If you’re looking for an interesting side hustle that’s flexible, easy to get into, and doesn’t require a lot of upfront costs, then you may want to become a part-time real estate agent. Since you’ll only spend 3-6 months training, you’ll be showing and selling homes in a little under a year.
Although agents have virtually no ceiling when it comes to earning potential, they have to be ambitious to be successful. Here’s what you have to know before pursuing this career path.
Can I sell homes part-time (or in my free time)?
Yes. Like most jobs, you can take a part-time real estate position in a brokerage. In fact, most agents start working part-time until they earn enough clients to fill out their schedules.
The process of becoming a part-time agent is almost the exact same as becoming a full-time agent, but you may have a hard time finding a brokerage that will hire you. Most brokerages want to know that you’ll commit to a full-time schedule once you’re past the training stage.
But can’t you just go into business for yourself? Not exactly. To get your real estate license, you need a brokerage to sign off on your training. Otherwise, you won’t get your license. If you want to go solo afterward, you can, but you may miss out on valuable training from your broker.
What if I have a full-time job? Can I still sell homes?
Yes, you can be a part-time real estate agent with a full-time job if you have excellent time management skills. If you don’t mind being busy, you can run several open houses during the evenings and weekends. Remember: most buyers and sellers also work their own 9-5.
However, operating as a real estate agent requires more than hosting open houses. Lead generation is a huge part of the process, so becoming an agent isn’t a passive income stream.
Some people enjoy this lifestyle, and you will too if:
- You’re okay with working 40 hours a week and studying on the side.
- You’re fine with devoting two to three hours a week to open houses.
- You’re able to prepare housing events on the evenings and weekends.
- You have enough emotional bandwidth to communicate with clients.
There are many real estate agents that decide to quit their full-time job to pursue this career path. It’s a good idea to eventually transition to full-time to spend more time with your clients.
How much does it cost to become a part-time agent?
The amount you’ll pay to become a real estate agent depends on the state. For example, Texas Real estate schools cost $491.00 per student, which is average. The most you’ll pay for real estate school is $1,200.00 in Ohio, but South Dakota and New Mexico are also pricy.
The average cost to become a real estate agent is as follows:
- $300 for Real Estate Classes
- $50 for the State Exam Fee
- $25 for the License Application
- $100 for a Background Check
- $150 for License Registration
- $200 for the National Association of Realtors fee
- $1500 for business and marketing costs
Unless you live in a state that charges you over $800 for school, it’ll cost you $2500 on average to start your real estate business. That’s pretty low, considering you’re starting from scratch.
How do I become a part-time real estate agent?
Becoming a real estate agent is a straightforward process. You’ll have to take a pre-licensing course, join a brokerage, take and examine, and register for the real estate board.
1. Take a pre-licensing course.
You must enroll in real estate agent classes, either at a local business school or community college. Many states allow you to do your coursework online. The time you spend in your pre-licensing course is state-dependent but typically ranges from 45 to 120 hours total.
2. Join a certified brokerage.
A brokerage is an organization that hires agents to ensure all home transactions are conducted legally. Some states ask you to join a brokerage before writing the exam; others will let you apply after passing. Regardless, you need to work under a broker to get your license.
3. Take the licensing exam.
Although it’s recommended to take a practice exam first, you can take the actual exam after you finish your pre-licensing course. Every state regulates its exam differently, but you’ll almost always have to write it in person. You’re allowed to retake the real estate exam 2-3 times.
4. Register with a real estate board.
When agents receive their license, they have to pay a registration fee and sign up to join their local real estate board. Applying for your state’s real estate board is easy, but you need to find the board’s site first. A simple online search should inform you how to register for your state.
5. Register as a REALTOR.
If you want to become a certified realtor, you have to pay yearly dues to the National Association of Realtors. While you don’t have to do this, registering offers some benefits. To apply, you must be affiliated with a broker that has a local REALTOR membership.
What are the pros and cons of working part-time?
While becoming a real estate agent isn’t difficult, it’s still a sales position that isn’t meant for everyone. Before making your decision, here are some pros and cons of this side hustle.
Pros of working part-time
- Flexible Schedule: You can typically decide your schedule and time off.
- Extra Income: The average part-time agent makes $1,100 a week.
- Networking Opportunities: Entrepreneurs can expand their sphere of influence.
Cons of working part-time
- Limited Brokerages: Some brokerages only hire full-time agents.
- Heavy Competition: Standing out is more difficult when you work part-time.
- Time-Intensive: Your job doesn’t end when you clock out.
As a part-time agent, you have the opportunity to make a 2-5% commission from each home sale, but getting to the finish line takes a lot of time and energy. While you will make more as an agent than at most other jobs, you only get paid once a client buys or sells a property.