How much does it cost to be a Realtor?

The cost doing residential sales is probably one of the more expensive licensed professions. You are essentially building a business from scratch, your business.


There are a few requirements that have to be met in order to do residential sales. The first is getting a real estate salesperson license from the real estate commission.


Licensing Cost


The cost of becoming a licensed salesperson in the state of Texas is about $900. Like anything you can spend more, but I have chosen the less expensive options to give a starting range.


  • You must take 180 hours of real estate courses ($500+)
  • Then the test ($80)
  • Licensing fees from the real estate commission ($299)


Realtor Cost


Next you will have to join a local association of Realtors. This is required in order to have access to the multiple listing service (MLS), and the houses on it.


  • Application Fee ($150)
  • Board dues ($450/yr.), typically prorated
  • MLS dues ($250/quarter), $about $1k per year
  • Supra Key ($150/yr.)


Additional expenses that go along with being a Realtor


  • Advertising and Signage
  • Blue Box to lockup listings
  • Showing Service (depends on the market)
  • Digital Signature Software (Depends on the market)
  • Photographer for listings


Working for yourself


Being an independent contractor that is also a Realtor actually has less costs than working for a brokerage like a Keller Williams, Remax, or brokerage with an office location.


You determine how and when you spend on the expenses that are listed above and the only other cost is the cost of being sponsored by a broker, which is typically $99 per month.


Some brokers have a flat fee setup where they get a portion of the commission you receive, but you have your pick of broker sponsorship options out there, and you typically are able to earn 100% of the commission on the transactions you work.


Working for someone else


Working for a larger brokerage like KW or Remax will have a substantial cost added to your expenses. The trade-off is the brand recognition and the team atmosphere that you would be joining.


You will have a broker split of course, but you will also be splitting with the members on your team. Transaction Coordinator, Listing Manager, Buyer Specialist, Team Manager, Assistant, Showing Assistant, Lead Coordinator. You will have several hands in your pocket for every deal.


Fees with Big Name Brokerages


  • Franchise Fee
  • Advertising or Promo Fee
  • Office Fee
  • Transaction Fee
  • IT Fee
  • Desk Fee


These are some of the fees that are being assessed at the big-name brokerages that you are familiar with. I’m pretty sure no one company assesses all of these fees, but you will encounter a majority of them while looking for a broker.




If you are needed a little more hand-holding, and don’t mind the extra cost then working for a traditional big brokerage will probably be the best avenue for you.


Just keep in mind that you are probably not going to make very much to begin with, and you will need to close a large number of transactions in order to make a decent wage.


In contrast, being a independent contractor, working for a broker sponsor, you get to keep all of the commission and make your own decisions about how much you want to spend to get you business going.


You also do not have to close anywhere near as many deals in order to make a decent wage.

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