Man considers working as a part-time real estate agent.

Real Estate as a Part-Time Job: Can You Be a Part-Time Real Estate Agent?

Since most people in the real estate industry work entirely on commission, becoming a real estate agent requires a leap of faith. That’s why some agents may choose to test the waters by working part-time in real estate while hanging onto the steady income from another job. 

However, some people going into real estate only plan to work part-time to supplement their household income. Still, others may use real estate as a part-time job to supplement their retirement. Some want-to-be agents are attracted to the field because they seek a better work-life balance and want to work part-time. 

Whether you’re looking into real estate career opportunities as a part-time job or a brand new, full-time career, it’s helpful to have the assistance of a top-tier real estate school that will help you learn strategies for working smarter. 

Real Estate Agent as a Part-Time Job

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines part-time workers as those working less than 35 hours per week. However, according to Colibri Real Estate data, the average part-time real estate agent works less than 20 hours per week. (It’s interesting to note that the average REALTOR works 30 hours per week, according to data collected by the National Association of REALTORS.) 

Real estate agents typically set their own hours. Having a flexible schedule is one reason people are attracted to the profession. However, it’s worth noting that most real estate agents work evenings and weekends. After all, they must meet with potential clients when they are available. This may be a perfect schedule if you plan to keep your full-time job and supplement your income with real estate commissions.

Regardless of how many hours you work, a real estate agent must work for a brokerage and have a broker oversee their work. Some brokerages happily take on new agents who only plan on working part-time. However, other brokerages may prefer to train only full-time agents. Being upfront with a brokerage is important if you plan to work real estate as a side gig.

Related: What Is a Part-Time Real Estate Agent? What Does a Part-Time Real Estate Agent Do?

Can You Be a Part-Time Real Estate Agent?

Yes, you can become a part-time real estate agent. However, similar to full-time real estate agents, you must earn a real estate license in your state. The licensing requirements vary by state, but they generally include the following steps:

  • Complete pre-licensing coursework from a real estate school
  • Pass a licensing exam
  • Pass a background check
  • Complete an application
  • Some states have stricter licensing requirements than others. However, you can become a real estate agent in every state within just a few months.

Finding Time for Real Estate as a Part-Time Job

If you plan on working in the industry part-time, you may be nervous about having enough time to devote to your real estate career. One successful real estate agent advises new part-time agents to align with a brokerage that offers assistance with paperwork. In addition, “You should operate like a full-time professional with clear expectations about your earning potential even if you plan on working part-time,” said Valorie Easter, a REALTOR in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Easter worked part-time for two years while her children were young. She offers these tips for effective part-time real estate:

  • Dedicate two hours a day to lead generation. Stick to your schedule. 
  • Set clear expectations about your availability with clients and your brokerage. 
  • Work with a coach to map out your business.
  • Join a real estate team that can handle administrative work.

“If you work part-time you need to focus on generating business or going on appointments. Paperwork is not necessarily a money-maker,” Easter says.

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For those who don’t want to “hit the pavement,” Easter recommends another method for being a part-time agent. “Create a referral network. Refer buyers and sellers out to other agents locally and across the country. You can ask for a 25 to 30 percent or more referral fee when the property closes. You really can control your time and costs with referrals.”

Retired real estate agent Lee Dworshak believes that working with an established team and an administrative assistant is crucial to the success of a new part-time agent. 

“If you are unavailable, your team member can make the appointment,” Dworshak said. 

How Much Can You Earn if You Choose Real Estate as a Part-Time Job

According to Colibri Real Estate’s latest salary guide, the average annual gross income of a part-time real estate agent is $54,766. What would you do with an extra $4,500 per month?

However, it’s worth noting that agents who commit to working 40-50 hours per week earn an average annual gross income of $190,419. Dworshak, who retired from Keller Williams’ Los Angeles office, recommends that agents cover at least a year’s worth of living expenses before starting a real estate career because it typically takes time to grow their businesses to this level.

Related: How Much Can You Make as a Part-Time Real Estate Agent?

Real Estate Is Often a Second Career

You’ve learned that most real estate agents do not work 40 hours per week, although data suggests that those making the most money work longer than eight-hour days. It’s also interesting that real estate is often a second career. Many people who enter the industry had a previous career in management, business, finance, sales, or retail.

What about you? Do you plan to keep your full-time job and work as a part-time real estate agent? Or are you jumping in with both feet – and planning to work as many hours as necessary to earn the income you desire?

Regardless of your career goals, the first step in starting a career in real estate is to sign up for a real estate course.

Colibri Real Estate has been helping people enter the profession for decades. We offer state-specific pre-licensing coursework and tons of resources for beginning agents. Start today by learning the requirements in your state, and then sign up for convenient online licensing courses offered by Colibri.