If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering a career move into the real estate field but also asking yourself, “Can I be a part-time real estate agent?”
Yes. You can be a part-time real estate agent. Licensed real estate agents can work as many or as few hours as they want, making this career a near-perfect choice for someone looking for flexible, part-time work with excellent earning potential.
Is a Part-time Real Estate Career Right for You?
Having a flexible, virtually limitless side hustle is very appealing, but it’s not right for everyone. When we talk to potential agents about getting into real estate part time, they often base their decision on the following four questions:
What Is a Part-time Real Estate Agent Salary?
How much money can a part-time real estate agent make? There is no salary for a real estate agent. Whether you’re part time or full time, all your income is based on earned commissions. Typical commission rates for real estate agents are 6% of a home’s selling price, split evenly between the listing agent and the selling agent.
You’ll work as an independent contractor rather than as an employee. Ultimately, your income depends on your operating expenses and the number of sales you close. Your potential income is virtually unlimited, but there’s also a real chance that you may make no money in a given month (or actually be in the hole when you account for expenses).
What Is a Part-time Real Estate Agent's Schedule?
There’s no set schedule for a real estate agent, regardless of whether you’re full or part time. Business happens around your clients’ needs, which typically means you’re working in the evenings or on weekends. Most part-time real estate agents log anywhere from 15 to 30 hours a week working with or on behalf of their clients.
Will Clients Work With a Part-time Real Estate Agent?
Yes, clients will work with a part-time agent. Real estate clients care about the value you provide, the insight into the market you can offer, and the help you can give them in achieving their financial goals. There’s no index anywhere logging the number of hours devoted to it. Your status as a part-time real estate agent is nobody’s business but your own.
Will Brokers Hire Part-time Real Estate Agents?
To operate as a real estate agent, you must have a brokerage that sponsors you. A broker (someone who has met their state’s requirements in terms of experience, education, and an additional license) is someone who manages real estate agents.
While some brokers are only looking for career-oriented, full-time realtors, others are happy to take on anyone with a license. Your options in terms of real estate companies to work for might be limited compared to your full-time colleagues, but there are indeed brokerages that will hire part-time real estate agents
Getting Started as a Part-time Real Estate Agent
If the answers to the above questions have you fired up to begin your new side hustle, this section is for you. Here are the three steps you’ll need to take to get started as a part-time realtor.
1. Get Your Real Estate License
To legally offer real estate services in the U.S., you need a real estate license. The length of time and cost required for obtaining a license will vary slightly depending on which state you live in, but the overall process is pretty much the same. Here’s a breakdown of exactly what you’ll need to do:
- Take a prelicensing course that satisfies your state’s requirements
- Take some real estate practice exams
- Pass your state test
- Register your license with your state
- Find a brokerage to work with
[LEARN MORE: How to Get a Real Estate License in 5 Easy Steps]
If you’re ready to dive right in, we suggest checking out Colibri Real Estate for your prelicensing courses. They offer options in just about every state.
2. Carve Out Time in Your Schedule
Since real estate is a part-time gig, it will be essential to set some schedule boundaries right out of the gate to ensure that your real estate obligations don’t intrude on your other professional, familial, and personal commitments. Here’s a couple of pointers on how to do this:
- Tell your full-time boss you’re licensed: If you’re working a full-time job and picking up real estate on the side, let your boss know that you’ve got a new venture. Assure them that it won’t interfere with your other responsibilities, and let them know you’re ready to help with any real estate needs!
- Make a real estate schedule: Carve out some time and put it on your calendar as real estate time every single week. Make sure to share this time with your clients, so they know when you’re available to help them. You may have to be flexible on this, especially if a client is only available at certain times to meet with you, but setting expectations early is a great way to avoid scheduling mishaps.
- Set aside some non-work time: If this is your first time attempting a side hustle, you need to know that time becomes your most precious commodity. You’re going to be excited about the progress and success you’re making in real estate, but if you don’t take at least a little downtime each week, eventually, your real estate pursuits will suffer due to burnout.
3. Set Up Systems for Part-time Business Success
Even though a part-time realtor may be devoting less time to their business than their full-time counterparts, the tools they’ll need to be successful are still the same. Here are the systems you’ll need to have in place if you want to start your business off on the right foot.
- Create a real estate business plan: Whether a part-time real estate agent makes money or not depends on their ability to manage their operating costs and project their income. The best way to do this is with a real estate business plan. Here, you’ll make a plan for what you’ll spend, how much you expect to make, and be able to track your expenses along the way.
- [LEARN MORE: How to Write a Real Estate Business Plan + Templates]
- Choose a customer relationship management (CRM) system: A real estate CRM is a critical tool to help manage all your interactions with your clients, leads, and prospects. We named LionDesk our best real estate CRM of 2022.
- [LEARN MORE: The Best Real Estate CRMs of 2022]
- Build a lead generation plan: To be a successful part-time real estate agent, you’ll need leads you can turn into clients. Whether you plan to work from your sphere of influence, from paid lead sources like Market Leader or Zillow, or some other source, you’ll need a plan to generate enough leads to make your business sustainable.
- [LEARN MORE: How to Create a Custom Real Estate Lead Generation Plan + Template]
Want more resources for successfully launching your part-time real estate business? Download our Part-time Real Estate Agent Launch Guide for detailed instructions on making your first four weeks in the industry the best they can be.
Part-time Real Estate Agent Resources
Getting started in the real estate business can be challenging, especially if you don’t have experience as a business owner or entrepreneur. To help with your transition, we put together some handy resources to help you turn your business dreams into reality.
We invite you to join our Facebook Mastermind Group for some ongoing mentorship from experienced real estate pros. Subscribe to The Close Pro to get our exclusive marketing and lead generation boot camps, on-demand video training, and must-have downloads.
Real Estate 101: How You Make Money
Real estate can be an extremely rewarding career, and the life of a part-time real estate agent is exciting and varied with lots of opportunities for success. If you aren’t completely clear on how the real estate business works, not to worry. Check out this graphic that walks through exactly how your flow as a real estate agent will go from start to finish.
Understanding Operating Expenses of a Part-time Real Estate Agent
If you don’t know what kind of expenses a real estate agent is going to incur on a monthly or yearly basis, it’s tough to make a business plan to account for them. Below are some typical costs of doing business as a part-time real estate agent.
- State and local licensure and memberships: Just like your driver’s license, your state will require you to periodically renew your real estate license. Just how often and how much it will cost will depend on your state, but plan on spending up to $250 a year. Also, membership in your local Realtors association will be critical for access to tools like the Multiple Listing Service (where you’ll list property for sale). Each local association is unique, but plan on spending upwards of $600 per year for this.
- Broker-related costs: Some brokers will require you to pay a monthly fee for being a part of their organization—often referred to as a “desk fee.” Not every broker demands a desk fee from their agents, but many will expect one from part-timers. Plan on $600 a year for this.
- Operating expenses: To run a real estate business, you’ll need to pay for things like lead generation, tech tools like a CRM or email marketing platform, business cards, postcards, yard signs, and more. You’ll also need to fuel up your car to run your clients to and from showings, and have a cell phone plan you can use to communicate with your buyers and sellers. Every business is different, so you’ll want to do your own analysis here. A good starting point is to budget $2,500 a year for this.
- Broker split: Every commission you earn will be split with your broker until you hit your “cap,” or the maximum amount you’re required to pay to your broker each year. Though split and cap amounts vary from broker to broker, part-time agents should expect to pay as much as 50% of their commission to their broker.
To make your part-time real estate business profitable, you’ll need to earn more in net commission income (NCI) than your expenses. To learn more about gross commission income (GCI), net commission income (NCI), and how to calculate both, check out What Is GCI & Why It Matters to Every Real Estate Agent.
3 Tips for Balancing Your Part-time Real Estate Career With Your Full-time Job
Finding the balance between your part-time real estate business and your full-time job can be tricky, but it’s very doable. Here are three tips for finding that balance early in your new career.
- Set expectations with clients: If you’ve never experienced a needy or nervous seller or an overly-motivated buyer, let us tell you—they’re relentless. Demanding clients can be a challenge when your schedule doesn’t allow for total flexibility, but you can nip any stress in the bud by letting them know the best ways to communicate with you, when they can expect to hear back from you, and when you’re available for in-person conversations. Setting expectations early helps to quell frustration later on.
- Automate your marketing: It would be easy to suck up your entire part-time real estate schedule with marketing tasks alone. This is why you absolutely need to take advantage of the automated email, text messaging, and snail-mail marketing tools that your CRM provides. It’s a great day when your clients receive your personalized messages and don’t spend a single second on the phone or behind a keyboard.
- Stack your in-person real estate duties on as few days as possible: It is easy for your part-time real estate career to turn into a full-time role if you’re spreading out your in-person interactions across too many days. Let’s face it: Face-to-face client interactions are time-consuming and the more days you have them scheduled, the harder it will be to stick to a part-time schedule. Pick one day in the week when you plan to conduct all your showings, listing appointments, and consultations so you can spend the balance of the week working your leads.
Competing for Business With Full-time Agents: The Secret to Success
You might feel intimidated by the idea of having to compete with 20- or 30-year full-time real estate veterans for business, but here’s the secret to marketing yourself that will set you up for success: Make your personal brand messaging about the value of your skills and market knowledge, not about your length of experience.
It’s true that you won’t be able to compete if the decision is made based on the number of closed transactions, but that’s rarely the most important factor on a client’s mind.
Real estate clients choose their agents based on the skills they bring to the table; skills that will help them get to their desired outcome. Are you a fantastic negotiator? Are you ultra-connected in your community? Do you have a savvy marketing background? Are you skilled with video and social media? Are you someone your clients are actually going to want to spend time with?
At the end of the day, real estate is a relationship business. Your interpersonal skills and responsiveness matter more than your time on the job.
All of these things matter more to most buyers and sellers than the number of houses you’ve sold or how many hours you have to devote per week.
Part-time Real Estate Agent Launch Guide
When you’re ready to get your real estate business off the ground, you want to make sure your first four weeks are all moving you in the right direction. We’ve put together the Part-time Real Estate Agent Launch Guide with a week-by-week breakdown of how you should be spending your time to get your business off the ground.
We’d love to hear from you on what is drawing you to the real estate field, and where you are coming from. Are you currently a part-time real estate agent? What has your experience been like so far?