This article is based on my decade plus in the real estate industry in sales and as a member of high producing real estate team.
I have been in contact with 100s of agents during my time. Some were wildly successful, others only lasted a few months and everything in between.
I have also seen many agents come into the business with the plan of working part time. If this is you, welcome.
Let’s jump right in.
What it Takes to Start
Selling real estate as an agent might look simple if you have bought or sold a couple of properties in your life.
But the truth is, it has an extremely high failure rate, with estimates showing 80-90% of new agents will not be in the business within 2 years.
You have to be honest about what is takes to succeed in the business.
If you go at it alone, making any kind of money as an agent means investing time.
Time to learn, time to meet clients, show homes, do research, write offers and more.
Most of the hours tend be “off-work” hours for most people: weekday evenings and weekends. This can be a good thing if you have a full time job.
However, real estate is also a very much on-call type of job. Good homes sell very fast. When your clients want to see a property, right an offer, or need guidance…they usually want an agent who is available.
Sometimes the difference of a few hours can make a tangible difference in client results.
Before any marketing, you will have some upfront costs to get licensed, join the MLS, Realtor Associations, etc.
You are also likely to have various costs for a very basic level of marketing such as business cards or subscriptions to certain software.
When you choose a broker, it is good idea to consider what training they have when you are available (not just overall).
If they have great classes that run during the week when you are working or unavailable, it won’t help unless they are recorded.
It can also be helpful if they have a mentor available that will pick up the phone during the hours you will be dedicating to real estate.
Make sure you interview the broker you are thinking of going with to make sure this type of support is available.
The beginning stages of any real estate career can be a challenge. Here are some things to look out for.
Realize you will be competing with seasoned, full time agents. One of the big reasons part time agents drop out is because of the shock of the number of agents who are competing for the same clients.
To win clients, you have to build trust. And to build trust you have to be honest about where you are in your career if asked. That is why teaming up is such a great shortcut for a new agent.
Your first clients are highly likely to be someone you already know.
Your circle already trusts and likes you (or they should), so they are more likely to let you represent them as their agent.
The Prime Time
My first broker joked with me that we would be working “restaurant hours” as a real estate agent.
And they were right. A majority of client facing processes such as showing homes and writing offers take place in the evenings and on weekends.
You also need to time to work on other aspects of your business. But a bulk of the money is made during these prime times.
This is how I have seen part time agents be successful.
If you only follow one piece of advice in this post, I hope it is this: join a team, group or partner with another skilled, experienced and ethical agent.
Being a new agent is hard. Being a part time agent is also hard. Being both at once is a huge task.
If you have the help of a team or another agent there are tons of benefits for you. Here are just a few of the pros:
- Get coverage when you are busy.
- Leverage their experience to gain the trust of clients.
- Have them take over for clients who want someone full time and/or experienced.
- Ask questions and use their resources.
- Less mistakes and less headache for you.
- Your clients are more likely to get better results.
Now, if you team up you will be splitting the commission (how it is split is negotiable)…but remember, 100% of $0 is, of course, $0.
Having the right team behind you can win you more clients which is a win for everyone.
Leverage Training Time
If you cannot find a brokerage who offers night classes, the good news is there are tons of resources online, including here on this site.
Leverage watching and reading information relevant to both being an agent in general and also the laws/rules in your local jurisdiction. This can be done at night.
Use Schedule Flexibility
What are the demands for your current schedule? Whether you are working, taking care of kids, in school or something else….the more flexible your current schedule can become the better.
Real estate is the kind of career where you have to jump on an opportunity as soon as it comes up. So if you are able to get coverage with whatever you do full time, that is an asset.
How Much Can You Make?
Real estate agent salaries vary greatly. The answer depends on your location, how many hours you work, skill level, your network and the current market conditions.
I have personally known part time agents who have made $100,000+ the first year in our office (in a major east coast market). They went full time after that.
And I have known some that made more in the $20,000-$50,000 range part time. As well as others who made none and decided it was not for them.
Check the average sale price in your area and write out your goals. The income is only limited by your work ethic and commitment.
If you are about to start as a part time agent, here are some tips to help you succeed.
Write a Business Plan
Get clear on what you want to achieve. Even though you will be practicing real estate part time, if you do not know where you are going it is going to be hard to get there.
Your plan does not need to be elaborate, but you should have a blueprint of what your time will look like working at real estate.
Find Your Motivation
What makes you want to make more money in the first place? What will you do with the extra income?
There are no wrong answers here, but getting clear on this question will help you keep going even when you have setbacks or feel like quitting.
Be Client Centered
The best agents are not only skilled at sales and negotiating…they also put their clients interest ahead of their own.
You can make good money, but the primary focus should be helping your client achieve their real estate goals while being there for them.
Great Realtors take representing a client very seriously. They are advocates for the best interest of whomever hires them.
Real estate can be a fun, rewarding and challenging career. You can also make it as a part time agent… however, the more help you have the more likely you are to get where you want to go.
The dropout rate for Realtors is very high, and being part time also presents its own challenges.
Being part time and successful can be done, but it is going to take some extra considerations and motivation.
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