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The Results are In! What You Should Know from the 2017 Member Survey

by Carol Weinrich Helsel

“Strong and stable.” These words characterize the results of the 2017 Women’s Council of REALTORS® Member Survey. On the heels of a year of organizational change — notably, the transition from a Chapter model to a Network model — this is good news!

Overall, the survey shows nominal change in the profile of Council members compared to the previous survey, conducted in November 2015. Council membership remains strong, engaged and positive, with 63 percent reporting that, considering all benefits, they believe Council membership to be an “excellent” or “good” value for their dues dollars. Further, 92 percent of members would recommend the Council to a colleague.

The Women’s Council surveys members every two to three years to monitor changes in membership and the marketplace, and to inform the annual strategic planning process. In November, an invitation to participate in the 2017 survey was sent to all Council members with a known email address, resulting in an outstanding response rate of 27 percent. Our results are a much higher response rate than the industry standard on surveys.

Income is up

There is one notable exception to the consistency of survey responses between 2017 and 2015:  income! The average annual income of Council members rose to $134,470, up nearly 18 percent from 2015 when the reported average gross income was $114,000. Likewise, the average paid commission value of Women’s Council referral activity (includes referrals given and received) is up nearly $2,000. As seen in previous surveys, Women’s Council members earn significantly more income from real estate activities than do “typical” REALTORS® (based on a comparison of annual median income for NAR members).

According to NAR’s 2017 Member Profile Report, the median* income for a typical REALTOR® (based on income reported for 2016) is $42,500. The median income for Women’s Council members for this same period is $87,690 — more than double. For both groups, the more hours worked per week, the greater the income. NAR reports that REALTORS® who work 60 or more hours per week earn a median income of $100,000. Compare this to Women’s Council members who report working 50 or more hours per week and earn a median income of $128,676.

*Median refers to the middle point where half the income value is above that point and half below. 
2018 Infographic Income

Chicken and the egg

The income variation raises the question of whether members become more successful after joining the Council, or whether the Council attracts members pre-destined to be more successful? It’s likely a bit of both. The success of the Women’s Council attracts the best and the brightest in the industry. But as members overwhelmingly confirm in the 2017 survey, Council membership “provides the skills and information to deal with a changing business environment” Ninety percent of members agree with this statement.

“Through our strategic planning process, the Women’s Council works to stay out in front of what’s new or changing in the industry,” said Jo Ann Stevens, 2018 National Council President. “Industry technology is a constant game-changer, but I believe our focus on educating and training business leaders prepares our members for whatever comes their way and keeps our membership strong and growing.”

Leadership is a hallmark of membership

Underscoring Jo Ann’s point, Women’s Council members are active leaders in their associations, local government, community and elsewhere. Sixty-two percent of members held one or more leadership positions in the past year — mostly in State/Local Women’s Council Networks (30%), State/Local REALTOR® associations (29%) and Community groups, e.g., church, school (28%).

A closer look at members’ involvement in their local Networks show that Council members attended, on average, 6.4 local Network meetings in the past year. Nearly half (49%) reported being “very satisfied” with their local Network. Asked what the most important aspect of local Council involvement is, nearly three-quarters said,“business networks and relationships” (72%) and “meetings and programs that are real estate related” (70%). Other aspects identified as valuable include “professional credibility” (65%) and “networking/sharing business tips” (63%).

2018 Infographic Leadership

Referrals mean business success

Slightly more than half (53%) of Council members’ business comes from referrals(past clients, friends, other REALTORS®). Nearly a third (29%), however, report that 76 to 100 percent of their business is referral-based. The top-cited reason (and far and above all other reasons) for making a referral to another Council member is that “Council membership means a high-level business leader who will follow through on client needs.”

On average, 53 percent of members made one or more referrals to another member in the past year and 29 percent report receiving one. All this referral activity equates with an average of $15,000 in paid commissions (up from $13,217 in 2015).

2018 Infographic Referrals

Member input guides strategic planning

Along with monitoring shifts in membership and the real estate business climate, the 2017 Council survey looked at members’ use of (and satisfaction with) national programs and services, preferred communication methods and overall perception of membership value. Overall, feedback is very positive. This information is provided to national leaders to guide their strategic planning and decision-making as they look build upon and increase members’ satisfaction with the Women’s Council of REALTORS®.

For more survey findings, including on income, business growth and referrals, check out the updated infographics on the “At a Glance” page of About Us at wcr.org.

About the Contributor

Carol Weinrich Helsel is a freelance writer with 24 years of experience in non-profit organization management. She is owner of Pastiche Communications, specializing in helping companies meet their marketing and communication goals. Learn more at www.pastichecommunications.com.

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