How to Be a Successful Part-Time Real Estate Agent

The pros and cons for working as a part-time agent

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas


Becoming a successful real estate agent takes guts, hard work, and lots of hours— but can it be done in part-time hours?

The answer is yes. It is possible, but you must know what you’re in for.

Even though it’s fun to close deals and rewarding to help clients, working as a real estate agent requires a lot of grueling work behind the scenes to make the magic happen. You can’t expect to only work a few hours a week and be a success. Working part-time as a real estate agent often means working for a few hours each day. That’s in addition to (and sometimes during) your full-time gig.

In this post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of working part-time in real estate, as well as tips for how to do it effectively.

The Pros of Working Part-time Real Estate Agent

Being a part-time real estate agent has a lot of benefits:

You Can Try it Before You Buy it

Are you a commitment-phobe? Don’t like taking risks?

You’re not alone. A lot of agents start off part-time because they don’t want to risk it all on a career that they may not like. Then, after they’ve spent a few months learning the industry, they decide to fully commit.

Before you quit your day job, you may want to try selling real estate on the side. Fortunately, your real estate license is valid whether you work full-time or part-time. Once you’re comfortable, you can always turn full-time.

You Generate an Additional Stream of Income

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Supplement your full-time income with a part-time hustle.

Who doesn’t dream of having multiple streams of income? Once you get your real estate license, you’ll have another way to make money. And not just pocket change but multiplied thousands of dollars each month. Because your earning potential isn’t capped at a set salary, you may actually earn more by selling real estate part-time than you do at your full-time job.

You Reduce Your Financial Risk

When you work part-time, you’re able to reduce your financial risk. You have the security of your full-time job to keep the lights on while you build your real estate business from the ground up.

Your first year in real estate will be hard of the wallet. You have to finance your entire real estate business on your own (or with the help of a loan). Until you make that first blessed commission, you’ll have to pay for everything out of your own pocket. That includes marketing costs, fuel, office fees, wardrobe, professional association dues, and more. Then there are your personal living expenses like food and shelter. It all adds up and can be an unbearable burden in the first year if you haven’t prepared ahead of time.

But when you enter into real estate part-time, you almost eliminate your risk. You can still maintain your lifestyle thanks to your full-time job. Your full-time job may also bankroll your real estate business until it can start earning for itself.

You Can Work From Anywhere

One of the benefits of working in real estate is not being confined to a cubicle in a sterile office building. Unlike other part-time jobs that require you to show up and punch in, all you really need to sell real estate is an Internet-enabled smartphone. Your smartphone allows you to work from anywhere, which means that you can work from home if you’d like.

The Cons of Working as a Part-time Real Estate Agent

Before you decide to work part-time as a real estate agent, here are a few potential drawbacks to consider:

You Must Be Flexible

When you attempt to juggle two (or more) jobs, scheduling can be a nightmare. You must have a flexible schedule on your full-time job in order to make it work. Here’s why: You may be in business for yourself, but you’re not you’re own boss— Your client is the boss. You’re at the complete mercy of your clients in real estate. You can’t tell them to wait for your schedule because they’ll likely just find another agent who’s more available.

In real estate, you must be available, which also means that you must be flexible. In addition to showing houses (which needs to happen on your clients’ schedule), you’ll also need to be available for activities such as closings and home inspections. You can’t make those happen on your schedule.

You Must Work Even Longer Hours

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Real estate agents work long hours. But if you work part-time as a real estate agent and full-time on your other job, you’ll work even longer hours. All you’ll do is work. Say goodbye to your free time. That’s a ghost from Christmas past.

Not only will you work on evenings and weekends (which is standard for all real estate agents), you’ll also need to work throughout the day every day. Emails from prospective clients come in at all hours. Inventory changes daily. Clients will call with questions whenever they feel like it. Between real estate and your full-time job, it will feel like your day never ends.

You May Have Difficulty Gaining Trust

Not everyone trusts a part-time real estate agent. After you tell a prospective client that you only do real estate part-time, they’ll be wondering, Why are you only working part-time? Are you not good enough to work full-time? Will you be available when I need you? Will you work as hard as a full-time agent?

There are prospective clients who believe that part-time agents aren’t as committed as their full-time counterparts.

You’ll encounter prospective clients who opt for another agent simply because they don’t believe you can do a competent job. That may be unfair, but it’s the truth.

You Limit Your Earning Potential

In real estate, your earning potential is only limited by your own hustle. However, your ability to hustle is seriously compromised when you’re working part-time. No matter how disciplined you are, if you’re working in real estate in addition to a traditional nine to five job, you’re not giving it your all. You can’t. You’re splitting your energy with your full-time job.

You won’t be able to make as much money as you could by working full-time in real estate.

You May Have a Hard Time Finding a Broker

When you work part-time, it can be difficult to find a broker who’s willing to work with you. It’s not personal. Brokers depend on their agents to make money. By not working full-time, you’re not able to make as much money as other agents, so there may be less of an incentive to work with you.

When looking for a broker, don’t just go for the one with the big name. Choose a broker who offers support in the form of teams and training programs. Keep in mind that some brokers impose a time commitment for the agents that work under them, so not every brokerage will be the right fit. There is a broker out there for you, just be sure to be upfront with them that you’ll be working part-time.

Tips for Success as a Part-Time Agent

After weighing the pros and cons, you may decide that it’s worth it to become a part-time real estate agent. You can do it! Here are a few essential tips to make sure that your part-time venture is a full-on success:

Develop and Stick to a Strict Schedule

When working part-time, you must be disciplined. A quick five-minute diversion can often turn into two hours. When your time is money, you need to adhere to a strict daily schedule.

Join a Team

If you want to work part-time in real estate, you must rely on a team of other agents who can take up the slack when you’re unavailable. You can’t make your clients, who’ve called you at 9 am, wait until 6 pm when you get off of your day job for a returned phone call. In this event, you’d ask a team member to help the client.

But team members aren’t just helping you out of the kindness of the hearts. They’re also expecting to earn a percentage of your commission out of the deal. You’ll need to split potential earnings with your team. After you’ve finished paying the broker, the team, and Uncle Sam, you may not have much left.

Learn to Time Block

Instead of multi-tasking, which isn’t the most effective use of your time, learn to time block. With time blocking, every second of your day is accounted for. You assign an activity to each hour. Then, you perform similar activities all within the same block of time. For example, you may dedicate two hours to cold calling prospective clients. Or 30 minutes to paying bills. But the catch is that you’ll do just that and nothing else. No peeking at emails, etc.

Final Thoughts

Even though you’ll only work part-time, your real estate business is a full-time operation. From marketing to closing deals, you’ll need to constantly engage in your business. Use the above tips to make the most of your time so that you can be a successful agent.

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