Redfin says the agents it employed in King County, Wash., were better compensated than most of their peers in the past year, citing an analysis performed by the brokerage using multiple listing service data to demonstrate the caliber of the company’s agents.

Redfin’s analysis showed that among 5,624 King County agents who completed at least one transaction, median gross commission totaled $29,820. Only 25 percent of agents racked up commissions of $75,018 or more, and less than one in five — 18 percent — grossed more than $100,000.

Redfin doesn’t pay its lead agents a commission, but offers bonuses based on client satisfaction. The five lead agents Redfin employed in King County — all team leaders with staff support for tasks like home tours — earned an average of $113,266, the company said.

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman noted that Redfin also provides about $44,000 in benefits to agents, such as health insurance and Social Security and Medicare taxes, not typically covered by many other brokerages.

"Comparing Redfin pay to what a traditional agent earns once you subtract costs from gross commissions, you find that Redfin agents place in the 90th percentile," Kelman wrote on the company blog.

"If you only compare Redfin to agents earning $25,000 or more in gross commissions — to avoid comparisons to part-timers — Redfin agents are still in the 83rd percentile."

Those agents are all "team leaders," however — Redfin also employs transaction coordinators and field agents who are paid less.

"Are your top earners simply riding on the low-paid contractors who do all of the grunt work?" one anonymous commenter posted to Kelman’s blog. "The agents who do your home tours are not employees and don’t receive these fabulous benefits you speak of."

Redfin’s Scott Nagel said Redfin offers its transaction coordinators pay that’s competitive with the industry, but offered no figures. Field agent pay ranged from $125 to just over $6,000 in March, he said.

Nagel said the field agents who conduct home tours for team leaders don’t view the job as "grunt work," saying they "like being out in the field" and having "complete control over their schedule."

The point of the analysis "was not to provide a comprehensive survey of what our CEO earns, what our receptionist earns, what our search team lead earns," Nagel said. "It was to address a persistent concern raised by our customers about what we pay the agent who negotiates their deals, so customers could feel sure we have high-quality agents taking responsibility for their success."


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