Before You Take The Plunge: What To Know Before Becoming A Part-Time Agent

Ready to begin your real estate career by going part-time? Joel Lock offers his tried-and-true advice for agents taking the dual-career plunge.

Looking for more advice? Check out Inman’s New Agent Essentials.

Who doesn’t love watching their favorite real estate influencer’s adventures touring multi-million dollar properties, working with interior designers, networking, and (my personal favorite) passing off those shiny new keys to clients who are beaming ear-to-ear?

But starting out full-time in real estate means giving up a regular salary, and many individuals cannot make ends meet on commissions alone. Choosing a dual career path can be challenging, but it can also be a good fit for you with the support of an experienced brokerage. That being said, as someone who has been a part-time agent for nearly four years, here is some advice before you take the plunge.

Do find a balance that works for you

Working as a part-time agent is all about finding the balance between your real estate work and your full-time work. I can get a lot of my prospecting and market research done in the mornings before I start my full-time job. I can hit open houses during the weekend and continue prospecting and working with clients. 

 Pro-tip: Find a full-time job that has something to do with real estate (office manager, assistant, property management) and you’ll be in even better shape. Why? Because just doing your job will help keep you sharp. Just make sure you’re not violating any rules, written or unwritten, regarding your employer. 

Do prioritize your mental health

One of the biggest struggles I had, when I started as a part-time agent, was seeing my full-time counterparts out there every day touring homes, sitting on calls, and going to meetings while I was doing my full-time job. That was until I saw what is now one of my favorite quotes: “Until it’s my turn, I will sit back and clap.”

Building a real estate business always takes time, but it can take even more time when you’re a part-time agent. Know when to take a step back, and just remind yourself that it will not happen overnight.

Do find a brokerage that actually supports you 

Some brokers hear “part-time agent” and immediately won’t take you seriously. Yes, being a full-time agent is ideal, but it’s not realistic for everyone.

When interviewing for brokerages, if you see someone wince when you say “part-time,” just walk away. Be sure to ask about virtual offerings for training and/or available recordings. If you’re getting resistance in your first interview, do not try to fight it. Find a brokerage where you’re welcome and celebrated. 

Don’t expect success as quickly 

I had alluded to this earlier, but it bears repeating. You need to stay consistent and keep plugging away at it as a part-time agent, but do not expect to be as successful right off the bat as a full-time agent. Full-time agents can prospect all day, every day, instead of a few hours a day. 

More importantly, they have the flexibility to jump at a moment’s notice, even if that means going to a meeting at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday. As with almost everything, consistency is key.

If you’ve found a rhythm that works for you, keep at it. To quote one of the oldest lines in the book, ”It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” 

Don’t be afraid to change strategies 

This took me a while to figure out. Just like a full-time agent, you can’t be afraid to pivot. Since you’re a part-time agent, your time needs to be even more productive. Focus on what will give you the highest return on investment, monetarily and timewise.

This may mean using auto-dialers, bulk mail, or whatever fits your brand. If something isn’t working or is taking you too much time, don’t be afraid to switch it up. 

Don’t sacrifice your full-time role if you need the income

Last but not least, If you’re in a position like mine where you need that full-time income, don’t be afraid to step back from your real estate practice if that’s what you need to do to stay on top of your full-time role. If that means taking a step back from prospecting, so be it.

Build a network of other agents who you trust if you need some help showing or working with a client. Have a backup plan in case you need to take a step back. 

I’ve had a blast being a part-time agent. I’ve built strong connections with my clients and serve as a valuable resource for my sphere of influence, all while keeping a steady income and paying off my student loans.

Even though it’s not easy, being a part-time agent will stretch and grow you in ways you didn’t know possible. You’ll meet amazing people and become an absolute master of time management. Find a brokerage that celebrates you, stay consistent and be true to who you are. 

Joel started his Real Estate career in New York City working with renters and homeowners. In 2019, he and his partner made the decision to trade the skyscrapers of Manhattan for the palms of Los Angeles. Since joining Corcoran Global Living, Joel has been focusing on working with clients who are also making the jump from New York City to LA.