Can You Do Real Estate Part-Time? 6 Things to Consider

Peter Chambers

Sep 4, 2020


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With an estimated 2% job outlook growth rate, becoming a real estate agent or broker in the United States may be an ideal choice for you. However, as your salary is based entirely on commissions, jumping all in can be intimidating. So, where does this leave you? Can you do real estate part-time?

The answer is simple — yes! One of the perks of becoming a real estate agent is the ability to set your schedule. If you’d like to work 12 hours a week or 60, either amount is acceptable. Just keep in mind your yearly earnings typically correspond with the hours you work. So even though it’s possible to do real estate part-time — is it the right choice for you?

Here are seven things to consider before making your decision.

1. Account for Time Commitments

Becoming a real estate agent takes time. Before you can begin advertising your services, you must first take pre-licensing classes for your state. You then have to pass the real estate exam, which is state-specific. After you’ve passed the exam, you must find a brokerage. As a real estate agent, you act on behalf of a broker. They assist with transactions and provide training to real estate agents.

If you only intend to work part-time, you must judge whether these steps are worthwhile. You’ll need to rework your schedule to make room for these new time commitments. This isn’t a career or side hustle you can start immediately.

2. Prepare for Networking

Networking is a major part of real estate. Most contacts come from word of mouth and referrals, so soft skills are vital. Becoming a clear communicator will increase your success. Practicing active listening, observing social cues and demonstrating patience will enhance your negotiation abilities.

These skills take time to cultivate, and networks can take years to develop. While you can do real-estate part-time, it may take a long while for your efforts to show.

3. Evaluate Your Salary

What’s your reasoning for becoming a real estate agent? Will it act as a primary source of income or as a secondary position? The commission is usually 6% of the sale price, but that must be split between the agents and the brokerage.

If you intend to work part-time, your salary will be lower than full-time agents. This may be acceptable, depending on your needs. However, if your lifestyle requires a higher income, you may want to work full-time.

4. Recognize the Demand

Depending on where you live, the real estate demand will fluctuate. Some states have a high number of agents, but they also have high demand. If you live in a rural area, there may be less need because people are buying fewer properties.

Evaluate your location to determine how the supply of real estate agents relates to the area’s needs. For example, California has the greatest number of registered realtors, followed by Florida and Texas. Based on your state, would you experience intense competition as a part-time agent?

5. Acknowledge Time Constraints

Working as a real estate agent isn’t like a typical nine to five job. You must be available to match your clients’ schedule — which often means working odd hours, evenings and weekends. If you have a full-time job and are planning to work part-time, you might face time constraints that affect your ability to close a sale.

If you have a flexible schedule, working on a part-time basis is possible — but if you have other fixed commitments, your availability may not align with interested homebuyers. 

6. Automate What You Can

Between marketing, networking and managing client needs, part-time real estate can get draining. One key to overcoming the rush of work is to automate everything you can. After all, how much more time would you have if you could build connections, keep up a digital strategy and promote listings without constant maintenance?

Today, lots of software tools exist to help part-time real estate agents ease their schedule. Free project management resources like Trello or Monday can help you maintain an organized workflow for all your contacts and marketing ideas. Meanwhile, options like Buffer or Hootsuite let you schedule out social media campaigns months in advance — so you don’t have to sit on Facebook every day setting up posts.

Real-estate specific tools can make listings a breeze, too. Options like Page Engage let you automatically feature a carousel of listings to Facebook on a monthly basis. Agents can expand the utility of their MLS and keep up critical marketing strategies without leaving their office.

7. Identify Upfront Costs

Besides time, you also need to set aside money to become a licensed real estate agent. There are fees for the classes you must take, the exam you’re required to sit and the realtor membership. There are also costs associated with the brokerage you sign onto. 

Once you’ve finished your classes, passed the test and found a broker you will still need to budget for operating costs. You may choose to buy business signs, cards and advertisements to increase your notability. These will all be additional out of pocket expenses for you to budget.

Finding Success as a Part-Time Real Estate Agent

Can you do real estate part-time? While managing your connections and scheduling will be challenging, the disciplined real estate professional might be surprised at how well they can succeed. Lean on your tools, understand your limits and plan out your time.

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