Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Salespeople with an interest in real estate but a preference for more structure than the typical real estate agent experiences often turn to new-home sales as an alternative to a traditional real estate salesperson's career. Although any real estate agent can sell new construction as either the listing agent or a buyer's agent, as a new-home sales representative you'll work for a building contractor, selling that contractor's homes, rather than for a real estate broker. Whereas most home sales have four parties who need to be paid -- the listing and selling brokers and their agents -- new-constructions sales have just the contractor and the salesperson. This often translates to higher earnings than are typical for traditional real estate sales.
Most new-home sales representatives earn at least part of their wages through commissions on the sales they make. The percentage of commission you'll earn depends on your agreement with the contractor you work for. Whereas some contractors only pay commission, some offer a base salary plus commission or a commission draw, which is an advance that you repay as you earn your commissions.
Salaried real estate sales agents, including new-home sales agents, earned a median annual wage of $40,150 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,120 while the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,860. Brokers did better, with median wages of $57,500.
Salaries in New Construction vs. Other Industries
Salaried salespeople working in the residential construction industry earned substantially more than salespeople in other real-estate industries. Their median wage was $49,620 in 2008, compared to salespeople working in real estate agent and broker offices, who earned $41,320. Brokers who sell residential construction earned a median of $63,280 compared to brokers in real estate agent and broker offices, who earned $59,710.
Factors Affecting Earnings
New-home sales, like all real estate sales, are particularly vulnerable to economic conditions. The most relevant economic indicator is housing starts, which are new, privately owned homes built during a specific period. Recessions drive high numbers of salespeople out of the profession entirely and force many who remain to supplement their incomes with part-time or full-time jobs. Note, however, that markets are local. National, and even regional, statistics are far less telling than your local market’s statistics.