Last Updated on July 26, 2021 by Mark Ferguson
Many people have dreams of making it big as a real estate agent, but they want to start slow as a part-time agent. They want the freedom, income, and the other benefits that come with being a real estate agent but are afraid to lose a steady income. Getting a real estate license and working part-time as an agent may seem like a great idea, but it is not easy to pull off.
There are some cases when working part-time may work; like an agent who only uses their license for their own investing strategies. There are also a couple of other instances where being a part-time agent can work if you have a very flexible schedule. The problem with being part-time in real estate is that clients need things done at all times of the day. If you cannot get away from your job, you are going to find yourself struggling to help those clients.
How hard is to become an agent?
One of the drawbacks to becoming a part-time real estate agent is how much work it takes to become a real estate agent. One of my team members just got their real estate license. It can take hundreds of hours of education and testing to become an agent. If you already have a job, even part-time, it will be tough to find the time to complete your education.
There are night classes and online classes that you can take to get your real estate license, but you will have to spend a lot of time studying. The real estate exam is not easy to pass and it will take a lot of time to prepare for it. If you want to become a part-time agent, make sure you factor the time it will take to get your license into the equation.
In Colorado, you will need to take 168 hours of classes either online or in-person to complete the education portion. Once you pass the classes you must take the test, pass the background check, and find a broker to work with. This all takes a lot of time!
If you are interested in getting your real estate license, Real Estate Express offers classes in most states and is very affordable.
Will you have enough time for clients?
Once you get your license, you must hang it with a brokerage. After finding a brokerage, you must start working with clients and generating business. This is where it gets tricky for a part-time agent who has another job. Whether you are listing homes or working with buyers, selling real estate is a random hours job. You may not have to work 40 hours per week, but you will have to work all hours of the day.
If you have a day job, you had better be able to get away from that job to take calls for your real estate job. Buyers are going to want to look at houses and offers must be negotiated and presented. If your clients have to wait eight hours to get a hold of you, they are going to get frustrated. There is a good chance you will lose clients if you cannot get back to them in a timely manner. In a tight sellers’ market such as the one we have now, speed is very important in getting offers accepted. If buyers feel an agent cannot submit offers quickly enough for them, they will probably find another agent. If you cannot respond to your clients for hours at a time, are you being a good agent to them?
You can also check out the video below on part-time agents
What does a real estate agent do?
Most people think that being an agent is about showing houses and writing offers. However, there is much more to being a real estate agent, and that is why we are paid so much for selling homes. Real estate agents have to do many things to close deals and generate business. Here are some of the things an agent must do in order to be successful:
- Show houses
- Write contracts
- Help buyers complete inspections
- Contact lenders
- Contact title companies
- Contact other agents
- Complete continuing education
- Host open houses
- Talk to your circle of influence
- Create brochures
- Take photos
- Create advertisements
- Answer their phone
- Floor duty
- Create plans and goals
- Manage expenses
As you can see, there is a lot that a successful agent must do. Not only do you have to work with clients, but you have to find clients as well. It takes a lot of time to be a great agent and it is very difficult to do part-time. Being able to answer your phone at any time is one of the best ways to get business. If you are returning calls hours after you receive them, there is a great chance that person already has another agent who called them back quicker or answers their phone.
Can you maintain a good reputation?
As a real estate agent, I deal with other real estate agents, title companies, buyers and sellers, lenders, attorneys, investors, and many people in our community. My reputation is a huge reason why I have been so successful as an agent, broker, and investor. When you are a part-time agent, it is very tough to find enough time in the day to get all your tasks done and follow up with people. If you are calling back people days later or not at all, word will spread very quickly around the real estate community. It is very important to provide great service as a real estate agent and that is tough to do when you only work part-time.
If you get a reputation as someone who is hard to get a hold of, does not call back, or is too busy to follow up, it will be very hard to shake that reputation. Even if you become a full-time agent and do an amazing job, people will remember the less than par work that you did previously. People remember the poor work people do and they expect people to do good work.
Can joining a team help?
If you want to be a part-time agent and there is no possible way that you can quit your current job, there are some steps you can take to be more successful. I have a team of ten people who help me run my real estate business, fix and flip business, and REO business. We have some part-time help and many members of my team started out as part-time workers. If you join a team, your team can help cover for you when you have to work your other job. By joining a team, you agree to give up part of your commission to the team so the team is motivated to help you succeed. I think there is a better chance of succeeding as a part-time agent if you can join a team rather than trying to do everything yourself.
You will be doing other tasks than just working as an agent, but it will all be real estate related. You will also have a flexible schedule on most teams that will allow you to drop everything and go show houses if needed.
Does it help with investments?
The best situation to become a part-time real estate agent is when you are a real estate investor. I own 20 long-term rentals and I complete 20 to 30 fix and flips per year. I save money when I buy a home from the MLS and when I sell a home because I do not have to pay a listing agent. Being a part-time agent who invests in real estate is well worth it in my opinion.
If you are only an agent to save money on your own properties, you do not have to worry about having a flexible schedule or working leads. If you are only an agent because you are an investor, being a part-time agent may work out great.
What other options will help part-timers succeed?
Joining a team is one way to succeed as a part-timer. There are some other ways to make a part-time real estate career work. The most important thing to have as a real estate agent is availability. Many people do not want to be on-call all the time, but there are sacrifices you must make for an awesome career. While you may not have to work 30 hours per week as an agent or even 20 hours a week to sell houses, you need to be available most of the time. If a buyer or seller needs to talk to you on a Sunday afternoon or on a Monday morning, you should be available. You may have to show houses on the weekends or in the evenings. Real estate agents make their own schedules and have a lot of freedom, but when a client needs to see a house after hours, an agent should accommodate them.
If you want to be a part-time agent and have a very flexible schedule, you have a much better chance of making it. If you have to work another 9 to 5 job every day, it will be very tough to make a real estate career work. There are some amazing jobs today that can help agents make money and have a flexible schedule. Uber or Lyft are ways agents can make money, but also be able to drop everything to help out a client.
A part-time agent can make it in the real estate industry, but to be successful, part-timers need to join a team until they can go full-time. If you are an investor who just wants to save money on your own investment properties, becoming a part-time agent is a great idea.
Many of my sales come from listing REO and HUD homes for banks and for the government. If you want to become an REO agent, you must be a full-time agent. Banks and HUD need immediate responses on their properties and getting back to them in a day or two will not cut it. I have to do inspections within 24 hours and most tasks in 48 hours. To be successful you need to commit and it is tough to commit to something when you are part-time.