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Best States to Be a Real Estate Agent

High average annual salary, low cost of living, and a growing market. These are the makings of a conducive ecosystem for real estate success.

If you’re on the hunt for the best states to be a real estate agent, you’ve come to the right place. West Virginia, Vermont, and Mississippi take the trophy for the best states to be a real estate agent. Seven other states join these three in our comprehensive guide.

Caution: our criteria were strict, and some of the most popular real estate states, like Hawaii, failed to make the cut. Instead, you can find the Aloha State on our list of states you should avoid.

Below, I reveal the top destinations for real estate agents based on the perfect blend of income potential, affordability, and market growth indicators. You’ll discover the ten leading states for agents to launch their careers, grow their businesses, and achieve financial success. Now, let’s dive into the journey through America’s top real estate hotspots!

Top 10 States to Be a Real Estate Agent

With flexible hours and the opportunity to help clients, becoming a real estate agent is an exciting prospect. Pair all those benefits with states that promote career growth. Then, you will have an excellent foundational recipe for success.

Below are some of the best states to be a real estate agent:

1. West Virginia

Home to some of the best mountains in the country, West Virginia is an adventure seeker’s paradise. But it is also the best state to wield your real estate agent license.

According to, the state has the highest annual average salary among all the states, settled at $111,744. Couple that with the 9th lowest cost of living, and you see why West Virginia is any realtor’s dream.

2. South Dakota

Acres of corn, soybeans, and fossil beds at the Badlands National Park? It may seem like there is no room for real estate in South Dakota. But we can assure you of the contrary. The home of the Coyotes has an average salary of $100,735.

Real estate agents in South Dakota can also enjoy a low cost of living because of the state’s seventh-place rank.

3. Alabama

Backed by rich history and vibrant culture, life in Alabama is a daily adventure. The Yellowhammer State takes 3rd place on our list. Its rank is due to its low cost of living and good annual salary of $93,944. In fact, Alabama is the second cheapest state to start your career.

4. Montana

Beyond the natural beauty and minerals beneath the surface, Montana is one of the best states for agents to call home. The state has the seventh-highest average agent salary. That number rests at $102,469. The Treasure State is the 15th cheapest state to live in.

5. North Dakota

With a projected annual average of $99,600, North Dakota, with its diverse greenery and National Parks, is a worthy state for real estate agents. We also celebrate the Peace Garden State for its low cost of living, which ranks it in 11th place nationwide.

6. Iowa

I know what you are thinking. It’s the same thing we all feel when we see the state’s name imprinted anywhere. Bacon.

But Iowa is more than the country’s leading pork producer. The Hawkeye state is the country’s 5th cheapest state. In Iowa, agents can also anticipate a good average salary of $91,053.

7. Mississippi

The Magnolia State is the most affordable in the country. Pair that with the moderate annual average salary of $80,383, and you have the seventh-best state for agents to plant their roots.

8. Michigan

Michigan has a moderate cost of living, ranking it in 24th place. The state has a lucrative annual salary of $99,712. These factors combined make Michigan an excellent state for real estate agents.

9. Utah

The Beehive State not only houses the Great Salt Lake and high-speed races on the Bonneville salt flats but also provides a conducive environment for agent growth.

The Salt Lake state is affordable, placed in 25th place by U.S News. It also has one of the best annual salaries in the country, with an income of $95,336.

10. Georgia

We give you the four P’s: peaches, peanuts, pecans, and profitability. The home of Coca-Cola offers the 20th best salary for real estate agents. This number rests at $94,036. Add a 27th-place affordability rank to the equation, and you have the 10th state to hang your real estate certificate and build a booming career.

Key Ranking Factors

Those are the top ten states for real estate agents. But how did we come to that conclusion? Here are a few ranking metrics we used to determine the best states for you to get your license:

Income Potential

One of the best parts of being a real estate agent is the unlimited income potential. But, income potential varies widely across states. 

The average real estate agent’s salaries range from around $29,130 on the low end to over $113,320 in top-tier states. This divergence, documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, stems mainly from differing home prices and commission rates.

Markets with luxury sectors also drive higher incomes for high-end listings. For example, in California, where million-dollar homes abound, the typical agent salary is $69,750 versus $46,370 in Tennessee, with far fewer high-value sales.

Understanding regional earning ability and factors like commissions, home values, and luxury market strength aids agents seeking abundant income prospects. Top destinations tout higher average salaries, high-end sales, and commissions, allowing prosperous broker and agent careers.

Cost of Living

Our final factor of consideration is the cost of living. While lucrative incomes may draw agents to certain markets, expenses impacting take-home pay must also be weighed. Look at it this way: a good salary can feel insufficient in a state with a high cost of living.

It’s essential to look at several elements when assessing this factor. Examine average area rents, median home values, property tax rates, income tax brackets, and typical closing expenses. These will help you understand the incomes required to live comfortably.

Cost drivers like mortgage payments, property taxes, income tax rates, and closing costs on deals can vary substantially between states.

For example, New York promises big commissions but also carries the second-highest living costs in the country. Comparing affordability indicators helps agents choose destinations, aligning earnings with reasonable charges.

Contending with overly expensive areas can negate higher revenues. Tracking affordability metrics allows agents to secure the highest possible income potential within a livable budget.

Seek Your Fortune in Real Estate’s Promising States

West Virginia, Vermont, Mississippi, and Connecticut are among the best states to be a real estate agent. They earned a place on our list due to their high average annual salaries and homeownership rates. These states also boast low to moderate costs of living and healthy market conditions that make them ideal locations for launching a successful career in real estate.

Next Steps
If you’re considering becoming a real estate agent or looking to relocate your existing practice:

  • Pick one of the best states for agents
  • Research the state’s licensing requirements
  • Use our practice exam to prepare
  • Understand your chosen state’s market conditions
  • Reach out to local agencies or brokers for first-hand information.
  • Find an agency to partner with

Are there other states that we should include in our top 10? Perhaps you’ve had success in a state not listed here? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments below or reach out with your experiences. 

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