The real estate industry isn’t perfect in any sense. Commission checks only come when you broke a sale, your weekly schedule is as unpredictable as the housing market, and some months are better than others. The uncertainty leads many to pursue real estate part-time.
You can be a real estate agent part-time. Many successful agents work fewer than 30 hours per week while holding down a second job (like waitressing or bartending) or raising children. Part-time agents who efficiently generate leads and make good use of the flexible schedule can see success.
You can pour as much (or as little) of your time as you want into your real estate career. But the old adage, “You reap what you sow,” has never been more true. To learn if you can be a part-time real estate agent, the pros and cons, and how to do it right, read on.
How Many Hours Do Real Estate Agents Work per Week?
Most real estate agents—49%, to be exact—will spend more than 40 hours a week building their real estate business. The majority of agents spend most of their time at the office, with marketing and prospecting being the most common daily tasks. A smaller portion of real estate agents—just 22% of them—will work fewer than 30 hours a week, making them part-time.
Hours per Week vs. Efficiency
As a real estate agent, you’ll adopt the title of an “independent contractor.” Your broker cannot require you to work X number of hours per week, and you receive payment when you make a sale, not on an hourly basis. But in real estate, your efficiency is far more valuable than the number of hours you dedicate per week.
For example, let’s say two real estate agents were working 20 hours a week.
Each week, Agent #1 spends ten hours cold-calling, five hours door-knocking, and five hours hosting an open house. Agent #1 gets plenty of leads from his weekly efforts, but he rarely follows up with these clients to get listings and never signs them up for an email campaign. He consistently works 20 hours per week, but he has nothing to show for.
Agent #2, on the other hand, is taking a more strategic approach. He time-blocks his schedule. He dedicates two hours in the morning on weekdays to generating leads, alternating between social media ad campaigns, door-knocking, EDDM, and cold-calling. The remaining two hours in the morning, Agent #2 follows up with his leads via phone call and schedules appointments.
This shows that how you use your time is more important than how many hours you dedicate to the industry. So yes, you absolutely can be a successful part-time agent.
Minimum Number of Hours per Week to Be Successful
While being a part-time agent is possible, spending just five hours a week on real estate probably won’t be enough. Many new agents make the mistake of seeing real estate as a source of passive income, not understanding the hard work that comes with the job.
To be a successful part-time real estate agent, you should have at least 20 hours a week to dedicate to real estate.
You’ll want to be able to stagger these openings in your schedule so that you can work around your clients’ schedules for meetings and appointments—mornings, afternoons, evenings, and even weekends. It’s also critical that you set aside time specifically to generate leads, meet clients, host open houses, and show houses to buyers.
Want to know what it’s really like to be a part-time real estate agent while juggling a second job? Take a look at the video below from a tried and true part-time real estate agent who manages real estate and a full-time job:
Requirements to Be a Part-Time Real Estate Agent
Fortunately, the requirements to become a part-time real estate agent are no different than becoming a full-time agent. Here’s everything you need to do to get your real estate license to get your part-time career off the ground:
- Pass a pre-licensing course (most states accept online real estate schools—MBition, Colibri Real Estate, and The CE Shop are all fantastic and affordable options)
- Ace your real estate exam (most states require a 70-75% to pass the exam, which boasts questions about both state and national real estate concepts/laws)
- Pass a background check (since real estate involves you going into people’s homes and handling money, you need to have a clean background)
- Apply for your real estate license (fill out the application, enclose the fee inside, and send it to your state’s real estate commission)
- Affiliate with a broker (you cannot sell homes or work as a buyer’s agent without being part of a brokerage)
How long it takes to become a part-time real estate agent depends on how free your schedule is and how motivated you are to complete the pre-requisites. It’s possible to condense your online training into three weeks or less, meaning the entire process can be completed in a few short months. The total sum of money you’ll spend on your license will be between $500 and $1,200.
Advantages of Being a Part-Time Real Estate Agent
If you’re on the fence about being a part-time real estate agent, you must learn about its perks. Let’s review a few of them right now!
You Can Make a Good Income
The average part-time real estate agent working fewer than 20 hours per week enjoys an annual take-home of $24,566. This averages out to about $23/hour, which can pair very nicely with another job on the side. If you efficiently generate leads and have a large sphere of influence, it’s possible to earn $50,000 or more a year without working a 40+ hour week.
You Could Transition to Full-Time Later On
It can take six months to a few years to get your real estate career in motion. So pursuing the craft part-time at first allows you to get your feet wet and build your local reputation without sacrificing income by quitting your other job. If you suddenly experience a windfall of clients and listings, you can always pursue a full-time agent career in the future.
You Can Hold Down a Job on the Side
Many full-time real estate agents work 40 hours or more per week, with many working more hours a week after their first year. Having a job on the side can help you keep your real estate business financed and your bills paid. This bodes well for people who enjoy variety, especially if you can’t imagine spending 20 hours a week, generating leads, or focusing on marketing.
You Get to Meet New People
Real estate is the perfect career for extroverts and those who like to be around people, as you’ll be rapidly expanding your sphere of influence as you work to generate leads and prospects. If your second job is an office job or simply work from home, being a part-time agent might satisfy your social cravings.
You Can Work When and How You Want
The best part about being a part-time agent is that you design your own schedule. You can avoid cold-calling if you hate being on the phone or prefer face-to-face conversations, you can do real estate in the mornings and go to your second job in the afternoon, and so on. This makes a part-time real estate agent the perfect job title for full-time employees or young kids’ parents.
Disadvantages of Being a Part-Time Real Estate Agent
Working as a part-time real estate agent isn’t for everybody, so you’ll also want to weigh the negatives that come with this career choice. Let’s talk about a few disadvantages below.
Some Brokers Are Reluctant to Bring In Part-Time Agents
As much as it’s possible to be a successful part-time agent, some brokers may be hesitant to accept any agent not going at it full-time. Bringing in new agents means your broker or another agent in the office has to dedicate time to training you specifically. A part-time agent who may only close on a few listings a year isn’t worth the investment in a broker’s eyes.
Some Clients Are Finicky About Part-Timers
Though it’s unrealistic, many clients want to hire a real estate agent who’ll answer their calls at all-night hours or show them homes within a few hours, especially luxury clients. Letting your clients know that you’re a part-time agent can give off the vibe that you’re not serious about this career path or that you won’t be there when your clients need your advice or input.
You May Have Less Flexibility in Scheduling
Even if your second job has flexible scheduling, that doesn’t mean that scheduling will be easy as a part-time agent. You might have to drop everything to go to a property, make a phone call in the middle of a shift, or set aside an entire afternoon for a closing. If you can’t fill your shift, leave your workplace early, or find a babysitter for the kids, you might delay important events.
Tips for Being a Part-Time Real Estate Agent
The real estate industry is already tough enough to break into, so you’ll have to jump through additional hoops to guarantee a smooth transition and early success as a part-time agent.
To get off on the right foot, here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind:
Time-Block Your Schedule
Remember, it’s how you use your time that’ll determine your success as a part-time real estate agent. Time-blocking is an excellent way to plan out your daily schedule to make the best use of your time—every hour of your day will be planned out and accounted for, including both personal and work engagements.
Dedicate a few hours each day to prospecting or lead generation in whatever way you see fit, though you should choose a method that highlights your strengths. Each day, two extra hours should be blocked off for meetings with buyers, home showings, or listing presentations, even if you don’t have any schedule.
Keeping this block open will ensure you’re free to meet with a potential client, and you can use it for extra lead generation if you don’t have any appointments.
Partner With Another Agent
Whether you’re a single parent or simply juggling a side job, you might not have the freedom to drop everything to head over to a property, show a house, or call the inspector. Clients may be reluctant to work with a part-time agent who never has a free moment for a phone call or can only meet during odd hours of the week.
Partnering with another agent can help take the load off of your shoulders without letting a lead slip through your fingers.
You can submit a referral to another agent, so you’ll earn a portion of the commission when the property sells. Or you can co-list homes on the MLS, so you’ll split the commission equally. This partnership can also divide the workload to be more manageable, so you might take on the lead generation aspect as your partner does the in-person stuff.
Hold Down Another Job on the Side
Unless you’re a pro at door-knocking and cold-calling, expect to spend a good amount of money on building your brand via marketing and advertising. Some things you’ll have to pay for out-of-pocket as a part-time agent include:
- Business cards, flyers, mailers, and EDDM
- Paid search or social media ad campaigns
- Broker fees, desk fees, and other funds you must contribute to
- Marketing your listings (just putting them on Zillow isn’t enough!)
With that, it’s a good idea to have an additional source of income while you’re a part-time agent. This can come in the form of a second job, whether you’re doing gig work like rideshare services or pet sitting within the neighborhood.
Choose a Broker With Training Tools in Place
As a part-time agent, your time in the field will be much more limited than a full-time agent. So that means it might take you a bit longer to catch onto the fundamentals, such as the forms clients need to fill out or to build your communication skills to capture more clients.
Many brokerages will offer new agents, especially part-time agents, additional training tools to help them hit the ground running.
Some new agents will be required to attend mandatory two-week training courses, and other brokers will offer weekly in-office training sessions. A few reputable real estate companies host virtual and in-person training classes. On top of class offerings, choose a broker that’ll allow you to shadow a skilled agent to learn the ropes much quicker.
List to Last
Both buyers and sellers will get you income as a part-time real estate agent, but sellers are a much more efficient way to earn your commission. Buyers are demanding, and, sometimes, you’ll cart them around to dozens of listings for weeks, only to find out they’re going to hold off on buying.
Therefore, center your efforts around getting listings for more guaranteed income and better use of your time as a part-time agent.
Real Estate as a Side Hustle: Common Second Jobs
Whether you need the additional income to support your part-time real estate endeavor or just want some more consistent pay, you might want to pick-up and maintain a second job. The best side hustles for real estate agents will get you out into the community—get leads while you’re on the clock—and have more flexible scheduling.
In the list below, we’ll describe some of the better side jobs for part-time agents:
- Food services: As a waiter, barista, or bartender, you’ll be able to spark conversations with local community members and have more control over your work schedule.
- Education: Teachers and professors who double as agents make good use of their afternoons, summers off, and name recognition in the community to succeed.
- Fitness: Personal trainers build connections with clients in one-on-one training sessions while also only having to work when classes or appointments are scheduled.
- Retail: Cashiers and floor workers enjoy flexible part-time schedules while also building up customer service skills during shifts.
- Gig work: Work whenever it fits your schedule while also picking up local jobs to meet more people in your community.
Not only are these jobs flexible in terms of scheduling, but they also might be able to help you get business when you’re on the clock elsewhere. You might end up getting a hot lead while delivering via DoorDash without having to spend hours on the phone prospecting.
Being a part-time real estate agent isn’t easy, but it’s an entirely possible side job if you’re ready and willing. Here are some tips for being a successful part-time real estate agent:
- Time-block your schedule and use your 20+ hours a week well.
- Focus on getting listings and submit buyers as referrals.
- Hold down a second job on the side, at least until you decide to go full-time in real estate.
- Select a broker that offers superb training tools and mentorship.
- Partner with another agent to split the workload and boost efficiency.
Ready to get your part-time real estate career off the ground? Then enroll in an online pre-licensing course and get the ball rolling already!