Last week, Linda Day Harrison, creator of the terrific theBrokerList, along with marketing platform provider, Buildout, published their findings from their national commercial real estate survey, The DNA of CRE. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend you review it.

The survey shared several trends and practices of your commercial real estate peers, including support, tenure, social media and yes, commission benchmarks. The team was gracious to share with me the raw data collected, and as such I thought I would dig deeper into the commission data, and see if there are trends that produce the greatest commission income.

In this first of two blogs, we will look at 4 of the 8 keys to higher commercial real estate commission earnings.

Before we dive into the data itself, it is vital that we share characteristics of the data that may, in fact, skew the findings, or more practically, shed light on its direct application to you and your personal business.

Here are several key data points you need to be aware of:

  • Several hundred people completed this survey
  • All regions of the US were represented, and equally.
  • 45% of the respondents were from national firms, with 55% from independent firms.
  • 46% hold CCIM designations, 13% held SIOR designations (thus you may assume commissions would be higher than the average)

To keep things simple I recalculated the data, to look at 4 distinct buckets of commission earnings.

  • Less than $100,0000
  • Between $100,001 and $200,000
  • Between $200,001 and $500,000, and
  • Greater than $500,000

Based on the data collected, here are the first series of observations.

Age and Income: Of those surveyed, 23% made less than $100,000 GCI while 16% earned over $500,000 in Gross commission income. For those looking to make over $500,000 GCI, the key earning years seems to be between 40 and 60 years old; representing over 60% of all high earners. If you are in this range, this is your prime earning time. If you are not there, call us now.

Tenure and Income: Age is not a direct reflection of tenure. However, of those surveyed, just about 70% had more than 11 years of experience, yet these same pools of respondents accounted for 87% of those earning more than $500,000 GCI. Note, just over 2% of those with less than 1 year of experience earned over $500,000 GCI. So, there is still opportunities to earn high commission dollars when you first start out, but the longer you stay in the game the better are your chances of earning more.

Marketing Support and Income: Providing marketing support has a significant impact on one’s ability to earn more. Respondents were asked if they were provided marketing support from their firm. 67% declared they did receive marketing support. More telling is 23% of those surveyed, who receive marketing support earned greater than $500,000 compared to just over 2% for those that did not. If you don’t have marketing support – get it and get it now. Virtual assistant, outsource, part-time, full-time, doesn’t matter.

Product Type Versus Income: There is always suggestions that one product is better than another when it comes to earning commissions. For example, I have often heard “if you really want to earn the big bucks, focus on _______!” The survey findings suggest otherwise however. For example, while multi-family was the focus for 14.19% of all respondents, it also represented 14.6% of all those earning greater than $500,000. The deviation was not significant enough to suggest focusing on multi-family would be better than focusing on some alternative product type. This was true across all product types. So, be careful not to fall in to “the grass in always greener trap”.


These are the first four of the eight observations I wanted to share with you regarding high commission findings. In the next blog, we will look at the impact of location, designation and company affiliation and biggest concerns.

At the Massimo Group, our coaching clients earn more than 7X their average CRE peers. If you would like to learn how one of the world’s top producing brokers consistently out-earns his peers, click here for a free video series.

Bob Knakal Free Video Series

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