How much can I make working as a part-time real estate agent?

by Corben Grant on 14 Jan 2022

One of the major benefits of working as a real estate agent is the fact that you have the option to make your own schedule, be your own boss, and manage your own workload. For many, this means they can end up working long hours and long weeks getting in as many deals as possible. However, it also opens up the opportunity for others who may want to work as a real estate agent only in a part-time capacity. This may be because you are looking to start a new career in real estate, or perhaps you are already a real estate agent who is looking to explore other sources of income and spend less time in real estate.

Whatever your reasons, you can still make money as a part-time real estate agent. But how much? Could this be a viable option for you? Let's take a look at what it’s like to work as a part-time real estate agent.

Should I work part-time as a real estate agent?

One of the most common reasons that a real estate agent would choose to work in a part-time capacity is when they are just starting out in their real estate career. When you have just received your real estate license, working part-time can allow you to get some experience in the industry and figure out whether or not it’s something you would like to do as a full-time job.

It also allows you to develop the skills and connections necessary to succeed as a full-time real estate agent but at your own pace. Since real estate agents work on commission, if you go straight in with no experience whatsoever, you can find yourself draining your bank account before you are able to make any sales. By working part-time, you allow yourself the opportunity to maintain a second source of income until you are prepared to head full-time into your new career.

You may also be able to use your extra time for things other than a second job. For example, you may be able to attend courses or other training that can help you get even better at your real estate job.

The downsides of working part-time as a real estate agent

Unfortunately, the job of being a real estate agent can be a demanding one and may be hard to manage in a part-time capacity. For example, you will need to ensure you have a solid second job to maintain your income. Any agent will tell you that there are definitely going to be “dry spells” and if you are inexperienced and relying on real estate to make the bills, you will be putting yourself under a lot of personal and financial stress. Ideally, you should have a solid and steady second job that makes good enough money on its own and a decent amount of emergency cash should you find yourself in extra need of money.

You also need to be able to work around a real estate agent's schedule. There are no real set business hours when it comes to real estate. This means you can be working any hour of the day and any day of the week. Yes, that includes weekends.

You never know when an opportunity to do business will come up, meaning if you are unable to remain flexible while working a second job, you may be leaving a lot of opportunities on the table. Plus, it won't look very good to clients if you can't be available when they need you. Therefore, you will ideally do best if you have a second job that allows you to be flexible and available whenever the need should arise. While this isn't a strict necessity, it can make a big difference in how successful you will be.

Working with a real estate broker as a part-time real estate agent

Working part-time can also limit your choices when it comes to brokerages as some real estate brokers will not want to work with a part-time agent. This means you may have fewer choices of which real estate brokerage you work with, though there are certainly still options available.

Do part-time real estate agents make money?

Ultimately, the question of how much money part-time real estate agents can make is going to vary a lot from agent to agent. There is no solid data that tracks the income of part-time agents, but we can infer a bit from the average income of agents, as well as the average sale prices of homes.

The average salary of full-time agents in Canada

According to the government of Canada, the median wage earned for a real estate agent nationwide is $46,212. And while there are an estimated over 140,000 real estate agents in Canada and over 600,000 real estate transactions a year, the number of transactions each agent does is not evenly distributed.

The number of agents making more than ten sales per year is a small percentage of the total agents. If you look at the average selling price of about $720,000 (close to the current national home price average), and an agent commission of 2.5% for both the seller's agent and buyer's agent (though this too can vary), each deal would net each agent about $18,000. You then have to consider any additional fees incurred from things such as licensing, brokerage fees, advertising, and more. These can significantly cut into the commissions made from a home sale.

The amount earned per sale can vary by region

The amount that an agent can take in will also vary greatly by area. While some regions have much lower home prices that will make the commissions much smaller, others such as the city of Toronto may see homes sell for $2 million or more. That same 2.5% commission would instead get you closer to $50,000.

Being able to make money may also depend on the market activity. Currently, most Canadian markets are facing stock issues. This means that even though prices are high, leading to higher commissions, there will be tough competition for clients.

In addition, part-time agents may have a harder time getting clients in these markets when faced with competition from full-time agents with a better reputation, experience, and marketing budgets. Overall, assuming you are a part-time agent who makes even one sale, you can still stand to earn a nice amount of money, though maybe not enough to fully sustain yourself.

If you have an amount of money in mind that you want to make in real estate, you should look at the average sales price and sales commissions in your local area and set a target for how many sales you want to make. Use this target to determine how much of your time you should devote to your real estate job and how much you should spend on other pursuits.

There are also many other ways that you can make money as a real estate agent without selling homes. For some real estate agents, this might mean working with clients to find rental properties. Other more established real estate agents make money as coaches or presenters.

There may also be jobs available at brokerages that don't directly involve sales, but that are still within the real estate industry and can be both profitable and beneficial for furthering your real estate career.

How long should I work part-time?

While you may be planning to continue working part-time long-term if you have other sources of income, many real estate agents are looking to eventually move to working full-time. But how do you know when you should make the jump to full-time work?

There are a few ways to approach this question. For one, you may wish to gradually ease your way into full-time, depending on how flexible your other job is. Essentially, if you find you could be making more deals if only for more time on the job, it may be worth giving yourself that additional time.

However, if you are working a second job that would require you to quit outright in order to devote more time to real estate, you should wait until a point that you can reliably make more from real estate than your current job. One reason why you should wait to make more is that the real estate business can be unpredictable. If you are making more than before as an agent, you will hopefully be able to make enough to weather any unfortunate down periods.

Conclusion

If you want to transition to a new career in real estate or want a second job that offers a lot of opportunities, being a part-time realtor may be for you. The bottom line is there is money to be made even only working part-time, though you get out what you put in, and you could make much more as a fully committed agent.

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