Tips for Becoming a Part-Time Real Estate Agent

real estate agent thinking

Are you looking for a part-time job to supplement your income? Are you investigating new career trajectories? You may consider becoming a part-time real estate agent. Real estate agents enjoy flexible schedules that can be arranged around other tasks.

Additionally, just about anyone can become a real estate agent. You can take a course and get licensed without spending a lot of time and money. But you must put some effort into achieving your goals.

This article will tell you what you need to know to get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Find out if you are a good fit to become a part-time agent based on your personality and scheduling needs.
  • Discover what it takes to get your career off to a strong start.
  • Learn about valuable resources that will ensure your success.

Are You a Good Fit to Be a Part-Time Real Estate Agent?

Almost anyone can become a real estate agent, but you must have the right personality to fit the role and succeed in the industry. Additionally, you should have a schedule that requires part-time work. Of course, you can always use your skills to move to a full-time position later.

Personality Traits

  • Outgoing: Real estate agents meet a lot of people. They must be outgoing and friendly. Extroverts will thrive in this industry.
  • Upbeat: Real estate searches don’t always turn out as planned. It’s essential to remain upbeat. Let your clients know that there are other prospects out there.
  • Interest in Real Estate: This may seem obvious, but if you don’t love real estate, you won’t be passionate about your work. And if you’re not passionate about your work, you won’t succeed. An agent should genuinely care about the people they work with. They should also enjoy seeing different parts of the city and architecture types.
  • Math-Minded: The real estate test requires a good amount of math. Math-minded people will succeed.
  • Negotiation Skills: Agents must negotiate to find the best deals for their clients. They must be firm but fair in their negotiation strategies. The industry is not for the weak-hearted.
  • Communication Skills: Communication skills are essential for agents. They must keep their clients abreast of the situation to ensure optimal transparency. They may also need to translate complicated real estate terms to clients.
  • Tenacious: The real estate market can be tough. Agents must have the tenacity to move forward in the face of adversity. They should not give up easily.

Scheduling Needs

  • Need Extra Income: People who already have jobs but need extra income may consider a part-time real estate side hustle.
  • New Parents: Parents of young children may be unable to take on full-time work. Real estate will allow them to schedule around their family responsibilities.
  • Transitioning Workers: If you are looking for a new career and have always wanted to try real estate, you may consider dipping your toe in a part-time position. If you enjoy it, you may move on to a full-time position.

How Much Do Part-Time Real Estate Agents Make?

A real estate agent’s income will vary. Agents typically make a commission off the properties they sell. The more properties they sell, and the more expensive they are, the more money they will make.

Average commission rates vary from state to state but typically fall in the 4-6% rate. The commission is then split between the buying agent and the listing agent. Agents earn a small portion of the sale, but profits can add up for luxury properties.

In rare instances, some agencies pay realtors a flat rate for their sales or time.

Steps to Become a Part-Time Real Estate Agent

There are several steps involved in becoming a real estate agent. Here is a guide that explains what you need to do to get started.

Take a Course

The first step involves taking a real estate course. Different states have varying real estate course requirements. Some states require individuals to complete a 60-hour course before they take the exam. Other states require 100+ hours of study.

Courses can be taken in person or online. Most people find the online method to be more convenient. However, in-person courses can be more engaging.

Review the courses in your area based on price, customer ratings, and other factors. Determine which is best suited to your needs.

Apply for Your License

After completing the course, you can apply for your license. You must pay the licensing fee. You must also get fingerprinted for a background check.

You won’t receive your license until you pass your exam. Most states will set a timeframe for you to pass your exam before earning your license. For example, in California, you must pass your exam within two years of your application.

You must reapply for the license you don’t pass within two years. You may also need to take additional courses.

Take the Salesperson Licensing Exam

After applying for your license, you will take the real estate exam. The exam is typically provided through testing centers with locations throughout the country. You must register through these agencies to take your exam.

There is a fee to take the exam. You must also be aware of testing rules and regulations that guide when to show up and what to bring to the exam. These rules are usually listed on testing provider websites.

Passing rates vary from state to state but most are around 70%. If you pass the exam, you will be one step closer to earning your license. If you fail the exam, you may need to retake it. You must pay for every test retake.

Apply with an Agency

You must also apply with an agency to receive your license. Agents work as independent contractors, so landing a position is not too difficult. However, you must choose an agency you feel comfortable with.

Look at agent reviews to determine what it’s like working with the company. Consider factors like desk fees and commissions. Choose an agency that offers comprehensive services, such as marketing assistance, that will help get your career started. 

Reputation is also important. Clients will be more likely to work with an agent that represents a reputable company. Research to find agencies that will work for you.

Create a Business Plan

Every agent should make a business plan that defines their goals and strategies. It should include important factors like your budget, marketing strategy, and day-to-day operations. It will help you identify areas that need improvement so you can grow your business.

Creating a business plan should include a few crucial steps. You must determine your business model (a sole proprietorship or LLC), define your image in terms of how you want to market yourself and what properties you would like to sell and analyze your real estate market to create the ideal strategies.

Once your plan is in place, you should continue to improve it. Conduct a SWOT analysis to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Review your success ratios. Revisit your plan regularly to determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Create a Marketing Campaign

Many agencies provide agents with the marketing tools they need to get started. For example, they may provide them with business cards, a website template, fliers, and postcards. They may feature their agents on the main website to help them gain clients.

These tools are valuable, but they will only work for you if you use them to your advantage. Make the most of them by establishing a brand image that showcases your personality and niche. Consider the best ways to reach your target audience.

As you progress, you should branch out in your marketing efforts. Consider digital and in-person tools that will help you reach your audience. Emails, door-knocking, outdoor advertising, postcards, and social media campaigns are just some examples of effective real estate marketing.

Invest in a Reliable CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be valuable for any business, but it is practically essential in the real estate industry. Statistics show that 25% of CRM users are real estate agents. It helps you keep track of various elements that are crucial to your career.

CRMs can help with the following functions:

  • Contact management
  • Email tracking
  • Email campaign management
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Integration with other software
  • Lead routing
  • Reporting and analytics

A CRM can be valuable, but you must find the right CRM. Look for one that’s designed for real estate agents. The CRM should have must-have features like MLS integration. It should suit your uses and budget and help you communicate with clients effectively.

Invest in Lead Generation

Lead generation is a slippery slope. Several lead generation companies provide leads for real estate agents, but many will charge you for outdated information and ineffective leads. Research carefully to ensure you are working with an agency you can trust.

Your lead generation tools should have features that make it easy to connect with clients. For example, they may automate the process to save time and money. They may collect data that will assist with the decision-making process.

Lead generation platforms are a wise investment, but you can also do independent lead generation for little to no cost. For example, door-knocking can help you make valuable connections with very little investment. Unpaid social media is also free to use.

Can you be a part-time real estate agent with another full-time job?

Yes, you can be a part-time real estate agent, even if you have a full-time job. The idea is to set boundaries. Let clients and colleagues know when you are available. Draw the line at accepting calls and tasks that interfere with your other responsibilities.

However, a part-time position is not always ideal for real estate work. Real estate work is a very ‘on-demand’ industry. You may miss out on important leads or be unable to show a hot property due to scheduling needs.

All the same, it will allow you to earn additional income. You can also get your feet wet in the real estate industry to determine if it’s right for you.

Real Estate Agent Resources

The real estate industry can be tough. There is no guaranteed income. You may face challenges earning money when you are starting.

However, the various resources provide valuable information that will ensure your success. Here are some to consider following:

  • Reddit Real Estate Groups: Reddit offers great insider information for realtors. Consider following the r/realtors or r/realestate subreddits for valuable tips.
  • Key Home Real Estate: Key Home Real Estate is an excellent tool for agents, buyers, and sellers. It includes valuation pages and property search functions. It also has a mortgage calculator buyers and agents can use to determine if payments suit their budgeting needs.
  • Realtor.org: Realtor.org is the complementary membership site for the National Association of Realtors. It is considered the voice of the real estate industry. It provides information on the real estate market, listing notifications, and training and education resources.
  • Inman News: Inman News is an independent real estate news website. It provides coverage of the real estate industry, market analysis, valuable business tips, and discounted admission to live real estate events. You must subscribe to access the content.
  • RISMedia: RIS Media is the company behind Real Estate Magazine. Its writers are real estate professionals who offer tips to grow your business. It also offers the Power Broker Survey which features top brokers speaking about marketplace trends and offering future predictions in a master class format.

If you want to get your feet wet in the real estate industry, starting as a part-time agent is the perfect way to do it. You can determine if you enjoy it before you make a big commitment. You can make it a side hustle to supplement your existing income.

Getting started requires passing the real estate exam, creating a business plan, and investing in tools that help you grow your company. It’s a considerable undertaking, but those who are suited to the industry have the potential to develop a lucrative career.

Going from Part Time to Full Time

After doing real estate for a while, you may find that you want to take it from a part time position to a full-time position. This is a good move to make if your real estate is making more money than your existing job and you are finding it hard to keep up.

The business plan you create should provide a smooth transition going from part time to full time. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Save Money from Your Existing Job: If you decide to go from part time to full time, it’s likely you feel confident that your real estate career is going in the right direction. But it’s still a good idea to build a safety net from the income you are making on your current job. You can save even more by skipping on unnecessary expenses. It’s advisable to have enough money to last you 3-6 months when transitioning to a commission-based career.

Build Multiple Income Streams: When you are trying to balance two jobs, it may seem crazy to try and take on even more responsibilities. But if you gain skills for multiple income streams, you will be in a better position to keep a steady line of income once you transition. Here are some services real estate agents off that help them bring in extra money.

  • Property Tax Appeal Service: These services ensure that clients are not overpaying on property tax. This side hustle is also a great way to attract clients.
  • Property Management Service: if your client list consists of owners renting properties, you can offer to make life easier with property management services. These can include collecting rents, scheduling repairs and performing maintenance on their property while they sit back and enjoy their passive income.
  • Home Photo Shoots: Everyone knows how important it is to have great photos when it comes to selling a home. And after multiple photo shoots, you should know what it takes to get the right shots. Offer your services to sellers to fatten up your wallet.

Tips for Balancing Your Career as a Part Time Real Estate Agent with Your Full Time Job

Balancing your career as a part time real estate agent with a full-time job can be stressful. Here are some tips that will make life easier.

Join a Real Estate Team: A real estate team consists of various agents that are all active in the buying and selling process. If you’re not available for a showing, it may be possible to get another agent to cover for you.

Automate Your Marketing: Marketing can take up a lot of time, but it will be easier to deal with once you have it on an automated system. A CRM will make marketing tasks easier. It will help you schedule email campaigns and social media posts so you can be sure your campaigns are working for you with out needing to spend hours on the phone or at the computer.

Choose the Days of Week to Devote to Real Estate: If you take out little windows of the day to devote to real estate, you will find yourself taking a lot of extra time with face-to-face interactions that can last longer than planned and throw you off schedule. You are better off dedicating certain days of the week to real estate chores like showings, listings and consultations. This will keep your part time gig from eating into your other responsibilities.

Let Clients Know What to Expect: Motivated sellers and nervous buyers can be challenging when you are trying to balance a job and a real estate career. But you can manage them by letting them know when you’re available and when you will be calling them back. Be sure to stick to your commitments so they don’t end up freaking out!

Get Help: As a part-time agent, you probably don’t have a lot of extra revenue to hire a staff. But you may be able to get friends and family to help. If you have older kids that can lend a hand, it will provide them with valuable job and lifetime experience.

paul-corazzaThe most important thing for anyone looking to start a part-time real estate career is to understand the industry and the market. It’s also important to be well-organized and have excellent time management skills, as this type of work can be very demanding. My best tips for those looking to get started in part-time real estate are to shadow an experienced agent, get involved in local industry events, and take courses to learn more about the business.

If you’re interested in a career in real estate but aren’t sure if it’s the right fit for you, consider working as a part-time agent. This will allow you to get your feet wet and see if the industry is a good fit for your skills and interests. There are many different ways to get started in real estate, so it’s essential to do your research and find the right path. (from Paul Corazza, Licensed agent for 27+ years)

Focus on Sellers: if you work with buyers, you may spend hours driving from place to place only to find out they are no longer interested in buying. When you work with sellers you are under contract as their listing agent. This gives you some amount of protection from wasted time and no paycheck.

Find a Niche: Identify your favorite client category and go with it. The more streamlined your approach is, the better chance you have of it not taking up all of your time.

Matt Weidle Headshot (1)

To stand out, specialize and highlight your skills: Being a part-time real estate agent is already difficult, and attempting to be a jack-of-all-trades doesn’t help matters. You must build out a niche for yourself if you want to make the most of your real estate side hustle.

I believe your real estate marketing plan must be focused, so choose one. This could include gaining expertise in assisting specific buyer groups like renters, demographics such as seniors, or property types such as condos. If you try to cover too many bases, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin — and as a part-time real estate agent, you only have so much time to devote to your side hustle. Set yourself distinct and set yourself up for success by committing to a lane. (from Matt Weidle, 17+ years of experience)

Tips for Competing with Full Time Agents

As a part time real estate agent, you may find it difficult to keep up with full-time agents. Full time agents are more available. So why should clients choose you over someone who can dedicate more hours of their week to helping them find the perfect property or buyer?

The secret here is to find out what your strengths are. Sure, other agents may have more time to devote to their clients. But do they have your negotiating skills? Do they have dynamic personalities? Can they come up with unique marketing campaigns?

Figure out what your strongest real estate characteristics are and build on them to beat out other agents.

sarah johnson

If no one knows who you are, a part-time real estate career is virtually meaningless and inevitably fruitless. You must create some level of brand awareness for yourself, which begins with a great real estate marketing strategy. Make some wise investments in well-thought-out, well-targeted marketing campaigns. That begins with deciding on a target market – whether you want to work with renters, sellers, first-time home purchasers, or any other type of potential customer. Set both short- and long-term SMART marketing goals from there.

Then, decide on a distinct value offer — determine how you will differentiate yourself from the competition. Decide how you’re going to present yourself as a particularly credible resource capable of providing the kind of service your colleagues cannot, and figure out what kinds of things will support your case. Set a budget and decide if you’ll use traditional advertising media such as billboards or print, a well-designed website, social media profiles, business cards, branded swag, or any other type of collateral that keeps you at the front of prospects’ minds. As I have said, you can’t advance in real estate if no one knows who you are – therefore take the necessary steps to highlight your skills and personality. (from Sarah Jameson, 6+ years of experience)

Blogging can also be helpful. If you write engaging blog articles that establish you as a thought leader in your industry, your reputation will be set in stone. Statistics show that only 2% of agents have blogs with unique content. By writing just one blog article a week, you’ll have a leg up on 98% of the competition.

Working as a part time agent comes with its share of challenges, but it’s a great way to make money while following your passion. You will also be able to determine if the industry is right for you.

Now that you have the tips to get you started, you can set out on your path. Here’s wishing you the best of luck with your endeavors.

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 6/21/2024