Research shows that 78% of real estate agents dedicate over 30 hours a week to the job. And there’s a good reason for that — not committing full time to real estate limits how efficiently you can capture leads, market your listings, and contact your clients. So it should come as no surprise that the majority of part-time agents leave the field in a year or less.
To be a full time real estate agent: Join a brokerage that trains new agents, time-block your schedule to juggle your work and personal lives, save up money with 6+ months of rent on-hand, transition slowly from your 9-to-5 to real estate, and put in the effort to grow and nurture your network.
Whether you’re looking to become a brand new agent or transition to a full time real estate agent, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn how to become a full time agent, turn a massive profit, and make an effort well worth your time.
The Perks of Becoming a Full Time Real Estate Agent
Do you have to become a full time real estate agent to make waves in the industry? No.
In actuality, being a part-time agent has its perks. You can hold down a different job with consistent income, generally earn passive income through real estate if you can clinch new listings, and take home commissions of $5,000 or more — likely more than your full time job pays you in a single month.
But most real estate agents see the most success in terms of name recognition and income by committing 40+ hours a week to the field. The average agent will capture 11 listings each year, build a presence in the local community, and get a glimpse of every step of the home buying or selling process — from getting the lead to handing over the keys at the closing.
Part-Time vs. Full Time Real Estate Agent Salary
Are you still on the fence about whether you should stick to part-time or quit your 9-to-5 and become a full time agent? Then consider the salary differences between the two.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full time real estate agent in America will earn just under $49,000 a year. But your exact salary will depend on your local market and how well you capture listings. In states like New York, the average salary is over $102,000!
Part-time agents dedicating fewer than 20 hours a week to real estate will struggle more financially. The average part-time agent will generate under $25,000 a year in commission.
Get Your House in Order Before Going Full Time
The move from part-time to full time real estate agent isn’t quite as simple as quitting your current job and committing all of your free time to sell homes. It’s admirable to want to jump in headfirst and get the ball rolling, but it takes money and time to get a solid real estate business up and running successfully.
Prepare to Spend Money to Make Money
The real estate industry is one of those few career paths where you have to spend a little money to make a lot of money. Think of your blossoming real estate career as a business start-up.
As a new agent, you want to get your name out there to start capturing new leads and converting leads into listings. The majority of real estate agents will spend $5,000 a year or less on marketing, so be prepared for your bank account to take a hit as you’re just starting.
When you get your name out there and start getting referrals, you’ll end up getting free clients that come to you. Trust me, it gets easier as you go if you can commit.
Understanding how much you’ll be spending on advertising and fees is important so that you can create and stick to a budget. Here’s a look at what you might spend in your first year:
- Facebook or Instagram Ads: Costs an average of $0.27 per click and, if you’re targeting a geographical area and real estate interests, you’ll bring in more clients.
- EDDM: Costs between $0.16 to $0.19 per piece and is a great way to target an entire community, especially one where they know your name.
- Fees: All agents must pay an MLS fee, brokerage fees, NAR fees, and sometimes desk fees, which can total up to a few thousand in a year.
- Marketing a Listing: You’ll be shelling out cash to send out mailers, hire the photographer, and more.
In the long run, you’ll be able to see more money coming in than what’s going out. But that can take months or even years in this industry.
Give Yourself 6+ Months to See Income
Before you decide to do real estate full time, make sure that you have a hefty savings account that you can fall back on as you await your first sale. New agents may take six months or longer to capture their first listing (and hopefully it sells), meaning you may not see your first commission check until half a year from now.
The best way to avoid financial turmoil when you’re in your transition to becoming a full time agent is making sure you have more than six months of bills and mortgage payments saved up. Also, be prepared to cut the luxury island vacation this summer and the brand new Mercedes until your business gets on its feet.
Work on Time-Blocking Your Schedule
The biggest struggle between being a part-time agent and a full time agent (or starting this career path altogether) is the fact that you’re completely reliant on yourself. You’ll be your own boss and, if you don’t have a great work ethic and thriving motivation, you might go off the rails.
That’s where you’ll want to consider time-blocking your schedule.
This is a technique where you block out each and every time slot during the day (down to the hour or half-hour) and dedicate each block to a specific task. The benefits of time-blocking are wide-ranging, but the best is that you can avoid multitasking and dedicate enough time to each of your daily tasks.
For example, you might want to spend two hours on lead generation in the morning and follow it up with a showing and then the gym. It’s important to add both personal and professional activities into your schedule so you can struggle both adequately.
Spending far too much time on real estate will lead to burnout.
Here’s a video showing you exactly what a real estate agent’s daily schedule might look like. It’s called “Best Day Ever”:
Choose a Brokerage With New Agent Support Tactics
The brokerage you choose to affiliate with will either make or break your first few months or first year in real estate. If you join the best brokerage for part-time agents and full time agents (like Keller Williams), you can get unrivaled guidance as you get on your feet.
Many brokers will offer unique training and opportunities to new agents, such as:
- Networking events (great for referrals from other states and counties)
- Mentorships (learn from one of the best agents in your office)
- Training sessions and workshops (paperwork, lead generation, and listing practices)
- NAR and local Realtor Association workshops
Many brokerages will welcome new agents like their life depends on it, but won’t do much to help the new agent get settled in and build their business. The last thing you want to do is be left to your own devices on day one in a new job.
Strive to Build Your Client Base and Capture Leads
As a brand new full time agent, you’ll need to start generating leads and recruiting clients in order to get some money in the bank and guarantee future business. If you’re a full time agent without a single lead or client, then you’re spending 40+ hours a week checking the MLS for fun and calling up random phone numbers just to chat.
Don’t count on your broker to give you leads.
Here are some tips for starting off well in your first few months and getting your name out there from the get-go:
- Tell people in your life that you’re in real estate full time and completely committed.
- Make online profiles on Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, and all social media platforms.
- On your online accounts, add a professional photo, details on the areas in your state in which you focus, and a short bio convincing clients to pick you.
- Market your current neighborhood where other reputable agents aren’t and where people know your name.
- Hand out your business card whenever possible, whether you’re at the bar or dropping off your car at the shop, and they ask for a call-back number.
- Talk about real estate with those you know.
- Claim floor duty at the office, answering phones and claiming any lead that you answer.
- Collect email addresses anyway to begin email campaigns (so long as it’s legal and you don’t violate the CAN-SPAM Act, meaning don’t buy email lists).
As soon as you get new clients, you’ll feel confident that you made the right choice by pursuing real estate full time.
The transition to a full time real estate agent is one that takes a bit of planning. You need to be sure you have the time to commit (40+ a week), the focus to make contacts to catch leads constantly, and the funding to pay your bills for a few months as you get your business up and running. For part-time & full time real estate agents, Keller Williams is a great brokerage to start with to launch your full time career off the ground.