Ready to Be a Part Time Real Estate Agent?
Being a real estate agent is a dream job for many. For the most part, the general population sees the agent’s job as pretty straightforward: You show a house, negotiate an offer and make thousands of dollars on each sale. You make your millions, and then you retire at 35 like the real estate mogul you are! Realistically, very few people see the behind the scenes work that the average REALTOR has to do.
For those looking to jump into the world of real estate, you might be drawn to the prospect of working part-time as a real estate agent as a way to get started. This is actually how most experts recommend people enter the real estate field, and for one very good reason…
Working as a part time real estate agent allows you to figure out if you enjoy it and it’s the right career for you — all while taking as little financial risk as possible.
Before You Become a Part-Time Real Estate Agent, Ask Yourself…
While working as a part-time agent may seem like the perfect career move for you, there are a few things to consider before making the move. Ask yourself these important questions:
How flexible are you?
Many people are drawn to real estate because they think they can work when they want and set their own schedule. While this career does allow certain perks, like being able to work from home and being able to do things like marketing any time of the day or night, there are certain commitments which must be met. A few examples:
- Your clients expect you to be able to be available whenever they are; otherwise, you risk losing them to a more flexible agent
- You have to attend closings, home inspections and any required meetings at your real estate brokerage
- Many phone calls to lenders, appraisers closing attorneys and other service providers have to occur during normal 9 to 5 business hours
To be able to complete this job part time, you’ll have to have a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to your primary (or other) job. If you’re not able to leave in the middle of the day, you’ll at least need to make sure that you can check your email and make important calls to clients while at your primary job.
Can you support yourself with your primary job?
When most people picture getting started in the real estate field, they picture striking it rich quick after selling a multi-million dollar home to an eccentric tycoon. The reality is that you’ll have to expect that you won’t sell your first home for a few months — if you’re lucky. This can be a hard field to break into, even with the proper training and schooling. The benefit of entering into this career part-time is that you’ll have the ability to work another job until you get on your feet. It’s important to be certain that you can support yourself on your primary job alone.
Are you a good multi-tasker?
Being a real estate agent can often be an overwhelming job with lots of details and important deadlines to remember. Most days, you’ll be juggling clients and paperwork, managing your own marketing, and furthering your education. On top of that, you’ll also have to incorporate your primary job and any other commitments you might have in your daily life. Being an exceptional multi-tasker is incredibly important in this line of work, along with excellent time management skills.
Do you have a solid support system in place?
While this career certainly does have flexible aspects to it, you’re often asked to work on your clients’ schedule. Having a strong support system behind you is vital to your success as a part-time realtor. If you have children, having reliable child care is an absolute must. Have a backup agent is also a huge plus, so try to find another realtor in your brokerage who can fill in when you need the help and vice-versa.
How do you feel about working long hours?
In real estate, customer service is imperative. Many part-time real estate agents find they need to put in long hours on the weekends and evenings after their primary job. Breaking into this field can be demanding and not everyone is cut out for it. You’ll need to be a natural hard worker and perfect your time management skills in order to succeed.
Benefits of Working as a Part-Time Agent
After you’ve considered whether this job is for you, it’s important to look at the pros and cons of your new career.
Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of this line of work and something that attracts parents in particular. There is a bit of flexibility when it comes to your schedule, even offering options to complete some of your work on the go. If you need to take some time off, it’s a little easier to do so in this profession than it is in others. As mentioned above, it’s helpful to have a fellow agent you trust to be able to fill in for you when you’re in need of some time off.
The freedom to build your own business is an element that attracts many entrepreneurs. Being a part-time real estate agent means you have the freedom that not many have, especially considering the fact that the vast majority of part-time realtors are independent contractors. Your business can be as a small or as large as you want. Some choose to remain a one-man show, while others may choose to turn their eventual success into their own team or brokerage.
A huge attraction to this field is that the amount of work you put in can often be a direct relation to the amount of success you see. You’ll have the stability of a second income. The largest benefit of working as a part time realtor is probably one of the most obvious ones. The stability of having a primary job while you pursue work as a realtor will reduce the stress most feel when starting a new business. This also gives you the opportunity to really try out this career without risking significant financial loss.
The Downside of being a Part Time Real Estate Agent
As with all good things, there are definitely some drawbacks to working as a part-time agent.
Clients can doubt your commitment when they find out you’re a part-time real estate agent. It’s common for clients to feel as though you won’t be dedicated to them, or that you’re only choosing part-time work because you’re inexperienced. Devotion to your clients and great customer service is often the best choice when trying to win over hesitant clients. Once you can impress them, they’ll see the benefit of part-time realtors as well.
It can be hard to find a good brokerage when you’re first starting out. For those looking to join with a broker, being part-time may be a disadvantage to you. More often than not, they won’t take on part-time realtors whose workload is less than that of their full-time counterparts. Luckily, there are still good brokerages out there for part-timers. Don’t give up the search, and look specifically for brokers that offer mentorships, teams, and plenty of training experiences.
This is not a get rich quick scheme. As mentioned above, many people believe that striking it rich as a realtor is as easy as selling a few big properties. The truth is, this is a hard and rewarding career. It will require work and an awful lot of effort.
How much do Part Time Real Estate Agents Make?
This is one of the most common questions of agents starting out, as well as one of the most difficult to answer. The salary of a part-time real estate agent in New York will be different than the salary of one in Tennessee. While we all hope to be making six figures while working part-time, there are a few variables in figuring out what you’ll actually be able to make.
Is it a buyer or seller market? Before you dive in head first, it’s important to do your due diligence. Study the market you plan on entering into and discover whether it’s a seller’s or a buyer’s market. In layman’s terms, a seller’s market is when there’s more demand than there is supply. Typically, if the market is “hot,” you’ll see that inventory is lower than it was at this time last year. Additionally, you should notice that “for sale” signs don’t stay up for long, and that there are less than three months of inventory on the market.
Find the median sale price for the area. This will help you understand what houses are going for in your local market and give you a more accurate idea of what you have the potential to earn. Try sites like Realtor.com or Zillow.com to find the median sale price for areas near you.
Calculate how much you’ll need to sell. The final step in being able to accurately understand the income you stand to make is to take the time to figure out how many deals you’ll have to close in order for you to make a profit. To do this, take the median sale price you found earlier and multiply it by 2%, the estimated percentage you’ll take home after everyone else gets their cut of the 5 to 6% commission.
Keep in mind, that the salary of a part-time realtor will be less than those who are working full time. On average, part-time real estate agents are lucky to close four or five deals a year. To give an example, let’s look at Raleigh, NC. According to Zillow, the median sale price for a home in Raleigh is about $235,000. After we multiply this by the 1.25% commission you’ll make, that means the average sale in Hartford will bring in $1237.50 in net income, of which you’ll have to subtract your taxes and any expenses you had incurred.
EXAMPLE OF WHAT PART TIME AGENTS CAN MAKE:
Median home sales price is $235,000
If you sell one home, you’ll earn about $7,050 (based on a 3% commission)
Usually, your broker will have new agents on a 60/40 or 70/30 split, so you’ll keep about $4,600 (before taxes)
If you sell 5 homes in a year, you’ll earn approximately $23,000
After taxes and business expenses (signs, lockboxes, monthly broker fees, etc), you may net about $15,000
While the numbers may seem low at first, keep in mind that some really hit the ground running, and if you don’t, everyone gets better with time. This is a career just like any other and experience is key. Taking the time to pursue further training and education is vital, and in no time, you’ll see your income grow.
Recommendations from Former Part-Time Real Estate Agents…
“For anyone thinking of getting into real estate part-time, I would recommend it — IF you have a job with some flexibility. Thankfully, I had that kind of job and was able to get my real estate license and join a team as a part time real estate agent.
After 6 or 7 months things were going so well and I was making enough money that I was able to quit my other job and became a full-time realtor. It’s a challenging career path, but the rewards and income potential are limitless.”
“Based on my experience, working as a part time real estate agent was almost impossible because my full-time job didn’t allow me to check emails and make phone calls regularly. Many people believe that real estate agents work on their own schedule, but really you are on your CLIENTS schedule. You have to be there when they have a question and show them homes as soon as they hit the market. If you are only part-time it’s incredibly difficult to give great service to your real estate clients.
I tried being a part-timer for 9 months and didn’t sell anything. Finally, when I decided to go full time, it was hard but I was so focused and knew I needed to make something happen. I closed my first home within two months and now about a year later I’ve already sold $3.0M in real estate… and have some rave reviews from my happy clients!”
“I started in real estate as a part time agent, but thankfully my ‘full time’ job allowed me to work from home 100% of the time. I didn’t have any children and wasn’t married, so between the two jobs, I worked at least 80 hours a week – every week. Almost every night I would work on marketing my real estate business and every weekend (any many evenings), I showed homes to potential buyers.
After about 18 months, I was making as much in real estate as I was at my corporate job and I knew I LOVED the real estate business, so I made the jump to full time…. and have never looked back!”
– Kerry Lucasse, Team Leader
Starting your career as a part time real estate agent is a smart move if your other job offers some flexibility and you are willing to work long hours to market yourself, be available for your clients, attend closings and handle any issues/questions that arise. It’s a wonderful way to see if real estate is a good career path for you before you jump in with both feet. As a part-time realtor, you can also build up your savings account so that when you do go full-time, you’ll have money to invest in your business and some cushion when business is slow.
If you have any questions about how to become a part time real estate agent or which real estate brokerages work with part-timers, please call us! Kerry Lucasse with the Building Better Agents team would be happy to help! Call anytime at 404-205-8100.