Commentary Here’s How Much I Made In My First Year As A Property Agent (Complete Breakdown)
- May 23, 2020
- 7 min read
Google property agent income and just take a look at the number of results that is out there.
It’s an often talked about topic in the media as well.
Whether it be property agents pulling in the big bucks..
..or struggling to make ends meet.
You might have also seen images such as these shared over social media from your friends and family who are property agents.
So today, let me share with you my actual real to life income from my first year as a property agent – completely broken down for easy reading.
|Agency Renewal + CPD||–||–||–||–||–||–||-$500||–||–||–||–||–||–||-$500|
This was exactly how much I made in my first year in real estate, broken down into the 12 months – I grossed $83,705 for the year.
Sounds not too bad right?
Let me show you.
Like the images that you’ve seen on social media, the figure bandied about there are GROSS figures.
So out of this number, a portion is shaved off that goes back to paying your agency.
For first year property agents, this is at a tiered rate – much like how income tax works.
The numbers might have changed now, but when I started out it was:
The first $20,000 at 30%, the next $30,000 at 25%, the next $30,000 at 20%, and finally, everything beyond that is a 10% cut.
So taking that into account, my net commissions for the year was at $68,445.
While it looks like the first few months I was shooting blanks, it’s actually because there is a lag when it comes to the commissions coming in.
Most people don’t know this, but you don’t get paid immediately in most cases.
As a general rule of thumb, rental transactions are the fastest to close – it’s usually a week after the stamp duty is paid.
Resale transactions are the middle ground, where it takes 3 to 4 months for the transaction to be completed.
New launch sales are a bit of a double-edged sword.
It is the highest payout in terms of commissions, but you could also be waiting for 6 months or even up to a year to see anything coming in.
In this current Covid-19 climate, it won’t be any surprise to see these payout timelines being extended as well with the problems developers are facing.
As such, it is extremely vital for any property agent to be able to manage their cash flow well.
Just like any other business, really – which leads me to my next point.
|EP + SQF||-$500||-$500|
Marketing is such an immensely important part of this job – I cannot stress that enough.
From the beginning I took it upon myself to try out as many ways as possible of marketing myself.
While that didn’t translate to much sales in my first year, what I’ve learnt in that year has really set the foundations for what has been done so far with Stacked.
As the saying goes, “Great losses are great lessons.”
It was a learning experience to see what worked and what doesn’t.
Let me quickly go through my marketing expenses.
PropertyGuru does come in as a significant expense ($4,800), but like it or not, it is still a major contributor to expanding your reach.
There was a big hoo-ha about their price hikes, but any agent worth their salt would know that it is a worthwhile marketing expense.
In addition to that, I subscribed to both SRX, EdgeProp and Squarefoot as these had necessary tools that were essential to do proper research.
Now for the failed marketing “losses”.
It seems like such a Captain Obvious moment now when I look back, but being new to the industry, I ended up in a monkey see monkey do type of situation.
Most people get inundated with marketing flyers from agents in their mailbox, so naturally when I started out I resorted to doing the same thing.
If everyone is doing it – it has to work, right? (social proof at its best)
On hindsight after persisting with it for more than a year, I now recognise why it is also aptly nicknamed the “spray and pray” method.
There is no methodology to this way of marketing.
There’s no way of targeting, other than the address.
The worst part is you get absolutely no feedback, and no way of tracking how many people actually look at your flyer or use it to fold a paper trash bin.
In other words, and for the lack of a better word, it’s trash.
Another failed experiment was with classifieds.
While newspapers might still have its place for landed property, results from it were dismal enough that I stopped after doing it for 2 weeks.
The last marketing cost that I tried (and failed) was Facebook marketing.
Again, I wasn’t well versed in social media marketing at that point – so after 3 months it was money down the drain.
Total marketing expense for the year = $17,980
Like any freelancer or self employed person, you don’t enjoy any sort of CPF contribution.
So if you want any CPF at all, you’ll have to make CPF contributions of your own accord.
The only thing compulsory is Medisave contributions – as long as you earn above $6,000 per year – which formed a sizeable chunk in June of $4,400.
Lastly, I had two incidences of miscellaneous expenses that can be attributed to client expenses.
The first was as a result of handling lots of rental transactions.
Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet to make the situation between landlord and tenant amicable, so to me this was an expense necessary for peace of mind.
But the bulk of that really went to little gifts for clients – a small tip I learned from the undisputed king of sales, Joe Girard (he sold 1,425 cars in a single year).
Now of course personal expenses are very subjective, some people might feel there is no need to saddle yourself with debt for a car with the proliferation of taxi apps.
But for me, the first 3 months without a car was problematic during peak hours or rainy days – it was harder to control my punctuality for appointments.
As you can imagine, as a property agent your phone is practically glued to you so my handphone plan was maxed out at $140 per month.
Room rental in this case was the amount I paid every month for a shared office space.
It was nothing fancy, and it didn’t need to be as you are out and about most of the time.
As a result of moving around a lot, cashcard and petrol expenses formed a big bulk out of my monthly expenses at $800 give or take a month.
Recap: Lessons Learned
Total Expenses: $47,009
Personal Income: $21,436
It was nostalgic writing this piece and thinking about the struggle from my first year.
As you can see, my final take home was nowhere near the first amount bandied about.
But breaking it down like this really helped me to understand where my money was going, what I should be cutting down on, or what I should be spending more time on.
It’s really all about the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) – focusing on the right things will bring about a majority of your outcomes.
And that’s what happened with Stacked today.
I’ll be the first to admit that it has been a struggle sometimes.
Juggling writing, client consultations and doing research.
A lot of time has been dedicated to making sure that our content is something worth reading.
At the end of the day however, I do know that spending time on the right things will eventually provide me with the greatest growth – just as writing for Stacked over these past months has done for me.
And this has been a powerful reminder that spending time on the right things will provide the biggest impact.
I hope this has provided a greater insight into the income of a property agent. If you have any comments or feedback feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org