Real estate brokers and sales agents held about 422,000 jobs in 2012. About 52 percent were self-employed.
Most of the remainder worked in the real estate industry in brokerage offices, leasing offices, and other real estate establishments. Workplace size can range from a one-person business to a large firm with numerous branch offices. Many brokers have franchise agreements with national or regional real estate companies. Under this arrangement, the broker pays a fee to be affiliated with a widely known real estate organization.
While some real estate brokers and sales agents work in a typical office environment, others are able to telecommute and work out of their homes. In both cases, however, real estate workers spend much of their time away from their desks showing properties to customers, traveling to see properties for sale, and meeting with prospective clients.
Many real estate brokers and sales agents work more than 40 hours per week. They often work evenings and weekends to accommodate clients' schedules. Many brokers and sales agents may spend a significant amount of time networking and attending community events to meet potential clients. Although they frequently work long or irregular hours, many can set their own schedules.
Some brokers and sales agents work part time and may combine their real estate activities with other careers.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition
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