like their experience, productivity, and commission rate as well as market conditions. Currently, the average salary for real estate agents in Rhode Island is $78,874 per year. For more information, visit our Real Estate Agent Salary page.

How much do realtors make in Rhode Island?

Realtors in this state can earn an average base salary of $73,304 per year. Actual earnings may vary, though, based on factors like an agent’s experience and additional skills as well as market conditions. Realtors are licensed real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

What is the highest-paid type of real estate agent?

The highest-paid type of real estate agent can vary, depending on factors like location, specialization, and market conditions. Luxury real estate agents and brokers who specialize in high-end properties as well as commercial agents involved in large-scale transactions have the potential to earn higher incomes than agents focused on residential properties.

Can real estate agents in Rhode Island earn more by selling higher-priced properties?

Yes. Once you get your real estate license in Rhode Island, you can potentially earn higher commissions by selling higher-priced properties. Because commissions are a percentage of a property’s sale price, selling more expensive properties — especially in the highest-paying cities like Providence and Warwick — can lead to increased earnings for an agent.

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Rhode Island?

Becoming a real estate agent in Rhode Island involves completing the required pre-licensing education courses, passing the licensing exam, submitting to a background check, and applying for your license. This process can take several weeks to a few months, depending on your pace and schedule.

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