Why Get a Real Estate License?

If you want to work as a real estate agent in Canada or the United States, getting a real estate license is a must.

In Canada, holding a real estate license is required to join a real estate board and the Canadian Real Estate Association. These organizations can provide you with tremendous resources and assistance, including access to marketing materials and MLS property listing system. 
You must also hold a license to use the REALTOR® trademark in Canada or the U.S.
Also, only licensed individuals are allowed to earn commissions from representing buyers and sellers in real estate transactions.
More about this later.

First, let’s take a closer look at the many career paths that are available to licensed real estate agents.

Career Paths for Licensed Real Estate Professionals

As a licensed real estate agent or broker, you have a variety of career paths open to you. Most of us are familiar with residential real estate agents – salespeople who represent sellers and buyers of homes and condominiums. But real estate professionals are also in demand in a variety of other contexts, as well. Examples include:


Commercial real estate

These agents help businesses buy, sell, or lease business properties from retail stores and strip mall sites all the way to massive commercial real estate developments.

Property management

Licensed real estate professionals own and work in property management firms, acting as leasing agents, and ensuring the property complies with landlord-tenant laws and habitability regulations. They also ensure lease documents are legally written and executed, and that evictions – if needed – comply with applicable laws.

Property development

Property development companies profit by buying, developing, and then selling or leasing real estate. They do not rely on licensed real estate professionals however they do partner up with brokerages to assist in further marketing the new development and to find buyers. Real Estate agents can assist their buyer clients by ensuring documents are properly drawn up and executed. Some firms look to sell their properties as quickly as possible for a profit; Other firms keep the property on their books to generate income. In this case, the developer will rely on experienced real estate professionals to act as property managers, responsible for preserving and improving the market value of their investment asset.

Appraisal firms

Appraisers are real estate experts trained to estimate the value of specific properties. Banks and other lenders rely on them to provide “eyes on” expertise to ensure that any property they lend on is valuable enough to justify the amount being borrowed to buy it. Appraisers carefully inspect the property, estimate the cost of repairs needed to bring the property up to par, and estimate the market value of the property based on recent sales of nearby similar properties.

Sometimes buyers will also hire an independent appraiser, in order to get a professional “second opinion” on the value of a property they are considering acquiring.

If there are few or no comparable recent sales (called “comps” in the real estate business), the lender or buyer relies on the appraiser’s professional judgment and expertise to come up with a reasonable estimate.
Some real estate agents have past education whereby they can do an appraisal for their clients.

To become a full-fledged Designated Appraiser with the Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers, licensed Realtors must take additional two to four years of coursework in either residential or commercial appraising practices, ethics, and statistics.

Individual investors

You don’t need to have a real estate license to be a successful individual real estate investor. But many successful investors believe getting licensed is worth the time and effort. First, the technical knowledge of real estate transactions you gain in the process will be invaluable through your investing career.

Second, holding a license demonstrates your commitment to adhering the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Code of Ethics. When you’re competing with other investors for a deal, this may be the differentiator that sets you apart, and wins you the bid.

Third, holding a license allows you to make money in many different ways besides your direct real estate investment activities. Active investors frequently run into opportunities that may not be perfect for their own portfolio, but may be great investments for a friend or colleague. With your own license, you can enjoy access to the MLS. So you can find out about properties for sale right away. You won’t rely on some other agent to get around to alerting you (or taking the deal for themselves!)

Fourth, holding a license allows you as an individual investor to earn commissions (or save on paying commissions for your own investment property). This can open a significant potential revenue stream for yourself and your investment business. With a license and commission income, you can make money from a deal without having to commit your own capital, take investment risk, or developing the property yourself!

No matter which of these paths you choose during your career, holding and maintaining a real estate license is a critical first step.

Unlimited Income Potential

Real estate agents engaged in sales enjoy truly unlimited income profession. There are no “caps” on what you can earn as a real estate agent. You don’t have to wait on someone else to retire before you can get a promotion. The only limiting factor on your income potential is you.
Top real estate professionals make six figures per year in commissions. A few in the very elite circles of the profession make millions.

That said, there are many real estate agents that struggle, even a few years into the profession.

Agents who are successful tend to be very disciplined, and treat their enterprise like a business, not like a hobby.

Be your own boss.

As a real estate sales professional, you alone can determine your working hours, your methods, and how you do business. Some broker firms will offer you mentorship and guidance. But you are ultimately responsible for your own success.

Successful agents almost always work a lot of hours in their early years. But you yourself get to pick what hours you work, and what you do with those hours. Hopefully you’ll be meeting lots of sellers and buyers and showing lots of properties!


You’re never “unemployed.”

We’re all familiar with tragic stories about laid-off workers. These are good, hard-working people. But they rely on someone else to give them permission to work and earn money. When their employers decide to cut back, these good, decent wage-earners and their families suffer.

As a real estate sales agent, you will never have this problem. No one will prevent you from taking it on yourself to find people who need to buy, sell, rent out, or lease real estate. In fact, when times are tough and other people are getting laid off in large numbers, there is often opportunity for enterprising, flexible real estate professionals.

Let’s talk turkey: How much do licensed real estate professionals make in Canada?

Few real estate professionals in Canada work on salary or by the hour. The vast majority of income earned by licensed real estate professionals is in commissions from real estate sales or leases.

Because of this, actual income earned by real estate agents is highly variable. It’s all over the map, so any “averages” are going to be of limited value.

However, the according to research from WOWA, the median income of real estate agents in Canada is $46,212, as of 2022.

But as we mentioned – “median” doesn’t tell you much. All it tells you is that half of the agents made more that year, and half of them made less.

But that median varies widely, depending on the province and the city.

So here’s a breakdown by province, listing the approximate high- and low-income range as well as the province median earnings for real estate agents.
Canadian Real Estate Agent Earnings by Province, 2021
Community/Area Salary ($/year)
   10th percentile Median 90th percentile
Canada 24,746 46,212 134,783
Alberta 31,668 47,398 130,309
British Columbia 32,959 54,354 139,847
Manitoba 25,167 48,408 137,428
New Brunswick 26,852 50,332 97,632
Newfoundland and Labrador 27,799 61,130 205,038
Northwest Territories N/A N/A N/A
Nova Scotia N/A N/A N/A
Nunavut N/A N/A N/A
Ontario 31,668 45,586 140,661
Prince Edward Island N/A N/A N/A
Quebec 29,862 39,562 103,711
Saskatchewan 24,933 53,162 116,249
Yukon Territory N/A N/A N/A
      Source: www.jobbank.gc.ca

As you can see. Agents in Newfoundland and Labrador tend to out-earn agents in Quebec. And the top 10% of agents in Newfoundland and Labrador make over $200,000 per year.

You can click any of the provinces and see the figures for the major cities and towns within each province. For example, you can click on Ontario in the graphic above, and see that the median agent in Kitchener, Waterloo and Barrie Region earns slightly more than agents in other parts of Ontario.

However, most experienced and successful real estate professionals would tell you don’t worry about the low- and median-income levels listed here. That’s because you don’t have to be in the bottom half of the profession if you don’t want to. The bottom half of income earners includes people who treat the profession like a hobby, people with poor work habits, people who don’t prospect or reinvest in their business, and part-timers.

If you get quality training and mentorship, and you are disciplined and willing to work hard, there is no reason you can’t quickly attain well above the median earnings level in your area. And the sky’s the limit from there.


Get Started!

If you are interested in a real estate career, and you have a positive attitude, commitment, and drive to put in a full-time effort, Web Max Realty is looking for you.

Whether you’re already licensed, you’re currently going through your real estate pre-licensing coursework, or you’re just seriously interested in starting an exciting and dynamic career in real estate sales, we’re eager to speak with you.

Click here to find out more about working with Canada’s leading real estate brokerage.