Despite their aura of success, real estate agents frankly don't earn much. Business Journals/US Census reports average pay in Arizona is $39k. In San Francisco, it is $52k. What?! You'd make more as a Walmart manager.
The law of averages may explain this stat. 90% of the business is done by 10% of the agents. That means full time successful agents (10%) can indeed make a substantial living. But that also means the other 90% (part-timers, dabblers) are earning a dismal fraction of $39k!