One of the most frequently asked questions that we get on YourCBL.com is “Can I become a real estate agent on a part-time basis?”
Usually the individual has a current job that they are not satisfied with or it is something that is not really a full-time job in and of itself and they want to know whether or not they can add real estate to supplement their income and become a part-time real estate agent here are some examples of the questions that we get.
– I’d like to start out part time to see if I will be suited for this as a full time career?
– Can I start part time basis.
– Is it possible to be a part time agent?
– How to be successful part time?
Being a full-time agent myself and knowing what it takes to be of service to your buyers and sellers my first reaction is very similar to that of John Mcenroe’s… “YOU CAN NOT BE SERIOUS”.
Making the transition into real estate is one thing, but actually working as a part-time agent is very, very difficult. Now, far be it from me to be the one that says no it cannot be done – but let’s take a look at some of the difficulties that a part-time agent would face…
(When reading this, understand that part of the commitment of this website is to provide the information and have the conversations that we wish someone would have had with us when we got into the business.)
In many parts of the country, the real estate market is very competitive and I don’t mean competitive between agents – I mean competitive between home buyers and a limited amount of inventory for them to be able to look at and purchase.
When a good home comes on the market a home buyer needs to see this property sooner rather than later. So my question becomes – how is a part-time agent going to be able to drop everything and show this particular property to their home buyer? How can they actually be of customer service to this buyer.
The only way that this part-time agent is going to be able to provide quality service to their client is by working or partnering with another agent and having that other agent do the actual showing. So the question becomes, Why would another agent do that on behalf of a part-time agent? Why wouldn’t they just work with the buyer themselves?
The difficulty for the part-time agent is that they are going to have to share part of the potential commissions with the agent that is actually doing the work in the field. In many cases this defeats the purpose of the part-time agent who is trying to supplement their income or trying to save up enough money so that they can quit their nine-to-five job. So if you’re trying to do this as a part-time career understand that you are going to have to partner with a full-time agent that is available at your beckon call. (And you have to ask, what is in it for that full time agent?)
Let’s also take a look at customer service with regards to Home Sellers as well. If you were a part-time agent this indicates that you are only going to be working on marketing the property on behalf of the seller on a part-time basis.
While you do not have to spend 40 hours a week marketing the property or working on property flyers and brochures and posting the property on the internet but you do have to be available to answer any incoming questions from potential buyers, potential investors and most importantly the fellow agents that are in the field working with the buyers under a buyer broker agreement.
It is the customer service that you provide to these fellow agents that can make the difference between whether or not your property is shown or if your property is passed on. Take it from me, there is nothing more frustrating than calling to ask for details about a property or trying to arrange a showing and having a part time agent finally call you back at 7 or 8 pm or worse the following day to get the partial answer then having to wait another day to get the actual answer because the part-time agent doesn’t have the time to respond. (Yes, this happens with full time agents as well, but they don’t have an excuse and this is a topic for another day).
Education and Training
In most states, there is very little coverage of the actual sales contract, addendum and the inner workings of the multiple listing system covered in the principles of real estate course.
This information is left to the individual brokerages and the individual agents to learn.
So as a part-time agent, it is very difficult to tap into the resources to learn the step-by-step processes of properly completing a contract, working through complex negotiations in addition to staying abreast of the latest and greatest technology. While not ever state has an actual legal fiduciary responsibility on behalf of the agent, it is good practice. The only way to obtain this knowledge is thru training (classroom or on the job, and frankly on the job is not being a fiduciary).
The challenge for part-time agent is the lack of time and tasks that they can perform to see all of the different possibilities that come up throughout the course of the transaction. Their time is limited to be able to attend regular training in the office, or to shadow and be mentored by productive agents, or just be exposed to the daily conversations that go on between the productive agencies that are working on their craft on a full-time basis.
Now I fully understand that not every individual is in the financial position to be able to drop their full-time job and jump right into a commission-based, independent contractor business… but that being said, it is an actual business and if it is your intention to approach this as a part-time basis lets cover some of the areas that you should probably focus on.
First – Establish a BUDGET
If working in real estate is to be a short-term part-time endeavor, make sure that you set a timeframe that you are working towards. Are you giving yourself 3 months – 6 months – a Year? – in order to accumulate the amount of money that you need so that you can no longer rely on your full-time position?
If so then you need to get in touch with your current household budget and also calculate some of the expenses that you will face when starting a new business. Notice that I am referring to this as a business because the outlay of expenses that you were making will actually be investments into your career and your business.
If you need to cut back on some of the luxuries in your current position and your current household budget in order to accomplish what you want to it becoming a full-time agent then now is the time to consider that and make those adjustments during this transition. Every single dollar will count. Frankly, this may come down to whether or not you’re packing lunch or eating out on a daily basis whether or not you’re skipping Starbucks in order to be able to put the money aside so that you can make the transition sooner rather than later.
This Budget also applies to TIME
Not only will you have to be aware of how you are spending your dollars, you are now going to have to be aware of how you’re spending your time. If you were serious about making the transition – gone are going to be the days where you get home from your nine-to-five job and kick up your feet and binge watch Netflix.
Rather your off time is going to need to be budgeted towards your continuing education into the practice of real estate as well as the number one basis point and that is lead generation. Actively looking for buyers and sellers to work with.
Because you’re going to be in a position where you’re going to have to hand off the potential buyer or in some cases seller to a full time agent and split the commission, it is imperative that you spend a considerable amount of time at finding the buyers and sellers yourself so that you actually have somebody to hand off.
Many people get lulled into real estate by a false sense of fun on HGTV of Million Dollar Agent – lets just go out show 3 homes, wait after a commercial break and we’ll find out whether or not the buyer got the property. What’s not covered in the show is how did they end up working with that buyer in the first place and how did they deal with the complexities of the transaction after the showings when we actually have to go through the inspection, financing, appraisals, etc…
Understand that when you get into real estate you were going to have two jobs!!! Providing service to the buyers and sellers and most importantly finding buyers and sellers – a term that we call lead generation.
So can you work in real estate on a part-time basis? As you can see the answer is yes with a asterisk*
It takes a driven, dedicated, special type of person to not only work in real estate part-time but to successfully make the transition into being a full-time productive agent.
It also takes aligning yourself with an environment that is training based. I bring this up to highlight the online resources that are available to Keller Williams agents. whether it be KW connect or Keller Williams University and the materials and information that are available to those agents that are aligned with Keller Williams without having to spend anything extra.
Case in point the IGNITE program
Ignite is a class that is taught in Market centers all across the Keller Williams system and the beauty of ignite is that the materials are available to Keller Williams Associates in the online portal under Keller Williams University. This is critical for a part-time agent that may not be able to attend the actual physical session within the office, because it provides them an opportunity to pull up the materials in a PDF online format so that they can self study and go through the materials themselves.
Yes this takes a dedicated person that is willing to go through the materials on their own during their off-hours but if you’re committed to having a career, business and life worth living – then you will differentiate yourself by making the commitment to make the transition from part-time to full-time
All of this being said if you were serious about a career in real estate we have provided the resources for you with a state-by-state list of the requirements to get your real estate license along with links to online and classroom courses that are required for the first step to getting your license no matter which state.
If you’d like more information just go ahead and complete the form on this page and we will get the details right out to you.