real estate agent expenses

Top Real Estate Agent Expenses

When thinking about becoming a real estate agent, two huge benefits often come to mind: independence and potential income. But these don’t come without a price. Nearly all real estate agent expenses related to your business will need to be paid out of pocket.

According to, each year real estate agents spend an average of $5,000 on out-of-pocket expenses. Of course, the costs can vary greatly from agent to agent. Remember too that many of these expenses are tax deductible.

Below is a list of the top three real estate agent expenses you are likely to incur.

#1: Licensing and education fees

There are a number of real estate agent expenses associated with obtaining a license. Most states generally require 30 hours of real estate pre-licensing education. Once you’ve passed all of your real estate pre-licensing courses, you’ll apply to take the state licensing exam. The cost of the exam itself, and other expenses associated with the exam, will vary slightly from state to state. Once you pass your exam, you will be required to take real estate continuing education courses in order to keep your real estate license. (Again, the frequency and number of credits required vary by state.) But the learning doesn’t stop there. According to ActiveRain, about 50% of agents spend an additional $500 per year on additional education and training.

Examples of real estate licensing and education expenses include:

  • Real Estate Pre-Licensing Courses: $135 to $600
  • Real Estate Calculator: $90 to $240.
  • Real Estate State Licensing Exam: $75 to $115
  • FBI Background Check: $64 to $95
  • Real Estate License Fee: $45 to $100
  • Fingerprinting: $30 to $65
  • Continuing Education: $100
  • Additional Education and Training: $500/year

FREE DOWNLOAD: Start-Up and First-Year Costs for Real Estate Agents

#2: Advertising costs

Advertising is a large expense for real estate agents, especially as you’re trying to grow your customer base. In order to prevent overspending, create a well-thought-out advertising plan and budget that includes both paid and free advertising.

Here are some examples of potential advertising expenses:

  • Real Estate Website: $100 to $500/month
  • Online Advertising: $100 to $500/month (includes pay per click, Internet lead generation, social media, premium placements on real estate sites)
  • Print Advertising: $100 to 500/month (includes yard signs, mailers, newspapers)

#3: Transportation costs

Real estate agents put an estimated 3.6 billion miles on their cars each year as they drive to preview properties and shuttle clients from house to house. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the single largest expense category for most agents is vehicle expenses. When you’re estimating your annual real estate agent expenses, be sure to account for auto insurance, gas, and maintenance costs.

Learn more about a career in real estate

Looking for a career change? Do you have questions about a career in real estate? Download our free guide: Is a Real Estate Career Right for You?

Free Download: Start-Up and First-Year Costs for Real Estate Agents