Careers geared to helping people buy and sell their homes can include flexible work hours and decent pay. Still, the real estate profession may not be lucrative enough or offer sufficient business to justify choosing that field. Some may want to do real estate part-time as a second venture to supplement their main income.
Agents can find it difficult to balance their time and assignments, even if the jobs don’t completely overlap.
“Starting a new career as a real estate agent can be intimidating, to say the least. Gone are the days of that ‘guaranteed’ paycheck that most people depend on to survive,” said Valorie L. Ford, an agent in central Virginia, in an online story on the Inman industry website that originally appeared on the ActiveRain online community of real estate professionals.
She spells out a few tips for part-time agents seeking to get into real estate full time and for workers jumping into the field while holding down another job.
One key starting point is to find a broker who’s used to part-time or newer agents. “Keep in mind that brokers fail or succeed as a direct result of the efforts of the agents who work for them,” Ford noted. “Office space and other resources need to be allocated to those who are producing results. The limited work schedule of a part-timer usually equates to less business,” she said, while adding that some brokers are well-suited to work with part-timers.
One broad-based challenge can be the work schedule. “Obviously it’s not easy to be available for your clients at a time that is good for them if you work limited hours. This is especially true of buyers who want to see new homes,” Ford said. Other parts of the job, such as dealing with lenders can be manageable since they can take place during “normal” business hours, she says. “But if you work elsewhere during this time period, getting things done might become quite difficult.”
Another potential problem is situations when it’s not possible to meet certain timing requirements. Even busy fulltime agents often will rely on a colleague to pitch in but typically will “compensate the other agent for their assistance,” she said.
Ford also recommended that agents “be prepared for the ‘long haul,’ particularly if they intend to continue in their current job while also working in real estate. “You already know that evenings and weekends are prime time for agents, and finding the time for a day off or vacation is going to be difficult if you want to succeed.”
She said many prospective agents “decide to ‘test the waters’ before devoting themselves full time as a new agent.” Many associates begin as part-timers and some stay that way, Ford says, noting that it fits “single parents, persons looking to supplement an existing income, or retired persons who want to stay active and involved.”