Real estate provides an excellent avenue for a potentially lucrative, extremely gratifying side hustle. If you have the patience, diligence, personability, and time-management skills to build a career in the field around your current job, you can put yourself in a position to generate a steady stream of supplementary income.
Here, we'll review the steps you need to take to become a part-time real estate agent, go over what you can expect to earn if you do it right, and see some tips on how to thrive in the field. Let's jump in.
How to Be a Part-Time Real Estate Agent
Get your real estate license.
Join a brokerage.
Put a business plan together.
Invest in relevant technology.
Find ways to generate leads.
Figure out a schedule that works around your current job.
Plan your marketing strategy.
1. Get your real estate license.
Becoming any kind of real estate agent always starts with getting a real estate license — even if you're just part-time. You can't breach the industry and start selling properties if you're not legally qualified to do so, so be sure to make the right strides to iron out the legal and educational requirements behind the practice before you start working.
Figuring out your state's licensing and educational requirements
You can't be a real estate agent without joining a brokerage — an overarching agency that employs real estate agents — regardless of whether you're working full- or part-time. It's a fact of real estate life, but unfortunately for aspiring part-time real estate agents, finding one willing to bring you onboard is easier said than done.
Unsurprisingly, a part-time agent — working limited hours while making their main career their priority — is practically bound to generate less income than a full-time one who dedicates all their time to real estate.
That trend usually makes for a stigma surrounding part-time agents, and brokers are often wary of bringing them on. But not every brokerage fits that mold, so you shouldn't let that stigma detract you.
It will likely take more patience, persistence, and proactive outreach, but you should be able to find a broker willing to let you join — and once you're on board, be sure to give it your all within the limited hours you can put in.
3. Put a business plan together.
You need to have a firm grasp on where you want to go with your part-time real estate career and what to expect as it progresses. That includes understanding elements like your current financial circumstances, your projected income, your sales and marketing strategies, and the legal strictures you'll be operating within.
The best way to get there is by creating a business plan — a formal document that offers actionable insight and a concrete vision for your part-time real estate hustle.
This step's value is twofold. For one, it gives you a clearer picture of what you want out of your real estate career, and secondly, it gives you a concrete reference point for your potential clientele to look over.
4. Invest in relevant technology.
If you want to make your part-time real estate career as lean, efficient, and productive as possible, you need to support it with relevant technology. That typically starts with investing in a CRM.
It can aid with key responsibilities like tracking where your clients are in the buying process, organizing prospect information, and quickly responding to prospect inquiries. Other key resources you should consider looking into include marketing automation tools, email scheduling software, and website designers.
5. Find ways to generate leads.
A solid stream of leads gives life to a productive part-time real estate career. Ignoring lead generation is one of the quickest ways to stall your side hustle and ultimately drive yourself out of the industry.
Lead generation in real estate can come from a wide variety of sources and tactics. Sometimes, online advertising provides the best avenue. Other times, in-person networking and generating referrals from previous customers are most effective. Regardless of how you get there, you need to make sure you have a steady supply of interested, engaged contacts.
6. Figure out a schedule that works around your current job.
A part-time real estate career should be exactly that — part-time. That means your main job should take precedence over your real estate side hustle. Still, if you want to succeed in the field, you can't ignore the responsibilities that come with a part-time real estate career.
You have to strike a balance between your full-time obligations and your part-time pursuits — that starts with putting together a hard, well-crafted schedule that allows you to see your clients, work on lead generation, and market your services effectively while still making good on your full-time job's responsibilities.
While that might be easier said than done — and this particular point often weeds out the halfway-committed from the ultimately successful — it's far from impossible.
7. Plan your marketing strategy.
A part-time real estate career is virtually pointless and inevitably fruitless if no one knows who you are. You need to build some degree of brand awareness around yourself, and that starts with a solid real estate marketing strategy.
Make some sound investments in thoughtful, well-targeted marketing plays. That starts with pinning down a target market — decide whether you want to pursue business with renters, sellers, first-time home buyers, or any other kind of potential clients. From there, set both short- and long-term SMART marketing goals.
Then, decide on a unique value proposition — pin down how you can separate yourself from your competition. From there, decide how you're going to project yourself as a particularly credible resource who can provide the kind of service your peers can't, and figure out what kind of materials will help your case.
Set a budget, and determine whether you'll roll with something like traditional advertising media like billboards or print, a well-crafted website, social media profiles, business cards, branded swag, or any other kind of collateral that puts you top of mind with prospects.
As I said, you can't get far in real estate if no one knows who you are — so take the proper strides to amplify your expertise and personality.
Part-Time Real Estate Agent Salary
A survey from Allied Real Estate Schools found that the average salary for real estate agents who work less than 30 hours per week is $24,566 per year — but that figure might vary from state to state and the amount of time you're willing to put in.
How to Be a Successful Part-Time Real Estate Agent
1. Be frank with clients about your availability and commitment.
One of the cardinal sins of an unsuccessful part-time real estate career is overcommitting to prospects and clients. If you don't have the time to help them out, you need to let them know explicitly.
There needs to be a clear-cut understanding between you and them about the degree of commitment you can offer. If you consistently over-promise and underdeliver, you'll stress yourself out and damage your reputation enough to undermine your business potential.
2. Set time aside for focused lead generation.
As I mentioned in the previous section, lead generation is the lifeblood of a successful part-time real estate career. You can't develop relationships and ultimately close deals if you don't have anyone to connect with. If you sincerely want to pursue a real estate side hustle, you need to set blocks of time aside, strictly geared towards generating leads.
3. Thoughtfully and strictly dedicate time for facetime with clients.
Real estate is an inherently customer-centric business. It involves a lot of close, consistent interpersonal interaction with your clientele. So if you want to make the most of your part-time career, you need to set aside some facetime with your base.
This part of the process plays into the one listed two points above — it's all about time management and setting clear, mutually understood expectations with your buyers and sellers.
If you can set firm timeframes for meetings and always show up on time and engaged, you can put yourself in a good position to thrive as a part-time real estate agent.
4. Seek out relevant, technical training.
If you want to get the most out of a part-time real estate career, your training has to extend beyond the initial coursework you take as a part of the real estate licensing process. Being the best agent you can be is an ongoing process — one that can be aided and enhanced by resources like continuing education programs.
By bolstering your knowledge, skillset, and reputation with this kind of insight and training, you'll put yourself in the best position possible to serve as a trustworthy advisor to your clientele and win referrals as a result.
5. Specialize and highlight your skills to stand out.
Being a part-time real estate agent is already an uphill battle, and trying to be a jack-of-all-trades doesn't really help that case. If you want to make the most of your real estate side hustle, you need to carve out a niche for yourself.
As I mentioned in the previous section, your real estate marketing strategy needs to be targeted — so pick a target. That could mean developing expertise in helping categories of buyers like renters, specific demographics like seniors, or types of properties like condos.
You're bound to spread yourself thin if you try to cover too many bases — and as a part-time real estate agent, you only have so much time to dedicate to your side hustle. Set yourself apart and set yourself up for success by picking a lane and committing to it.
Can you be a part-time real estate agent?
The short answer? Yes.
The long answer? Also yes — but you need to commit, have patience, persist, understand the risk, and keep your chin up.
A lot of part-time real estate agents find themselves in an awkward, difficult, compromising position early on in their careers. It can be hard to find a brokerage that's agent-centric and accepting enough to take on real estate agents that aren't in a position to bring in full-time revenue.
Beyond that, potential clients can be wary of someone they don't think has the bandwidth or interest to completely commit to their unique situations. If you truly want to be a successful part-time real estate agent, you have to know what you're getting into and put everything you can into the limited time you designate to your side hustle.
As I said, being a part-time agent is very possible — but it's a difficult course to navigate. If you want to pursue this kind of position, you can't do it halfway and expect to see results automatically.
Originally published Sep 21, 2021 8:00:00 AM, updated August 12 2022