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Real Estate Investor Salary: How Much Do Real Estate Investors Really Make?


Jul 27, 2020 by Aly J. Yale

The average real estate investor salary sits between $70,000 and $124,000, according to most sources. But to be fair, salaries can vary greatly depending on the type of investing you’re doing, how many deals you take on per year, the time you devote to it, and a whole slew of other factors.

Are you considering a career in real estate investing? Want to make sure you’ll make the cash you need to stay afloat? Here’s what you can expect to earn.

Average real estate investor salaries

There are tons of ways to invest in real estate. You can buy single-family properties and become a landlord, you can fix and flip properties like you see on HGTV, or you can even host short-term rentals on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

Each method has its own pros and cons, as well as earning potential. And while salaries for investors can diverge widely even within these categories, here’s a quick look at the average annual salary within these niches:

  • Rental property investing: $27,500 to $121,000
  • Home flipping: $62,900 per flip, minus rehab costs
  • Short-term rentals: $35,120 to $61,097
  • Wholesaling: $21,500 to $98,500

At the end of the day, real estate is a local game. As such, an investor’s earnings vary greatly by location, too. According to ZipRecruiter, this is the average salary for a real estate investor in each of the 50 states. North Carolina claims the lowest investor salaries, while investors in New York and Massachusetts make the most.

STATE AVERAGE SALARY
Alabama $108,490
Alaska $123,581
Arizona $115,155
Arkansas $109,217
California $121,843
Colorado $116,437
Connecticut $124,755
Delaware $116,593
Florida $104,704
Georgia $111,089
Hawaii $129,328
Idaho $113,912
Illinois $108,623
Indiana $114,417
Iowa $112,197
Kansas $114,658
Kentucky $118,860
Louisiana $113,364
Maine $113,827
Maryland $124,794
Massachusetts $134,657
Michigan $109,298
Minnesota $116,892
Mississippi $107,392
Missouri $107,140
Montana $116,352
Nebraska $122,912
Nevada $122,611
New Hampshire $131,717
New Jersey $118,323
New Mexico $109,576
New York $135,942
North Carolina $99,700
North Dakota $122,147
Ohio $115,671
Oklahoma $114,236
Oregon $116,609
Pennsylvania $117,608
Rhode Island $123,741
South Carolina $116,999
South Dakota $118,580
Tennessee $116,511
Texas $109,814
Utah $114,607
Vermont $123,068
Virginia $121,301
Washington $133,717
West Virginia $118,179
Wisconsin $115,395
Wyoming $122,041

How to make more money as a real estate investor

As you can see, your estimated salary as a real estate investor can vary greatly. Fortunately, investors have a lot of control in their careers. That means if you’re not making what you want or you just want to scale up, there are plenty of steps you can take to do so.

Here are just a few ways you can improve your earnings as an investor:

Diversify

If you’ve only flipped properties or rented out single-family homes, expand into other forms of real estate investing. Add a few vacation homes to the mix, try a multifamily property, or give wholesaling a whirl. You’ll increase your earning potential; plus you could find something you’re really good at or just enjoy more.

Do more deals

This one’s pretty simple: The more deals you do, the more you’ll earn. If you’re only doing five flips per year, think about adding another two. If you have two rental properties, consider a third (maybe even a duplex or triplex to really increase those earnings). Just keep in mind that the bigger your portfolio grows, the more work you'll be required to do, so be prepared and set aside the time (or team) to do it.

Get a mentor

If your real estate career isn’t quite panning out, then look to someone who’s come before you. Many successful real estate investors offer coaching and mentoring programs, and they can help guide you on growing your career and your earnings. Attending networking events is a great way to find a potential mentor, or you can even ask your favorite real estate agent for some recommendations in the area.

Improve at least one skill

Read, take classes, and make it a point to improve at least one of your basic investing skills. If you improve your negotiation skills, for example, it might mean lower costs and higher returns on your next flip. If you increase your knowledge of carpentry, it could cut down on rehab costs down the line. Even small, incremental improvements in your capabilities can make a big difference on your bottom line -- and your real estate business as a whole.

Change your location

The data above spells it out: Real estate investing returns vary widely depending on where you’re active. If your properties aren’t delivering the ROI you’ve been hoping for, then branch out location-wise. Try a real estate investment in a new city or even a new state. Just be sure to do your research and identify the highest-potential real estate market possible before diving in. You’ll also want a plan in place for how you’ll manage the property (or just the deal) from far away.

Increase your rents and prices

Obviously, if you charge more rent or price your flips higher, you’ll make more cash. You’ll just need to be careful here and make sure the price hike is justified. If it’s not, you might find yourself with a vacant property -- and that can hurt your earnings (and cash flow) more than anything.

The bottom line

Real estate investor salaries are what you make of them. Your earnings directly correlate with the work you put in and the deals you strike. Not making what you hoped? Up the ante and try a new type of investment, try a new housing market, or improve your negotiating skills. In real estate, there’s always a way to increase those earnings and build the wealth you want.

Don’t forget: Not all real estate investing is active. If you’re looking to earn passive income from real estate, look into REIT or real estate stock investing. Crowdfunded deals can also be a great way to get in on up-and-coming investments and developments.

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The richest in the world have made their fortunes in many ways, but there is one common thread for many of them: They made real estate a core part of their investment strategy. Of all the ways the ultra-rich made their fortunes, real estate outpaced every other method 3 to 1.

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