I wasn’t feeling too well yesterday so I had a lot of time to think.  After 23 years as a pharmacist, I retired  because it was getting too stressful (way too much work and fewer and fewer employees to help), and customers…well they were just not very nice and never appreciated what my job really entailed on a daily basis as their last line of defense between them and the physician. I.E.: being 100% accurate, making sure they got the right medication in the right dosage, making sure there was no drug interactions etc.   All they could see was their co-pays went up, their insurance didn’t pay for certain drugs, etc., and their ire and annoyance was always directed at me.

I decided to become a Realtor because I wanted to work with people, wanted to make my own hours, and I still AM a people person.  However, recently, I have found that clients/customers, still never understand what it is we do, and lately it it more and more underappreciated, if not ignored completely.  I calculated that a new listing  takes about 64 hours of my time, and sometimes more, not to mention the cost ($$) of maintaining websites and advertising (postcards, newsaper ads, e-flyers) Here’s what I calculated:

I use $30.00/hour (approx. a $62,000/year job) as my baseline.


Consists of compiling the proper listing information, filling out all necessary paperwork, touring the home, taking pictures, suggesting fix-ups, and reviewing the marketing process with the owner. Typically the first visit to your home takes about 2 hours of my time.                                    $60.


A market analysis takes about 2 hours to thoroughly research comparative properties and analyze them properly and prepare the report.  $60. 


Entering all the information from the listing detail sheets, uploading pictures, and writing the detailed information for other brokers takes another 2 hours.                                                                                       $60 


Approximately 30 minutes.                                                $15 


Uploading pictures, cropping and adjusting images, before uploading or using for print advertising, takes about 1 hour.                            $30 


A useful tool to have agents from other brokerage firms “preview” the home for their potential buyers and usually accompanied by a light lunch or snacks for the agents. Typically held from 12 till 2 PM, plus advertising, purchasing and pick-up of food-3 hours total.                                          $90 


Usually held on a Sunday from 1 to 4 PM, plus time to set up and remove directional signs, for a total of 6 hours.                                    $180 


It takes time to write and prepare strong advertising in a variety of media available.  I allocate approximately 11 hours for this including:

  • Preparation and design of 50-100 brochures to be placed inside the home and/or in lawn brochure boxes. $35 for printing 50 brochures and 2 hours of time, a total of                                                $95
  • Although most companies pay for an office advertisement in local papers, I often place my own individual ads for my own listings in local newspapers at least once during a listing period for a cost of                                                                                    $150-$250.
  • Design and mailing of 50-100 “Just Listed Cards” to local residents. 1 hour time and about $35 for mailing, total                              $65
  • Writing and designing the enhanced listing on Realtor.com takes about 1 hour                                                                        $30
  • I also have an “e-Farm” where I advertise my new listings to my farm area (certain areas where I concentrate my services) and other people in my sphere of influence via email.  Preparation of e-card takes approximately 1 hour                                         $30   
  • Scheduling and paying for a virtual tour (if ordered)-approximately 2 hours, plus cost of virtual tour at $60. Total                                                                                                                       $180
  • Entering listing into multiple internet websites, and two personal websites, including uploading photos, and maintaining the listing on those sites should changes occur, approximately 4 hours                                                                                                          $120 


Over the course of a listing, I estimate about 8 hours of phone/email time reviewing showings, feedback, etc.                                 $240 


Typically a listing which takes about 60 days to sell will have 20 or more showings which require my getting in contact with the agents for feedback.

Approximately 1.5 to 2 hours for 20 calls, including speaking to the agent, or leaving messages and following up on those messages.                                                                                                $60 


Depending on the particular property this can be 1 hour to 6 hours or more.                                                                          $30-$180 


Faxing all initial necessary paperwork to proper attorneys for attorney review, and copying paperwork for myself and the seller-1 hour.                                                                                                  $30 

This usually includes follow up to:

  • Verify deposits are received on time
  • Make sure all inspections are completed on time, reviewing the inspection report with the seller, and insuring all repair issues addressed
  • Confirm mortgage commitments dates are met
  • Receive and copy faxes from attorneys for complete records of correspondence
  • Make frequent contact with sellers, sellers attorney and selling agent to keep everyone on track
  • Verify utilities are changed over once a firm closing date is obtained
  • Schedule, and attend, necessary township inspections for Certificates of Occupancy and Fire Code compliance. Approximately 1-4 hours
  • Fax necessary paperwork to attorneys and the selling agency when the need arises

All this takes approximately 12 to 18 hours.                        $360-$540. 


I allow about 1-2 hours for attending the closing.                 $30-$60. 

My total for time (64 hours) and actual out of pocket expenses is $2375 for a home on the market 60 days.You might well say if the average home sells for $360,000 in our area, at 5% commission that is still $18,000.  Isn’t that a huge profit? The facts of the matter are: 

  • NOT ALL HOMES SELL Even with my experience, there is always a chance every time I list a home. There are no sure things. 
  • I DON’T GET ALL THE MONEY.  If another agency sells the home, each agency gets a portion of the money, typically half the total commission. At a 50% commission split between agent and agency, the commission each agent will receive, based on the above example, will be $4500. ($18,000 split between two agencies, then split again between each agency and their agent.)  Most agencies also charge company fees for office maintenance.  Mine is 6% of my total commission before taxes. My total commission would be $4230 minus the “man hours” put into selling the home for a net total of $1855. And remember, my “salary” is only paid when we close, which can be 4 to 6 months AFTER we list the house.
  • These factors and others, explain why people like myself work hard to earn our fee for service. Often it takes more  than that to make a transaction work and keep it together. 

ON the buyer side, there’s several factors.  Buyers do not always end up buying anything, often after several weeks/months of showing houses. One in every 5 buyers usually ends up actually purchasing a home. Once they decide to purchase, especially if they are first time buyers (the majority of my buyers), it’s my duty and obligation, not to mention my need to make sure everyone is on the same page,  to walk them through the entire process, reminding them what they need to do, where they are in the process and following up along the way. Here’s what I calculated:

Showing 15 houses          8-10 hours

Market analysis                  2 hours

Contract writing                2 hours

Contract negotiating        5 hours (to a few days)

Follow up                              20-25 hours (payments due, attorney communication, contingencies met, inspections, calls to other realtor)

Closing                                 2 hours

TOTAL                                 46 hours (for a buyer who gets to closing)

I know that being a pharmacist and being a Realtor may seem far apart in the education and training aspect, but being a Realtor ( GOOD one), takes about as much energy, time, accuracy, problem solving, communication skills, and commitment as does being a pharmacist.

I wish people would understand that, just as in pharmacy where potential disasters are more likely caught by the pharmacist before reaching the patient, in real estate, potential disasters are often caught and remedied by the Realtor, NOT the attorneys.  Realtors may not be number 1 in trust amonst the public, (which pharmacists are), but we do work awfully hard to do our jobs to the satisfaction of everyone involved.