How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in Washington

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in Washington

The real estate industry in Washington state offers many opportunities for agents to earn a substantial income. Yet, numerous factors can influence the earning potential of a real estate agent in this competitive market.

This article covers the average real estate agent salary in Washington as well as the key factors influencing an agent’s potential earnings. It also provides an overview of an agent’s commission structure and other income variables in an effort to answer the question: “How much does a real estate agent make in Washington?”

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Real Estate Agent Salary Washington

Many factors can impact real estate agents’ earnings in Washington. Some common examples include:

  • Experience: Washington’s real estate agents earn an average of $98,516 per year. Established agents who’ve built a strong network of clients and referrals over time often enjoy higher incomes
  • Local Housing Market Conditions: Those who sell real estate in high-demand regions with robust property values have a greater earning potential due to higher property prices and transaction volumes vs. agents working in less competitive or slower markets
  • Specializations and Niche Markets: Agents who specialize in luxury properties, commercial real estate, or niche segments like eco-friendly homes or retirement communities can command higher commissions given the unique demands of their clientele
  • Location: Washington boasts diverse markets — from urban areas like Seattle to rural communities. Agents working in the highest-paying cities tend to have a greater earning potential
  • Work Hours: Agents who put in more time and effort — including during evenings and weekends — have a higher potential to generate leads, meet with clients, and close transactions thereby leading to an increased income

Numerous factors can play a role in determining a real estate agent’s income in Washington. By keeping pace with market trends, continuously honing their skills, and fostering strong client relationships, agents can help maximize their income in Washington’s real estate industry.

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

Understanding Commissions

A real estate agent’s salary is commission-based. The commission rate is a percentage of a property’s final sale price — usually around 5% to 6%. The different parties involved in the transaction, including the seller’s agent (listing agent), the buyer’s agent, and their respective brokerage firms then divide the commission amount.

Let’s say the agreed-upon commission rate is 6% of the final home sale price for a property that sells for $500,000. In this example, the commission would total $30,000. If the seller’s and buyer’s agents split the commission evenly, each would earn $15,000.

Assuming both agents have a 70-30 split agreement with their brokerage companies, each would keep $10,500 of their $15,000 commission earnings and give the remaining $4,500 to their brokers.

By understanding how commissions work, you can make informed decisions when navigating real estate transactions.

Variable Expenses

Business expenses associated with a real estate agent’s work can vary, depending on their operating model, location, level of activity, and personal preferences. Here are some common expenses:

  • Licensing Fees: Real estate agents must complete continuing education (CE) courses to maintain and renew their licenses. This involves paying CE course and license renewal fees
  • Professional Fees and Membership Dues: Many agents incur professional fees and membership dues related to joining real estate associations and accessing multiple listing service (MLS) databases
  • Office Expenses: Those who operate from their own office space or have a physical office within their home may have variable expenses like rent, utilities, office supplies, furniture, and equipment
  • Technology and Software Costs: This category may include customer relationship management (CRM) systems, website maintenance, transaction management software, virtual tour software, and other digital tools
  • Marketing and Advertising Fees: These expenses can include online advertising, professional photography, virtual tours, brochures, signage, social media campaigns, and other promotional materials

Note that the expenses listed above can vary. Agents should track and manage their variable expenses carefully to ensure tax compliance, profitability, and maintenance of a healthy financial foundation in their work.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Washington

Washington only provides licenses to real estate brokers, not salespersons. To obtain a Washington real estate license, you must follow these steps: 

  1. Complete pre-licensing education. First, you must enroll in and complete 90 hours of pre-licensing courses from a state-approved real estate school. These Washington real estate courses cover fundamental topics, such as real estate principles, practices, and laws.
  2. Pass the Washington state broker exam. After completing the pre-licensing course, you must pass the Washington state real estate exam for brokers. A testing provider approved by the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) administers this exam.
  3. Undergo a fingerprint-based background check. As part of the licensing process, you must undergo a background check. The DOL will conduct a review of your criminal history and determine your eligibility for a real estate license.
  4. Submit your license application. Once you pass the exam, you may submit an application to the DOL for a real estate license. This’ll require you to provide some personal information, evidence that you completed the pre-licensing education, your passing exam results, and proof of payment for the required application fees.
  5. Obtain errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. Before receiving your license, you must obtain E&O insurance coverage. This insurance will protect you from potential liability arising from errors or omissions in your professional activities.
  6. Find a sponsoring broker. Along with completing your license application, you must obtain a sponsoring principal broker to certify your application.

Holding a valid real estate license enables you to legally work in the property industry.

Recommended Course

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

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Real Estate Agent Salary Washington FAQ

How much money do real estate agents make in Washington state?

Aspiring real estate agents in Washington must directly apply for a broker’s license because the state doesn’t offer agent/salesperson licenses. Real estate incomes in Washington state can vary. The average salary is $98,516 per year compared to the national average of $86,356 per year. Learn more about real estate professionals’ income by visiting our Real Estate Agent Salary page.

How much do real estate agents make in Washington per sale?

Washington only provides real estate broker licenses. Real estate brokers in Washington typically earn a commission based on a percentage of a property’s final sale price. The specific commission rate can vary, but is commonly around 5% to 6% of the sale price. The seller’s and buyer’s agents then typically divide this evenly.

Is real estate a good career in Washington state?

Real estate can be a rewarding career in Washington given the state’s strong housing market and various opportunities. However, success in the field depends on factors like market conditions, competition, and individual effort. You should conduct thorough research and gain additional skills before pursuing a real estate career. Visit our Real Estate Salesperson Licensing page for more information.

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

The highest-paid type of real estate agent tends to be luxury residential real estate agents and brokers or commercial real estate agents who specialize in commercial properties like office buildings, retail spaces, and industrial properties. The salary range for a luxury real estate agent is $65,000 to $100,000 with top earners making $125,000 annually across the country.

How many hours does it take to get a real estate license in Washington state?

To get your real estate license in Washington state, you need to complete a 90-hour, pre-licensing course from a state-approved real estate education provider. The duration of the course may vary, depending on the school and the format of the program (in person or online), but it typically takes several weeks to complete.

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