Part Time Real Estate Agent – How does it work? (2024 Updated!)

real estate agent thinkingA real estate agent position can be perfect for the right person. One of the nice things about it is, it allows for a flexible schedule. You can set appointments whenever you’d like and, ultimately, you work for yourself.

The schedule of a real estate agent can be flexible enough that you may be able to do it part time. This is a great option for new parents and people who want to pursue other interests outside of their primary career. But becoming a part time real estate agent takes some doing. It’s not always easy if it’s not your main focus, but there are some ways you can make your side hustle count.

Read on for some tips that will help you get started with a part time real estate career.

Getting Started as a Part-time Real Estate Agent

If you’re fired up to begin your new side hustle, this section is for you. Here are the five steps you’ll need to take to get started as a part-time realtor.

Step 1: Get Your Real Estate License

The first thing you’ll need to do is get your real estate license. This is the case no matter how many hours a week you plan to be focusing on real estate.

The requirements for getting a license vary from state to state, but they basically involve taking a pre-licensing course, passing the course tests, passing the state and national portion of the licensing exam, getting your license and finding a sponsoring brokerage to work for. You will also have to pay some fees and you may need to take a background and fingerprint test depending on where you live.

Sep Niakan headshot

You can’t be a real estate agent unless you join a brokerage – an overarching organization that hires real estate agents — whether you work full-time or part-time. It’s a reality of life in real estate, but unfortunately for aspiring part-time real estate agents, finding one ready to hire you is easier said than done. Unsurprisingly, a part-time agent who works restricted hours while prioritizing their primary career will earn less than a full-time agent who devotes all of their time to real estate.

Part-time agents are typically stigmatized as a result of this tendency, and brokers are often hesitant to hire them. However, not every brokerage meets that description, so don’t let it put you off. It will most certainly require more patience, persistence, and aggressive contact, but you should be able to locate a broker willing to let you join — and once you’re on board, make sure to give it to you’re all within the limited hours you have available. (from Sep Niakan, Licensed agent for 13+ years)

There are many things to think about when choosing a real estate school and going with a quality choice can make all the difference when it comes to getting off on the right foot with your career.

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Step 2: Decide What Your Schedule Will Be

Working real estate part time is doable, but it’s also challenging. There may be times when a client calls wanting to see a home, ‘right this minute, before it goes away’. If you have other obligations, it will be impossible to make the time to do the showing.

There’s no perfect way to get around this but deciding on a set schedule will be helpful. Figure out what times you can be available for real estate and what times to set aside for your other responsibilities.

This will help you minimize your stress level. You will know when to step into your ‘agent shoes’ and when to step out of them. Share this schedule with your clients and the people you work with so they will know what to expect.

It’s best to keep your weekends open as this is the time when most open houses take place. It will also be the main time clients want to see homes. Be prepared to be flexible if something comes up last minute.

And remember, your schedule shouldn’t be divided strictly between your responsibilities. Be sure to work in some time for fun and games as well if you don’t want to get burnt out.

Jonathan headshot
Although I spent most of my career as a full-time agent, in the last 4 years I’ve transitioned to part-time.
The things I find most important are: Even though it’s not your full-time job you should still treat it as if it is as important as your full-time job.  You have a fiduciary responsibility to your clients and they wouldn’t be very happy knowing that they’re low on your priorities list. Don’t treat it like a side-hustle.
Staying organized is key, I’ve used the best real estate CRMs in the past, but honestly, since I’m part time now I just use google calendar to make sure I’m getting everything done in a timely manner.  When you have two jobs it’s easy to forget things.
Even though you’re part time you still need to keep up with your marketing.  If people don’t hear from you in years, they are unlikely to think of you as their best choice for their next Real Estate transaction. (from Jonathan de Araujo, Licensed Broker)

Step 3: Let Your Bosses Know

It’s important to let both your bosses know about your part time schedule. You will want the manager of the brokerage to know you are doing real estate part time. This will help them adjust your income expectations accordingly.

If you have a job and are doing real estate to supplement your income, you should also let your boss at work know about your new career path. This way you won’t feel like you have to sneak around if you need to take a real estate related phone call at break time.

Assure your boss that your new gig won’t get in the way of your current responsibilities. And who knows? They may just end up sending some referrals your way.

Step 4: Make a Business Plan

It doesn’t matter if you plan to be a part time real estate agent or a full-time agent. A business plan will be necessary. Here are some things you will want to consider when creating it.

Step 5: Focus on Operating Costs

Now let’s revisit our first category, costs and income. It’s essential to understand the various costs that go into being a real estate agent. These are as follows.

State and Local Licensure Memberships: As a real estate agent, you will need to renew your license each year. This may be accompanied by continuing education courses. All in all, you may be looking at spending an average of $250 annually. If you are considering joining a Realtors Association, it could be a great boost for your career, but it can set you back as much as $600 a year.

Desk Fees: It’s not unusual for a brokerage to charge you desk fees. These cover the cost of the supplies and marketing materials you use as well as any educational resources. And just because you’re a part time real estate agent, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get part time desk fees. Some brokerages charge more than others, but they can add up to as much as $600 annually.

Operating Expenses: Your operating expenses include all marketing costs like paid real estate ads, lead generation tools, business cards, postcards, outdoor advertising, a CRM platform, an email marketing platform, yard signs, real estate flyers, and more. Car maintenance and fuel are other expenses to consider. You’ll also want a reliable cell phone plan so you can communicate with buyers and sellers. All and all, you may be looking at a good $2500 a year.

tyler martin headshot

Invest in appropriate technology: If you want to make your part-time real estate profession as lean, efficient, and effective as possible, you must use appropriate technologies. Typically, this begins with the purchase of a CRM. It can help you with important tasks like tracking where your clients are in the purchase process, managing prospect information, and responding rapidly to prospect inquiries. Other important resources to investigate are marketing automation tools, email scheduling software, and website designers. (from Tyler Martin, Licensed agent for 20+ years)

Broker Split: You will be required to split the money you make for every sale with your broker. A 60/40 split is typical, but some brokerages can ask as much as 50%. Others may charge much less. Once you meet your cap amount, which is the maximum amount you’ll be required to pay your broker each year, you may keep all your earnings.

Do some careful calculations to ensure your projected income is greater than your costs.

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: 12/29/2023