Can you be successful in real estate as a part-time real estate agent?
Everyone you talk to about getting into the industry at first will say the same thing: the industry requires full time attention as it pretty much aligns with launching of your own business. Long days and late nights tend to be the hours of work and you have to take into effect that you don’t get paid until your deal is closed. Therefore, you may work a hundred hours and if that deal does not close, you have lost time accrued. The commission based pay structure is not for everyone, hence why starting off part-time while still maintaining a full-time job may seem smart for some new Realtors.
Questions to ask yourself are: (1) Do you have enough money saved to support yourself for at least three to six months while you work on finding your first client and closing your first sale? (2) Do you have the additional time apart from your full-time job to dedicate to building your real estate business?
Starting off as a part-time realtor might be more feasible if cash flow and time are going to be an issue. But this can be used as a way to get yourself familiarized with the business and learn to use your time wisely, while still working full-time and being able to maintain a regular paycheck.
So if you’re hoping to find success as a part-time real estate agent, I’m here to give you a few tips on how you can make it a successful career.
Strategy: Make a Commitment to Transition to a Full Time Realtor
The reality is that real estate is a full-time job. You might have to start as a part-time real estate agent because you can’t afford to go straight to full-time, but if you want real estate to be a career instead of a hobby, you need to transition into full-time status as soon as you possibly can. Go into your part-time career with a solid plan to transition to full-time.
Save as much money as possible from your consistent-income job.
Putting aside a little of each paycheck is a way to secure a little financial safety net from your current job so you could cover your living expenses while you build your real estate business. Hold yourself to a strict budget, reducing expenses wherever possible so you can funnel a good chunk of your paychecks into your savings account. A good general rule of thumb for commission-only careers is to always have enough in savings to cover at least three to six months’ worth of expenses.
Set a deadline, and share your plan with your Broker.
Set a realistic deadline for the day you’ll be able to quit your current job and transition fully to real estate. Document the steps you’ll need to take between now and then. Then share the plan with your Broker so you have someone to hold you accountable.
Strategy: Prove Yourself to Clients and Prospects
In the beginning, your clients and prospects will be a little leery of you when you’re a part-time realtor. They may have concerns that you aren’t as committed to the profession as full-time realtors. So you’ll need to work extra hard to prove yourself and earn their trust.
One genius way to show off your market knowledge and real estate expertise is to blog. You’ll be able to publish posts about the buying process, selling process, current market conditions, local real estate investing opportunities, and even fun posts about local events and businesses to show that you’re involved in the community.
Prospective buyers and sellers will see that you know your stuff, and will have some level of trust in you, before they even meet you.
Strategy: Build Passive Lead Sources
You know what’s a hugely inefficient use of time? Cold calling. Can you get leads from cold calling? Of course you can! But it may take several hundred calls. And is that worth your time when there are more efficient ways to reach prospective clients?
Social media is a great way to reach multiple prospective clients at the same time. And each post is a marketing asset you can use multiple times. You can post the same images across all social media platforms, and even reuse seasonal posts year-after-year (while they’re still relevant and modern).
Then there’s blogging, which is probably the most underutilized marketing technique in real estate. Did you know that blog content costs 62% less than traditional marketing, but generates 3x more leads? Blogging boosts your Google rank so buyers and sellers can find you online, demonstrates your market knowledge (which is critical for new agents, and especially critical for part-time agents as we just discussed), and builds rapport with prospective clients.
As a professional real estate blogger, I estimate that only 2% of agents have a blog with unique content, updated consistently. You can edge out 98% of your competition simply by writing one post per week! Now imagine how you can stand out if your posts are actually good! If you have good grammar and provide valuable information to your audience…You can make a name for yourself as the local real estate expert in no time.
With cold calling, you have to spend the time to reach out to individual prospects, most of whom will have zero interest in your services. But with social media and blogging, you don’t have to find your needle-in-a-haystack clients. Instead of going to your prospective clients, clients start coming to you.
Strategy: Focus on Sellers
It’s a whole lot more efficient to work with sellers than with buyers.
As anyone who’s ever worked with buyers knows, it’s entirely possible to invest hours, days, and even weeks in finding your buyers a suitable home. Only to have them possibly not close the deal with you. Some may decide to rent, some may decide not to leave their current house, and (worst case scenario) some use a family member as their agent to close the deal.
Sellers, on the other hand, are under contract with you as the listing agent. This contract provides some level of protection against wasted time and no paycheck.
Additionally, the time you do invest is more flexible with sellers. With buyers, you’re on their schedule. They can only see properties on their lunch breaks and Saturday morning?
But when you’re representing the seller, your primary task is marketing the property to buyers and their agents, which can generally be done on your own schedule. Sellers’ needs are simply less time-consuming and more flexible than buyers’ needs.
Strategy: Source out people to support and help you.
You can’t do everything all by yourself; especially when you’re splitting your time between a full-time job and a side hustle. As a part-time realtor, you need a team of people supporting you.
Your Broker: You need a Broker who is supportive of hiring you as a part-time realtor and is committed to helping you succeed with your plan to go full-time.
Your Real Estate Team: Many part-time real estate agents work as part of a real estate team. That way, someone from your team can provide a prompt reply to your clients when you’re busy with your other job. But be warned: low man on the totem pole is usually assigned to buyers instead of sellers. That alone could delay your transition to full-time because it will likely take more time to close sales.
Your Family and Friends: If you have lots of personal-life responsibilities (kids, aging parents, social commitments, etc), you might need to enlist friends and family to help out. Maybe you can lean more on your spouse to step up with the kids and the housework. Or you could ask a friend for help with that bridal shower you agreed to host. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your personal commitments while you’re working two jobs!
In addition to getting support from the people in your life, take advantage of time-saving resources while you’re making the transition. Many agents try to DIY everything. Their marketing materials, their forms, their website, their social media, their blog. All those things take serious time. Time that you don’t have if you’re a part-time real estate agent. Instead, take advantage of other people’s expertise and skill.
Resources for Part-Time Realtors
Etsy: Most agents don’t think of Etsy as a business vendor, but Etsy is a valuable source of business tools at a reasonable price. Before you waste your time trying to DIY everything, check Etsy to see if they have what you need: professional logos; planners; social media graphics; marketing tools, etc.
The coolest part is that digital downloads are available instantly upon purchase. So you can post your social media graphics or print your open house forms immediately. And they’re fairly inexpensive; you can get some designs for just a few dollars.
Fiverr: This is my absolutely favourite tool to use! What if you need a custom job instead of purchasing a template from Etsy? This is where Fiverr comes in. You’ll find freelancers on Fiverr who can handle almost any task you can throw at them. Just consider a few of the services you can get for as little as $5: data entry; a virtual assistant; logo design; content writing; business card design; social media posts; video and audio; website assistance, etc.
If you try to do everything yourself, it will take you a thousand times longer, and you’ll burn yourself out. Spending even a little money up front can save you hours of your life. Consider these business expenses when you’re making your budget and creating your transition plan.
Being a Realtor is a lot of work and time dedication. But by using these strategies, you are setting yourself up to be successful in whichever niche you decide to pursue.
With Love | Nikki xo