Here’s How to Increase Your Income as a Real Estate Agent
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
When you work as a real estate agent, there’s no such thing as a steady paycheck—or is there?
Real estate agents are often taught that you’re only as good as your last sale. It’s true that if you don’t hustle for your next commission check, there won’t be one. What’s the secret to expanding your earning potential as a real estate agent? Develop multiple income streams that compliment your core business and help to grow your business as an agent.
In this guide, we’ll look at ways to bring in additional money by leaning into your skills and expertise as a real estate agent. Nothing here is investment advice, and you should always do your own due dilligance. Hopefully this post is a good jumping off point. Let’s get started.
One of the simplest ways to make money aside from helping clients buy or sell real estate is to help clients manage rental properties that they own. As a licensed real estate agent, you’re qualified to work as a property manager or leasing manager for homes and apartments. In most cases, you’ll represent the owner of the property and assist them by marketing their property and then finding qualified renters. You will also provide day to day management of the property, handle rent, and oversee requests for maintenance.
Starting a blog is a great way to both advertise your real estate business, stay top of mind with previous clients, and make some extra income if the blog grows big enough.
You may think that as a real estate agent you don't really have a lot to blog about, but the truth is that there are hundreds of things that you can write about and that people would actually care to read. As a professional, you know the ins and outs of real estate. You can offer relevant insight into your local housing market and provide guidance on how to reach a real estate goal. And your readers will be potential future customers for your real estate business.
It's easy to understand how your blog can lead to new clients for your business. But how else can you make money with a blog?
The first way to make money from your blog is to include affiliate links within the content. This is known as affiliate marketing. To set up affiliate marketing, you need to establish an affiliate relationship with a merchant. The merchant will give you a unique link or a code to add to your blog posts. If a reader clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you can get paid a commission. Of course, you should also disclose that you’re an affiliate for the product or service and that you will get a commission if the reader makes a purchase.
There are many affiliate programs for real estate agents, including Amazon. And you can sign up for hundreds of different programs—as many as you’d like. Get creative with how you include affiliates in your blog posts. For example, you can create a blog post on how to photograph your home for listing photos, and add an affiliate link to cameras or lighting equipment that you recommend. It’s an easy way to share recommendations with no cost to your reader but with a financial benefit to you.
(If you're interested we have an affiliate program available. Click here to learn more.)
Two other popular ways to make money from your blog include writing sponsored content and using pay per click (PPC) ads.
Sponsored content is when businesses pay you to promote their products or services on your blog. You’ll likely need to have an established reader base in order to qualify for this arrangement. As with affiliate marketing, it’s essential that you’re transparent about sponsorship with your audience. You don’t want your readers to be misled. To maintain trust, only work with business that you’ve personally tried and can endorse.
Pay per click ads are ads placed on your blog post. You make money if a specific amount of site visitors click on the ad. Pay per click ads are easy to implement but controversial because they can degrade the reader’s experience. Many readers have developed “ad blindness” and don’t even pay attention to your ads. Some readers may even have ad blockers installed and may not see the ads at all, which defeats the purpose of adding these ads to begin with. There’s also the fact that you need to have a lot of clicks in order to earn even a few dollars a month. Pay per click ads may not be the best option, especially when affiliate marketing tends to be a lot more lucrative.
However, keep this in mind: A blog that doesn’t receive a lot of visitors won’t produce a reliable stream of income for you. You need to increase traffic to your blog. And remember, more readers helps your business as an agent, too. It's a win-win!
How do you increase your readership? You’ll do this by making your blog friendly to search engines. This is a process known as search engine optimization, or SEO for short. Search engines like Google have a list of requirements for website owners to follow. If you follow these requirements, you’ll increase your blog’s chances of showing up when a search engine user searches for a topic you’ve written about in your blog. For example, if you’ve written a neighborhood guide for your city, you want the people who are searching for that very topic to find your blog post about it. Implementing best SEO practices will increase your blog’s visibility on search engines.
Learn more here: SEO Tips for Real Estate Agents.
Have you considered writing a book on real estate? You have knowledge that others will pay for, and writing a book can help establish you as an expert in your real estate niche. Don’t let the idea of a book intimidate you. If you can write a series of blog posts, you can write a book. In fact, you can turn your blog posts into a book, or the start of one.
After publishing, you can use your book to get leverage into other spaces, such as speaking engagements or spots on the local news. This can help to establish yourself as an expert in your chosen niche, which can open doors to new clients and new business as an agent.
Starting a YouTube channel is not fast money, but if you’re consistent and make good content it can earn you some income, and more importantly your channel could be great advertising for your agent business.
The most successful YouTube videos are under 10 minutes in length and topical. They answer questions or provide relatable and fun entertainment. After reaching 1000 subscribers, you can enter YouTube’s ad program and start placing PPC ads on your videos. However, that’s not the only way to make money on YouTube. You can also do affiliate marketing and sponsored content in much the same way as you would on your blog.
Not sure what types of vides to create and upload to YouTube? Here are 12 video ideas to get you started.
Here are three more ways you can lean into your expertise as a real estate agent and set up additional income streams:
One of the most obvious ways to build wealth as an agent is by buying your own properties. Once purchased, you can hold, flip, or rent. All of these ways can bring you money.
If you choose to hold property, you can develop the property and/or wait for it to grow in value.
You can also buy a cheap property that needs work, and then renovate it, i.e. flip it. As someone who knows the market and the comps, you are uniquely qualified to evaluate potential deals.
Or, instead of buying to hold or sell, you can buy to rent. This makes you the landlord. After securing a tenant, you’ll establish a steady flow of income each month. And, if you price it right, you can earn enough to take care of the mortgage and have some extra revenue leftover. Again, your knowledge of the local market and comps will help you to evaluate rental properties as investments.
Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, are companies that own income-generating real estate, such as apartment buildings, hotels, or malls. There are two main types of REITs—equity REITs and mortgage REITs (mREITs). with equity REITs, you invest in a company that owns many property types and you collect income from the rent or lease of those properties. With mREITs, the revenue comes from earned interest on loans or mortgages. The investment company doesn't own the property itself. You can use your knowledge as an agent to evaluate different potential investments.
With real estate crowdfunding, you pool your money with other investors to buy properties and share profits. Unlike REITs which allow you to cash out when you want, most crowdfunding sites (like Fundrise) require a time commitment, such as five years. Again, like with REITs, you can use your expertise and knowledge as an agent to help evaluate different potential investments.
Use the above tips to start capitalizing off of your real estate skills and expertise, and to further grow your core real estate business.