In late 2015, the Texas Association of Realtors surveyed 813 new agents as part of a follow-up to the new agent study it conducted in 2012. The results revealed some surprising findings about how newly licensed real estate salespeople differ from the general population and top producing agents as well.

  • About 72 percent of all successful salespeople across multiple industries score high on the utilitarian factor.
  • Over 25 percent of the Texas Realtors entered the real estate business as part-timers.
  • Persistence, hard work, a learning mindset and support systems make a successful agent.

In late 2015, the Texas Association of Realtors surveyed 813 new agents as part of a follow-up to the new agent study it conducted in 2012. The results revealed some surprising findings about how newly licensed real estate salespeople differ from the general population and top producing agents as well.

In late 2015, the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) used Survey Monkey to collect data from new agents who were licensed in 2013 or after. The purpose of the study was to:

  • Identify the factors that contribute to new agent sales success
  • Compare the traits and characteristics of new agents entering the business with the current known correlates of real state sales success
  • Compare the results from present study with the previous TAR new agent study conducted in 2012


The 2012 TAR new agent study included both new Realtors as well as broker owners. The results from that study were used to generate the profile of a successful Texas Realtor. The results are summarized in the table below:

Profile of a successful Texas Realtor*

High Probability Success Profile Low Probability Success Profile
1 Always tells the truth and tries to do the right thing Unethical, lies, withholds information, cuts corners
2 Understands that real estate is a sales position that requires marketing, prospecting by asking for business and strong negotiation skills Expects leads to be given to him or her by the broker and/or is reluctant to ask for business from his or her sphere of influence
3 Adequate financial reserves Lacks sufficient funds to stay in business long enough to succeed (six to nine months)
4 Continuous learning mindset Short cuts training, does minimum amount to get by rather than constantly learning
5 Engages in dollar productive activities 40 hours per week Works part time or hangs out at the office doing busy work
6 Has mastered how to fill out and explain all buyer and seller contracts Relies on technology to “autofill” contracts and/or lacks ability to explain contracts and ramifications to clients
7 Has written goals and a written business plan Has no written goals and/or business plan
8 Effective face-to-face communication skills Poor face-to-face and telephone communication skills
9 Customer service-focused Commission-focused
10 Business owner mindset Job mindset
11 Emotionally resilient, optimistic, handles conflict well Easily discouraged, cynical, handles conflicts poorly
12 Uses technology to enhance and create face-to-face interactions with leads and clients Uses technology as a substitute for face-to-face interactions
13 Stays up to date on technology and regularly uses social media tools Lags behind on technology, lacks a social media presence
14 Applies consistent clear cut systems and processes Lacks consistent systems and processes and the interest/ability to create them
15 Good contacts, community oriented Poor contacts, lack of community involvement

*Survey results compiled from 284 Texas owner brokers/managers

The 2015 study

The 2015 study examined some of the most critical factors from the 2012 study including the ratio of part-time versus full-time agents, the type of pre-licensing training the agent took and whether they had an “education mindset” (a key predictor of new agent success from the 2012 study).

The DISC factors

The 2015 study also examined factors from previous studies examining the correlates of real estate sales success. One of the most widely used assessments in this area has been the Target Training International (TTI) version of the DISC and the PIAV (Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values.) Based on this research, the formula for real estate sales success would be:

High scores on the “D” or dominance factor on the DISC are associated with highly driven, get-it-done types. Donald Trump is a prime example.

The “I” factor is associated with those who are “people, people.” Bill Clinton exemplifies this type.

The “S” factor is associated with steadiness and security. Barbara Bush and Mother Teresa exemplify this type.

The “C” factor is for compliance or conscientiousness. Bill Gates and Albert Einstein are both examples.

People with high scores on the utilitarian factor are highly practical and bottom-line oriented. Regardless of the agent’s behavioral style, scoring high on the utilitarian factor is the best predictor of sales success.

According to TTI, approximately 72 percent of all successful salespeople across multiple industries score high on this factor.

Key findings

Here are four things agents figure out they need as new agents to succeed.

1. Full-time commitment

Both the present study and the 2012 study showed that over 25 percent of the agents enter the business as part-timers. This finding suggests that new agents continue to be inadequately capitalized as they enter the business. Lack of capitalization and working part-time are two of the most important reasons that agents are forced to leave the business.

2. An education mindset

Less than half of the agents (47 percent) took their pre-licensing class live, and the remainder took it online (53 percent).

Although a huge percent of agents claimed to care about education, the 13.16 percent rate of SAE completion (the 90 hours of TREC required training for new licensees to receive their first license renewal) might result in many of these agents failing to renew their licenses.

This in turn might be a major factor contributing to the high attrition rate among the new agent population.

3. Adequate DISC findings

The forced-choice and open-ended questions on the DISC factors revealed two primary areas where new agents entering the real estate business differed significantly from the overall population.

  • The number of people who scored high on the influencing factor of the DISC is substantially higher in the new agents than in the general population. So-called “people-people” are drawn to real estate at extremely high rates. In the forced-choice question, the total percentage of agents identifying as people-people was 88.74 percent. In the self-description open-ended question the number of 63.25 percent. Only 28 percent of the general population scores high on this factor.
  • The scores on three different questions assessing the “S” or steadiness factor, (23 percent, 27.25 percent and 15.46 percent) indicated that the population of new agents scored lower on this factor as compared to the general population (28 percent). The data supports the contention that there is a substantial difference in the type of person drawn to the commission-based real estate sales career as compared to the general population.
  • The results on the “D” and “C” factors were not clear-cut. On the dominance factor, 79.2 percent of the agents on the forced-choice question identified with scores indicative of scoring high on the “D” factor, but only 24 percent did so on the open-ended question. One interpretation of the data is that the forced-answer question reflects what the new agents perceive they should do while the open-ended question is a better indicator of what they are actually doing.
  • On the “C” compliance factor, 67 percent answered the forced-choice question that they would be well-suited for a career in computing or accounting while only 10.75 percent of the agents claimed that being detailed-oriented and an organized planner are essential to sales success. If the 10.75 percent number is correct, then it roughly mirrors the 14 percent of the general population for this factor. If the 67 percent number is correct, it bodes poorly for these agents succeeding because people who score high on the “C” factor seldom do well in sales positions.

4. Congruence with what buyers and sellers want

The characteristics that the new agents identified as being important to new agent success had a significant degree of overlap with the agent characteristics that buyers and sellers said they wanted in the 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Specifically:

  • Reputation of the agent: 34 percent
  • Agent is honest and trustworthy: 18 percent
  • Agent’s knowledge (of the neighborhood): 15 percent
  • Agent has a caring personality/good listener: 4 percent
  • Professional designations (education): 2 percent
  • Ranking of the top 10 success factors

The final question on the survey asked agents to identify the three most valuable traits that had contributed to their success in real estate. Of the 400 agents responding, the top 10 factors (other than the DISC factors) were:

  1. Persistence, hard-working: 32 percent
  2. Honesty and integrity: 25 percent
  3. Customer and community service oriented: 21.5 percent
  4. Competence, knowledge, experience: 18.8 percent
  5. Learning mindset, training, education: 9 percent
  6. Motivated, passionate: 8.5 percent
  7. Problem solver, analytical: 5.25 percent
  8. Innovated, creative, change adaptable: 4.5 percent
  9. Support system — family, office, coach, mentor: 4.25 percent
  10. Positive mindset, optimistic, humor, gratitude: 2.75 percent

*These stats have been updated since publishing. 

Both studies confirm that persistence and hard work coupled with a learning mindset, a dedication to high levels of customer service, adequate capitalization and having a strong support system are the key factors in new agent sales success.

Bernice Ross, CEO of, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at and

Email Bernice Ross.

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