What you need to know about becoming a part-time real estate agent

You may love the idea of making real estate your full-time career, but you may not be at a place where you can make the switch. Why not start out with real estate as a side-hustle and see where it takes you before you go all-in? We’ve put together the information you need to become a part-time real estate agent and to increase your chances of success once you’ve earned your license.

July 9, 2024

8 min read


If you’re searching for a side hustle that’s flexible, quick to start, and allows you to earn extra cash, look no further than becoming a part-time real estate agent. Because of its low barrier to entry (typically three to six months of training) and high earning potential, this alternate career path is becoming a popular choice for ambitious earners with extra time on their hands.

However, becoming a part-time real estate agent isn’t a walk in the park. It requires significant time and effort to see real results. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering this career path.

Can you be a real estate agent part time?

Absolutely. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, part-time employees work fewer than 35 hours weekly. And while data from Colibri Real Estate indicates that the typical part-time real estate agent works less than 20 hours each week, the National Association of Realtors reports that the average realtor works around 30 hours per week. If those hours fit into your schedule and lifestyle, becoming a part-time realtor might be an ideal side career for you. 

How much does it cost to become a real estate agent?

The cost to become a real estate agent can vary depending on several factors, including state requirements, education choices, and licensing fees. Here are some typical costs involved in becoming a real estate agent:

Pre-licensing education: Real estate pre-licensing courses are required in most states and can cost between $200 to $1,000, depending on the provider and format (online or in-person).

Licensing exam: There is a fee to take the real estate licensing exam, typically ranging from $50 to $300 per attempt, depending on the state.

Background check and application fees: States often require a background check and application fees to process your real estate license application. These fees can range from $50 to $300.

Post-licensing education: Some states require additional post-licensing education courses after obtaining your license, which can cost up to several hundred dollars.

State license fee: Once you pass the exam and meet all requirements, you'll need to pay a state license fee, which can range from $100 to $300 or more.

Association and MLS fees: As a real estate agent, you may choose to join local real estate associations or Multiple Listing Services (MLS), which involve membership fees that vary by location and organization.

Continuing education: Many states require real estate agents to complete continuing education courses to renew their licenses periodically. These courses typically have associated costs.

Although it depends on where you plan to get your license, all in all, becoming a real estate agent can cost you anywhere from $3,000 - $5,000+. 

How long does it take to become a part-time real estate agent?

The process of becoming a part-time realtor can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on how quickly you complete your education, pass the exam, and fulfill other requirements set by your state and chosen brokerage. It's essential to research and understand the specific requirements in your state to plan accordingly for your real estate career.

How much do part time real estate agents make?

The salary of a part-time real estate agent can vary widely based on several factors, including the market, the number of hours worked, the agent's skill level, and the commission structure of their brokerage. Here’s a breakdown of what influences a part-time real estate agent's earnings, along with some real-world examples:

Market conditions: Real estate markets vary significantly by location. In high-demand areas, property prices and commissions can be higher compared to developing areas, resulting in greater earnings potential.

Number of transactions: The number of properties an agent can sell or lease directly impacts their income, and part-time agents typically handle fewer transactions than full-time agents.

Commission rates: Commissions are usually a percentage of the property’s sale price. The average real estate commission in the U.S. is currently about 5.49% and is typically split between the listing agent (2.83%) and the buyer's agent (2.66%). The agent’s brokerage also takes a percentage cut before the agent receives their share.

Experience and skill level: More experienced and skilled agents are likely to close more deals and may negotiate higher commission splits with their brokerages.

Time invested: A part-time realtor might work evenings and weekends or dedicate a few days a week to real estate, impacting the number of clients they can serve and properties they can show.

Estimated Earnings

Colibri Real Estate's most recent salary guide reports that the typical annual gross income for a part-time real estate agent is $54,766. But given the factors above, that number is just an estimate. Here’s a closer look at how it can vary.  

Low-end: In less active markets or for agents working minimal hours, annual earnings might be around $5,000 to $10,000.

Mid-range: For agents working more consistently and in moderately active markets, annual earnings could range from $10,000 to $25,000.

High-end: In high-demand markets or for agents who manage to close several high-value transactions, part-time earnings could be $25,000 to $50,000 or more.

Is it possible to be a part-time real estate agent while working a full-time job?

Yes; if you have excellent time management skills and can maintain a flexible yet organized schedule, becoming a part-time real estate agent is possible. This often involves dedicating specific hours each week to real estate activities, such as evenings and weekends. Some real estate related responsibilities even work in your favor. For example, the most popular open house times are evenings and weekends because most people looking to buy or rent a new home likely also work a 9-to-5 schedule. 

What are the pros of becoming a part-time real estate agent?

Before deciding if being a part-time agent is right for you, it’s important to consider the pros and cons involved in this type of career. 

Career transition

Working part-time in real estate provides a pathway to transition into a full-time real estate career if that’s what you want to do in the future. It’s a great way to test the waters before making a full-time commitment. 


You can choose when to work, making it easier to balance other jobs or personal commitments.

Being a part-time realtor also allows you to pursue real estate without sacrificing your primary career or responsibilities. For example, depending on your arrangement with your broker, sometimes you can create your own schedule. You can decide which days and times work for you, and which don’t. 

Supplemental income

As a part-time real estate agent, you can generate extra income without the demands of taking on another full-time job. Plus, there is potential for significant earnings from commissions on sales and rentals. And depending on where you work as a part-time realtor can provide steady, supplemental income throughout the year. 

Skill development

Working part-time in real estate gives you the chance to improve your skills in sales, negotiation, marketing, and customer service while gradually gaining real estate experience. 

Networking opportunities

For those with an interest in entrepreneurship, becoming a part-time real estate agent is the perfect way to expand your sphere of influence. As an agent, you’ll be constantly networking and meeting new people, allowing you to build a network of contacts in the real estate industry. You can connect with clients, other agents, and professionals in related fields such as mortgage brokers and home inspectors.

What are the cons of becoming a part-time real estate agent?

As with all good things, there are definitely some downsides to being a part-time real estate agent. 

Limited availability

Like most jobs, you’ll get out of this one what you put into it. The more time you spend forging connections and making sales, the more money you’ll make. But balancing real estate with another job can limit your availability to clients. And it could potentially cause you to miss out on opportunities because of scheduling conflicts.

Income variability

Income is commission-based and can be inconsistent, especially in the beginning. It’s not uncommon for it to take time to close deals and receive commissions. Without the guarantee of consistent income, it can be challenging to cover the costs for licensing, continuing education, marketing, and association fees.

Brokerages may be limited

Unfortunately, not all brokerages are willing to hire part-time real estate agents. Training is time-intensive and often requires a substantial investment of resources. For part-time agents with limited availability each week, completing this training can be particularly challenging. It can lead to slower progress, which may not align with the brokerage's operational needs and business goals. 

Market knowledge

Part-time agents may find it difficult to stay up-to-date on market trends and changes whereas full-time agents may have an edge in market knowledge and experience since their schedule is likely more flexible. 

Client expectations

Clients might expect immediate responses and availability, which can be hard to manage part-time and may hinder your ability to build a strong client base due to limited time.


According to recent data, there are approximately 1.5 million agents in the U.S. As a part-time agent, that means you’ll be competing in a very crowded market and against full-time agents who can dedicate more time and resources to their clients. 

How to become a real estate agent

Below are the basic steps for becoming a successful licensed real estate agent, part-time or full-time.

1. Ensure you meet the basic requirements

To become a real estate agent you must be at least 18 years old. Some states also require you to have a GED or a high school diploma. 

2. Enroll and complete pre-licensing courses

Regardless of what state you live in, you need to take pre-licensing classes which can take anywhere from 40 to 180 hours to complete. Courses cover real estate principles, practices, contracts, finance, and legal aspects and can be offered online or in-person. According to Investopedia, some of the most popular online courses for 2024 include:

3. Find a real estate brokerage

To legally practice real estate, you must work under a licensed real estate broker. A real estate brokerage is a state-sanctioned organization that employs and oversees real estate agents to make sure all dealings are conducted legally. Research and choose a brokerage that aligns with your career goals, offers training and support, and fits your personality and work style. This can be advantageous because you’ll already have an industry connection once you are a licensed agent and can likely start working right away.

4. Pass the licensing exam

The next step on your journey is to register and pass the state exam to receive your license. The exam tests your knowledge of real estate laws, practices, and principles. Many real estate schools will provide you with study materials and practice exams that can help prepare you for the actual test. 

Since each state conducts its exams differently and through different providers, research your specific state board for more detailed registration instructions. Most states will allow you to retake the exam two to three times if you don’t pass on your first try before requiring additional class hours.

5. Submit a license application

After passing the exam, submit your license application to the state real estate commission in addition to required documents such as proof of education, exam results, and a background check.

6. Undergo a background check

Many states require a criminal background check as part of the licensing process to ensure applicants meet ethical standards. 

7. Join a Realtor Association and MLS

Consider joining a local Realtor association to gain access to their Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which lists available properties and facilitates transactions.

8. Complete post-licensing education (if required)

Some states mandate post-licensing education courses that must be completed within a specific time frame after obtaining your license. These courses typically cover additional legal and practical aspects of real estate.

9. Plan ahead

If you plan to practice real estate part-time instead of full-time, you’ll want to create a schedule that doesn’t get in the way of your other commitments. Here are some helpful strategies to help you succeed. 

Communicate with your employer: If you have a full-time job, ask your employer if this is something you’re allowed to do in addition to your current position. It’s important to ensure that it won’t interfere with your full-time obligations and to be certain it doesn’t break any workplace laws. 

Schedule dedicated real estate time and set communication boundaries: Allocate specific time slots for real estate activities each week and mark them on your calendar to share with your clients so they know when you're available. While you might need to be flexible to accommodate clients' schedules, setting expectations early helps prevent scheduling conflicts. To further reduce stress, inform clients of the best ways to contact you and clearly communicate when they can expect responses and in-person meetings.

Consolidate in-person interactions: To keep your part-time real estate career from consuming too much time, try to schedule all showings, listing appointments, and consultations on a single day each week. This allows you to focus the rest of the week on following up with leads and other tasks.

10. Start working 

Once your license is issued and you're affiliated with a brokerage, you can begin working as a real estate agent. Build your client base, market properties, and negotiate transactions while adhering to ethical and legal standards set by your state and the National Association of Realtors (NAR)

11. Continue education

Maintain your license by completing continuing education courses as required by your state. This ensures you stay informed about industry changes, legal updates, and best practices in real estate.

Part-time real estate agents and RentSpree

Your time as a part-time real estate agent is valuable. If you decide you’re ready to embark on this journey RentSpree is here to help. We offer all the tools you need to kickstart your career. With our platform you can streamline the rental application process, manage applications, screen tenants, and collect application fees online. This saves time and simplifies administrative tasks, so you can focus more on building client relationships and growing your business. 

Want to learn more about what RentSpree can do for you? Schedule a demo with us today.


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