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How to Become a Profitable Part–Time Real Estate Agent

November 11, 2019

Looking for a side hustle that lets you make your own schedule? Uber and Lyft aren’t your only options, the world of real estate has a lot to offer as well. 

Maybe you’re looking to bring in a few extra bucks each month or perhaps you're exploring your options for a potential second career. Whatever the case may be, real estate is a thriving market that allows employees to create their own schedule. This makes becoming a real estate agent the perfect part-time gig.

That’s a lot to take in all at once. Let’s break down each of those points for a more comprehensive, step-by-step guide to starting your career in real estate. 

How to become a part-time real estate agent

The journey to becoming a part-time agent isn’t impossible, but it will take time. You’ll need commitment to accomplish your dreams. The good news is that the path toward becoming a real-estate agent is very straight forward.

1. Understand your market

The first step to becoming a real estate agent is understanding your market. Before you can begin selling you need to get a pulse on the current state of things. Are you living in a buyer or seller’s market? What’s the average turnaround time for homes once they’re listed? Is there a lot of competition for real estate agents?

The real estate market is different in every city, according to research, these are the top 10 markets for real estate in the US:

  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Shawnee, Kansas
  • Rochester, New York
  • Livonia, Michigan
  • Melrose, Massachusetts
  • Arlington, Texas
  • Goffstown, New Hampshire
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado

Not what you might expect, right? That’s why research is so important. Rid yourself of your preconceived notions. Even if you don’t live in one of these hotspots for real estate, you can still become a successful real estate agent. It’s all about understanding your market and using that information to plan ahead for your career.

2. Determine your level of flexibility

Part-time can mean different things to different people but in general, a part-time job is any job you work less than 35 hours per week.

Depending on your current time commitments to other jobs you work, you’ll want to sit down and create a schedule for yourself. The biggest mistake people make when taking on a side-hustle or part time gig is failing to set boundaries.

Here are a few things you should consider when planning your schedule:

  • Current time commitments
  • Budget
  • Emotional capacity

Sit down and decide how much time a week you’re willing to spend in this endeavor. Becoming a real estate agent will take more than just your time, it costs money and emotional bandwidth as well. Determine if you’re in a place in your life to fully invest in this before you start.

3. Understand the cost

Starting your career as a part-time real estate agent doesn’t come at no cost to you. There are a lot of fees associated with a real estate career that you’ll want to be aware of. Some of these fees, such as coursework, are one-time fees, while others renew annually.

There are a multitude of costs associated with being a real estate agent, such as:

  • Broker costs
  • Membership for MLS
  • Real estate license
  • Marketing
  • Operating costs

You know what they say, you have to spend money to make money. The good news is these additional costs won’t break the bank, so long as you save ahead of time. Research how much each of these things will cost you in your area to get an idea of how much you should save.

4. Complete licensure requirements

This is the step that will take the longest to complete. Whether part-time or full time, real estate agents must be licensed before they can sell homes. This means you have plenty of studying ahead of you before you can close your first deal.

Here’s what the real-state licensure process looks like:

  • Research your state requirements
  • Complete any educational requirements
  • Study for and complete you real estate license exam
  • Apply for your license

Depending on what state you’re in and the requirements you’ll need to fulfill, the full process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Don’t rush things. This will be the most time-consuming part of the process and you’ll learn a lot!

Read more: Check out this guide from Hubspot on how to get your real-estate license.

5. Find the right brokerage

Once you become a licensed real estate agent, you’ll need to find a brokerage. A brokerage is the real estate agency that you’ll work under as an agent.

While it might be tempting to try and make it on your own, finding a brokerage is the right call for a newcomer. You’ll likely have a ton of questions that your teammates can answer and in many cases, you won’t be able to compete with huge real estate empires without gaining experience first. These are just a few reasons you’ll want to find a brokerage as a new agent.

Here are some things you should consider before choosing a brokerage:

  • Ask about the commission split
  • Evaluate the brokerage culture
  • Decide between franchise or independent brokerage
  • Find out more about their niche
  • Ensure you feel supported

In some states a brokerage sponsorship is required before you can take your real estate licensure exam. You shouldn’t go with the first brokerage you find. Always explore your options and take the time to ask questions. Think of finding a brokerage like buying a house. The first option might seem okay, but you’ll want to explore all the possibilities before signing up!

6. Join your local board

Once you become a certified real estate agent and you’ve found your brokerage, you’ll want to join your local board or association. Joining your local board gives you credibility in the market while also giving you direct access to other professionals. There’s also the option to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which is a professional organization at the national level.

There are plenty of benefits to joining a board or association, such as:

  1. Continuing education opportunities
  2. Networking opportunities
  3. Mentorship programs
  4. Access to resources
  5. Job opportunities
  6. Professional development

Most boards or associations require a fee to remain a member, but that’s a small price to pay for the resources you’ll receive. The support you can get from this environment is perfect for starting your career off on the right foot.

7. Invest in lead generation

As a real estate agent, you’ll be responsible for finding potential buyers and sellers. These are known as your real estate leads and they are the driving force behind your success. Without clients to work with, there’s not much you can do as an agent.

There are a couple of tried and true methods for finding real estate leads:

As you progress further in your career, you’ll find which of these lead generation tools you prefer to use. Some agents feel at home with social media marketing, while others prefer working their extended network. It’s a good idea to try a little bit of everything when you’re first starting out.

8. Learn to market yourself

Working as a real estate agent poses a unique challenge in that you’re not just marketing houses, but yourself as well! Finding your niche in the market will help you attract and delight new customers. Before you decide on a specialty, it’s wise to brush up on these highly sought after real estate skills.

best Real Estate Agent Skills


Once you’ve mastered the skills you’ll need for the job, you can move onto more advanced marketing ideas to get your business out there. This can be done with the help of social media, business cards, or even your personal real estate website.

Marketing yourself as an agent comes down to personal branding. What are you bringing to the table that other agents aren’t? Finding what makes you stand out will help you create your personal brand as a part-time real estate agent.

Never built a website before? Check out the best website builders on the market based on real user reviews.

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Pros and cons of being a part-time real estate agent

As with any job, there are always perks and drawbacks. Whether you’re looking to become a part-time real estate agent to shake the boredom of retirement or you’re looking for a second income, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons.

pros and cons of being a real estate agent


What makes being a part-time agent so appealing is that your path is in entirely in your hands. You’re in charge of your own career and that means deciding whether you’re ready for the step into real-estate.

Tips for becoming a part-time real estate agent

You’re not the first person to make a career change into real-estate and that’s a good thing! It means there have been others before you who know all the best secrets for success. Below are some common pieces of advice for those looking to become a part-time real estate agent.

Ten tips for becoming a successful real-estate agent:

  • Seek out a mentor who can help show you the ropes
  • Develop partnerships with other agents
  • Dedicate two hours a day to lead generation
  • Create a schedule and stick to it, no exceptions!
  • Establish boundaries early and often
  • Create a real-estate career plan
  • Find your real-estate niche
  • Join your local board or association
  • Take online classes to keep your skills sharp
  • Explore certification programs to give you an edge

Building a solid foundation for your career in real estate will help you avoid common pitfalls. Do your research beforehand to spare yourself the headache. Ask other real estate professionals for their advice or read real estate blogs for more.

You’ve been pre-approved for a career in real estate!

But this is just the beginning of your journey! There’s plenty more research you’ll want to do about becoming an agent. Take your time and find the path that best suits your career. If you can do all that, then you’ll be well on your way to success.

Interested in learning more? Check out these tips from current agents on how to become a successful real estate agent.

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