Pros and Cons of Working in Real Estate Part-Time

Pros and Cons of Working in Real Estate Part-Time

If you’re considering a career in real estate part-time, it’s probably for one of two reasons – either you’re looking for a side hustle, or you want to start as a part-time real estate agent with the goal of transitioning to full-time real estate eventually.

Is it worth getting into real estate part-time? How much money can you make? Why is it a good idea, and what are the challenges and problems you’ll run into?

Advantages of Practicing Real Estate Part-Time

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 75% of real estate agents fail in the first year; another 12% don’t make it to their fifth anniversary.

Real estate is a challenging industry to break into, and a part-time approach may help you avoid becoming a statistic.

Part-Time Income Potential

Once your career is underway, the income potential in practicing real estate part-time can add up to a very nice sideline. According to ZipRecruiter, part-time real estate agents make between $61,800 and $102,900 as of 2024.

These numbers come with a few caveats. ZipRecruiter counts agents as part-time if they work less than 40 hours a week, so that’s not necessarily a reliable estimate for half-time professionals. Additionally, most new agents won’t reach their part-time income potential for at least several years, though it’s possible if you already have an extensive social network to refer hot leads.

Balancing Costs and Income

While the cost of obtaining your real estate license is relatively modest – especially for a career with so much earnings potential – the first few years of practicing real estate can be expensive.

You’re paid on commission, which means that you won’t make any money if you don’t make a sale. As a result, new agents can go months without income.

Additionally, when you do get paid, you won’t take home the entire commission. You’ll hear that real estate commissions are 5%, but brokerage fees can reduce your take-home to less than half, as a new agent. Then you owe taxes.

In the meantime, you still have living expenses to cover, as well as the business expenses that will be your responsibility as a real estate agent.

Most new agents lose money in the first few years, and many wash out because they can’t afford to keep trying. Having another job with a reliable paycheck can help a new agent get through these lean years so they can build a lucrative career.

Challenges in Part-Time Real Estate

While having a separate income stream can help you survive your early years, some new agents wash out because the hustle required to be a part-time agent is just too much of a challenge. Here are some of the problems you might face.

Flexibility in Real Estate is Overhyped

A lot is made of real estate as a career with flexible hours, but the truth is that your flexibility in real estate is far from absolute.

Many agents find that they don’t actually set their own schedule – their clients do. You need to be available around their schedule, which typically means evenings and weekends. That might sound perfect for a 9-to-5er, but you’ll need to deal with lenders, appraisers, attorneys, and other service providers during their business hours, as well.

As a result, most part-time success stories involve your “other job” being the flexible one. Remote work and a certain amount of discretion in your schedule are key.

That’s not to say you can’t make it as a part-time agent with a strict second work schedule, but it will definitely be more of a challenge.

Building a Client Base Part-Time

Building a client base is one of your biggest challenges as a new agent. It’s more difficult to build a client base part-time than full-time.

Not only do you have fewer hours to dedicate to the task, but you’re competing against other agents that focus full-time. Additionally, many clients will be skeptical of your skills or commitment if they learn you have another job. They’ll assume that you won’t be as dedicated or flexible and that you have less experience than someone full-time.

Limited Sponsoring Brokerage

You’ll need to be up-front about your intended schedule when you seek a sponsoring brokerage, but this likely means you’re limiting your options off the bat. Some brokerages don’t want to hire an inexperienced part-time agent, because giving that desk to someone full-time will likely mean more money. 

It’s likely you’ll still be able to find a brokerage. But it’ll be harder.

Strategies for Success as a Part-Time Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re approaching real estate as supplemental income or a future career, you’ll need to be organized, diligent, and strategic to succeed as a part-time real estate agent.

Hone Your Time Management

If you’re a natural juggler, tackling real estate part-time may be less of a problem, but you’ll want to have a plan and a system for tracking all your responsibilities and deadlines.

If you’ve struggled with multi-tasking in the past, you’ll want to study time management strategies and dedicate yourself to implementing them.

Set a Schedule

As a part-time real estate agent, you’ll want to set a certain number of regular hours to dedicate to your new job.

While some real estate activities run on an unpredictable schedule, you’ll want to set a recurring schedule for activities like marketing, lead generation, and prospecting. These steps are critical to your success but time-consuming and easy to let slip.

Set Goals

Setting and tracking specific goals is always a good idea, but it’s even more critical when you’re practicing real estate part-time. A strong set of SMART goals can keep your efforts and limited time focused on driving your success.

Join a Team

Being a team player – literally – can address many of the challenges in part-time real estate. This is especially important if your other job has limited flexibility. Look for brokerages that organize agents into teams, rather than leaving each agent to their own devices.

Leverage Technology for Efficiency

There are many real estate tools that automate important tasks or reduce the amount of personal effort required. Leveraging technology in real estate can help part-time agents make the most of their work hours.

Keep Your Education Flexible

Finally, you can’t forget to keep up with your renewal requirements as a part-time real estate agent. A reputable online training provider like us can help you fit mandatory continuing education into your busy schedule. You’ll be able to access your coursework anywhere you have a device and an internet connection, whether that’s on your lunch break at your other job or at night after the kids go to bed.

In fact, we can also help you get started in real estate part-time with online and self-paced pre-licensing courses in most states.

Enroll today to launch your new career!

Written and Published by: VanEd

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