Can you do real estate part time? Of course — a lot of people do.
But doing real estate part-time comes with both benefits and challenges.
Working part-time in real estate is a different beast than working full-time; there are additional considerations, especially when it comes to scheduling.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the part-time realtor, what it means to work real estate part-time, and what you need to know when you want to ramp up.
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Can You Do Real Estate Part-Time?
Let’s ask another question: What does it really mean to do real estate part-time?
Consider this. If you have another full-time job, you’re a “part-time” real estate agent whether you spend five hours a week on it or 35 hours a week on it.
Real estate agents can put as much time (or as little time) into being an agent as they want. Some agents take weeks off after every deal. Other agents are constantly on the go. It’s a job that gives you as much as you put in.
Many agents ramp up over time. They start out by putting 10 hours a week into their real estate career, then they slowly build that time until they can make it a full-time pursuit.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Realistically, most people aren’t going to make a living wage immediately. Being an agent is unpredictable. Not a lot of people can forego consistent income to become a full-time real estate agent right off the bat.
That being said, there are pros and cons to working part-time as a real estate agent.
How Do You Get Started With Real Estate Part-Time?
Getting started with real estate part-time involves the same process as becoming a full-time real estate agent.
- Take a real estate course to learn more about taking the real estate license exam and getting your license.
- Get your license by passing the real estate exam.
- Talk to real estate brokers to find a managing broker.
- Start finding your leads and building your book.
- Continue with continuing education classes and license renewal.
The only difference when getting started part-time is that you’ll need to manage your time especially conscientiously. You’re going to be balancing a full-time job with your part-time work — and that means scheduling, scheduling, scheduling.
Other than that, you’ll need to make a decision regarding when your profit potential is greater as a full-time real estate agent.
Some people never become a full-time agent — rather, they find that being a part-time agent works for them. House flippers, for instance, may become a real estate agent to negotiate their own deals, and may only negotiate for family and friends.
A part-time sales agent is going to encounter some unique challenges. But they’re also going to have greater flexibility and freedom because they aren’t relying upon their real estate commission for their entire income.
Why Would You Be a Realtor Part-Time?
People choose to be part-time realtors for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is that they don’t want to jump into an unpredictable income stream right away.
It takes time to build your place in the real estate industry. You need to gain an understanding of your market. You have to network and build your reputation.
It can take months to years to really start pulling in leads as a real estate agent. If you’re working part-time, there isn’t as much pressure.
As a part time agent, you still need to be diligent and work closely with your clients. But you can also do other work. Today, a lot of jobs are remote and flexible — which means you can more easily work a second job while you build your career as a real estate agent.
And there are people who just want to be part-time. Parents who take care of young children, for instance, might just want some income from their real estate business to augment their current household income.
None of this is to indicate that being a real estate agent isn’t a hard job. A lot of “part-time” real estate agents really just have two jobs that they work full-time on. When you’re a real estate agent, certain aspects can’t be “turned off.” You need to be available via email and phone. You need to help your clients.
And that brings us to another question. Is it really worth it?
Is Being a Part-Time Realtor Worth It?
In surveys by Real Estate Express, the average part-time realtor who worked under 20 hours made about $26,000. The average part-time realtor who worked more than 20 hours made closer to $46,000.
As far as part-time income goes, that’s pretty good.
If you want to slowly build a real estate career, being a part-time realtor can absolutely be worth it. This is especially true if you’re a new agent.
You will reach a point at which you can’t increase your earnings as a real estate professional without increasing the number of hours you work. But that might not be a bad thing.
If an additional $46,000 of income sounds good to you, a part time real estate schedule might be perfect. Some people never really need to increase their income past that.
Others will just use being a part-time realtor as a stepping stone toward becoming an accomplished real estate salesperson.
How Do You Manage a Part-Time Realtor’s Schedule?
An issue with working as a part-time realtor is that you need to closely manage your schedule.
As a licensed real estate agent, you have to constantly work toward the best interests of your client.
If your client calls you panicking at 2:00 PM because a home inspector found something terrible, you should be available. On Saturdays and Sundays, you need to be at open houses.
That’s how you build your client base, it’s how you build your reputation, and it’s how you make sure you become a successful real estate agent.
While you can put in as many hours as you want into your real estate career, you do need to be available. And that means that being a part-time realtor really meshes best with a schedule that’s flexible.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Doing Real Estate Part-Time?
For new agents, it’s more than feasible to do real estate part-time. Benefits include:
- Testing the waters. If you’re brand new to the real estate industry, you can use a part-time career to learn more about the market — before you invest. Test out different methods of procuring leads, different marketing tactics, and more.
- Building your career without pressure. When you work part-time, you don’t need to be as worried about when you’re getting your next paycheck. You can develop your career at your leisure and avoid having to scramble for your next deal.
- Giving your career time to grow. There are some things in the real estate business that you really can’t rush. The real estate business can change significantly from year to year, you need time to establish yourself in the market, and you need to get the word out.
But there are also some challenges:
- Being unable to truly scale your business. Some elements of a real estate career just require you to be able to work 40+ hours a week. You may find that you’re not gaining any traction at all without investing more time in it.
- Having to work around another career. Time constraints can destroy a real estate business. As a realtor, you need to be able to give all your time to your clients until a deal closes. This can be difficult if you’re operating on someone else’s schedule.
If you’re really serious about being a residential or commercial real estate agent, there will come a time when you just need to transition to full-time.
So, ask yourself what your end goals are. Do you just want to make some extra money by going to real estate classes and obtaining licensure? Or do you eventually want to get a broker license and become a real estate investor?
Understanding your ultimate goals will help you determine how much time you want to invest right away. If your dreams are of eventually becoming a real estate broker yourself, you might need to get more aggressive about your career faster.
How Do You Transition to Full-Time?
Many real estate agents who work part-time will eventually find themselves wanting to transition to full-time. Luckily, with the right planning, it doesn’t have to be a difficult transition.
- Take care of any cash flow issues and run the numbers. You need to know that you can survive even if you don’t make any sales. Real estate is a very up and down business; there are times when you might close a lot of deals at once and times when you might go through a dry spell. It’s more volatile when you’re getting started.
- Let your broker know that you’re going to transition to full-time. Your broker can use this knowledge to accelerate the work that you do for the brokerage and the leads that are forwarded to you.
- Use tools from the National Association of Realtors to find more leads. NAR provides tools that you can use to look up properties that might be distressed, price houses, and otherwise discover possible listings and leads within your neighborhood.
- Do your own research to build your lead generation. There are many venues where you can get leads, such as online lead generation companies. Try a few different tactics to generate leads and know that they may pay off in the future rather than right now.
- Start marketing yourself more aggressively. Invest in search engine optimization for realtors, paid marketing, and social media; you’re going to need to ramp up quickly, so you’re going to need to market yourself independent of your broker.
As a part-time real estate agent, you should already know everything you need to know about being a listing agent, buyers agent, or leasing agent. You know how to complete a real estate sale — now you just want more of them.
It’s just a matter of scale.
You can talk to your colleagues and let them know that you’re interested in anything within your niche; they’ll be thankful for the referral fee. You’ve already started to build your business. Now it’s just time to build it even larger.
Is There Any Reason You Shouldn’t Be a Part-Time Real Estate Agent?
Part-time real estate agents are very common. But, like most things, it isn’t for everyone. Not everyone will thrive as a part-time agent.
If you’re the type of person who really likes to give things your all, you might find it difficult to split your focus between two things. Once you get your real estate license, you may feel yourself pulled both ways. You might realize you can’t do both your full-time job and your part-time realtor career with the care and attention you want.
If you already have a very demanding job, you may just not have the time to give to your clients and your broker. You may find that your performance at both jobs suffers, and ultimately, you aren’t able to build your real estate career this way.
Some real estate agents simply find the task of managing their career, marketing themselves, and procuring new clients as a full-time worker too demanding and this is understandable. If you’re one of these real estate agents, you might find you have better success as a full-time agent.
And some real estate agents just aren’t able to ramp up a career at all while working part-time. Even putting in 30 hours a week may not be enough, especially if they are in a competitive market. They may need to work full-time or more just to start seeing leads.
So, while entering into the real estate business part-time is a popular choice, it isn’t a choice for everyone. You should consider what it would mean for your lifestyle and your schedule.
Will clients work with a part-time real estate agent?
To a client, there’s no real difference between part-time real estate agents and full-time real estate agents — as long as they can contact you when they need to. Make sure you’re available to them, and they shouldn’t care that you’re a part-time agent.
Will brokers hire part-time real estate agents?
Most brokers understand that real estate agents prefer to start out part-time. While there are brokerages who won’t hire part-time real estate agents, they are rare. But you should be upfront when you’re getting your real estate license to let the broker know that you intend to work part-time after you procure it.
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