Part Timers VS Hobbyists

Mortgage and Lending with Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IN, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

Part Timers VS Hobbyists


In Real Estate there's always been an attitude amongst many that "part time agents have no business being in the business".  This argument becomes a little louder each time we're in a market like we see today with limited inventory, an abundance of licensees, and home sales with prices so high & days on market so low that the general consensus is there's to many unskilled 'professionals' seeking an easy payday.


I've always believed, though, that the argument shouldn't be around whether or not someone is working 40+ hours/week in real estate or not, but whether or not they're providing the type of high level service required to provide the best experience to customers.


I know many great agents who are high performers that are balancing a lot of different jobs.  I know some terrible agents that are 100% dedicated to real estate, but can't quite figure out the concept of replying to a phone call or email, and think yelling and bullying people is the key to getting things done.


Recently, a friend of mine went under contract in a market where they found their own agent.  All was good, until the time came to go under contract.  We're 2 days into a 20 day escrow period, and I still haven't seen the contract.  Without a contract, I can't complete the file and prep disclosures, and in an environment where appraisal turn times are extended, I can't even place the order, while the clock is ticking.  Of course, 3 weeks from now it'll be our fault because "the lender didn't get closing docs out on time!", but this up front delay is going to be a headache that grows exponentially into a migraine, all for lack of availability.


The agent in question is a part timer.  When I contacted him, he let me know his real estate email doesn't go to his phone, so he only checks it when he wraps up his day job and can get to a computer.  Yes.  In THIS market, that's how a "business" is being run.  The buyers are understandably nervous, and I can't blame them.


When you sign up to work in the real estate industry, people are relying on your for expertise and guidance.  If you can't provide it, GET OUT.  And if you're in, you need to be available, communicate, and not be a barrier to a smooth transaction for your customers.  


In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with a part time agent that knows their stuff, knows how to communicate, and is either available to clients or has a backup that can be responsive.  But there is a very real problem with hobbyists putting the ability to buy a home for deserving people at risk because they're not fully invested in their business.


If you're a hobbyist, go ahead and buy your own homes, sell your own homes, and enjoy the discounts.  But don't represent other people putting their full faith into your expertise for the biggest purchase of their lifetime if you won't make yourself available to be the professional you portrayed yourself to be.  This market has no room for bush league agents.

Posted by

John Meussner
NMLS ID #138061

It's more than a house - it's home.  So we offer a wide range of mortgage products at competitive prices to help our clients achieve financial security at home.  While we get great feedback on our prices and products, many clients say their favorite part of working with John Meussner & MasonMac is the level of service provided along the way.

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Comments (25)

Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

There are part time agents, or those juggling several jobs, who are great at what they do and would not allow deals to fall apart because of their other responsibilities. And there are full time agents who would. It's not the full or part time status - it's the service provided to clients that counts.

Oct 14, 2021 05:07 AM
John Meussner

100% agree Kat --- I'll take a great part timer over an average full timer any day!

Oct 14, 2021 11:55 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello John - true professionals know how to deliver results.  It's not a question of time spent on the job but time saved when things work efficiently(and well).  

Oct 14, 2021 05:10 AM
John Meussner

Great way to put it, if a part time pro can do what a full time pro can, and better, the hours dont matter!

Oct 14, 2021 11:55 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good moening John Meussner ,

Excellent post. Working efficiently is the key whether your a full or part time agent. If you can't be available to communicate it isn't faire to a buyer or seller placing their trust in you!

Oct 14, 2021 05:22 AM
John Meussner

Agree wholeheartedly Dorie, communication is vital to our line of work

Oct 14, 2021 11:56 AM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

I employ a couple of part time agents who are winding down long time careers in other industries.  I know one of them earns more than 85% of the full time agents in the area market working real estate about 20 hours a week.  The other one is getting there.

Oct 14, 2021 05:36 AM
John Meussner

That's awesome, Mike, glad to know they're funding success under your leadership!

Oct 14, 2021 11:56 AM
Brenda J. Andrew
Professional Realtor in Conroe/Willis, TX

Great post John. It has been a while since I worked with a part timer - or at least one who was like you described.  That is so frustrating and they should not be in business if they cannot take the time to take care of their clients.  I'm just the opposite, answering calls, emails and text early in the morning until late at night.  

Oct 14, 2021 05:53 AM
John Meussner

It's a fine line, right Brenda J. Andrew !?  Communication is vital though, and I'm sure your clients never feel like they're in the dark

Oct 14, 2021 11:57 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

I was a part-time agent for the first year I was in the business.  Doing double-duty for a full year before deciding to dive into the deep end of the real estate pool.

But while I was part-time, I was available via cell phone and email during my non-real-estate time.  So I could step aside, handle a real estate issue, and step back into my other job.  Real Estate didn't go unattended, when needed.

Oct 14, 2021 06:23 AM
John Meussner

And that's how it should be!  Without an income or hefty savings, it's hard to dive right in full time, but if diving in part time, the customer needs to be cared for

Oct 14, 2021 11:58 AM
Matthew O'Hare
Osterville, MA

It's a competitive field already without another reason to create new "us vs them" paradigms. It's good to remember that in reality both your business and mental health will be stronger by creating bridges, not building walls.

Oct 14, 2021 08:16 AM
John Meussner

I don't believe in an "us VS them" paradigm per se, but I do believe when someone makes a decision to get a real estate license and take on clients, they should be held to a certain standard, and taken to task when they fail to live up to that standard - - because it quite literally is costing people homes in this market.

Oct 14, 2021 12:55 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

I prefer the term "dual career" :)  I've now been licensed for over 17 years, with the amount of involvement I have had in real estate starting at very little and building over time.  Anyone that reads client reviews for me will realize that I put a lot of emphasis on quick and honest communication.

I'm fortunate that my current "day job" role requires no business travel and is mostly working on a laptop and is more concerned with results than a rigid schedule spent in a cube.  My manager knows I'll make up any time I take for real estate, and more often than not, a "vacation"day for me is like today.  I started the morning do a little bit of email for my engineering job, headed to a closing, came back home and did a mix of real estate and engineering work, then headed to western Cincinnati to look at a home for a friend/client whose mother passed away and left him a house.  Ultimately, that home would be best given back to the bank.    

Sure, I'd love to go see the latest Bond movie, but for the near future my continued tradeoff is more work and less play until we get to our next home in a year or so.

Oct 14, 2021 02:22 PM
John Meussner

You're a great example (and one I thought of) that is "Part time", but provides exceptional knowledge and doesn't put clients on the backburner - you do it how it should be done : )

Oct 14, 2021 04:56 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

John there is a difference between very experienced agents/brokers that chose to work a little less and the newer agents with little experience, especially in this crazy market.  I've dealt with a lot of newer agents that just can't figure out how to negotiate and win a bid lately.  They need to be trained because they simply can't win over the experienced professional with years of experience.  And you'll find this interesting, talk about part time agent, I ran into a part time appraiser this week who only will do appraisals from 7 to 8 in the morning.  Is that nuts or what!


Featured in BananaTude


Oct 14, 2021 02:56 PM
John Meussner

Appraisers are extorting the industry right now, it's sad!  And yes, I feel for inexperienced agents in this market, you've got to be really savvy to get an offer to stand out in many places

Oct 14, 2021 04:55 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Yes definitely and we spend our lives trying to find that sweet spot betweena hobby and the job and trying to meld them together.

Oct 14, 2021 09:54 PM
John Meussner

Yes we do!  And as long as the customer is taken care of, it doesn't matter the amount of hours spent on the job : )  Thanks for the comment Laura Cerrano 

Oct 15, 2021 01:19 PM
Chad Felter
Virginia Beach, VA
Providing service through out Hampton Roads

Wow! You must be Awesome....

By your standards President DJ Trump was a Bush League Hobbyist.

Oct 15, 2021 03:53 AM
John Meussner

Hi Chad Felter - our team is pretty awesome.  2 years running we've been top place amongst hundreds of mortgage companies in customer satisfaction surveys, and we've got near around the clock coverage doing business in ~25 states, so we're doing ok!


Not sure where the Trump reference came from, but I'll take the opportunity to say 2 things since you brought in the reference:

- I'd trade a few mean tweets for a gallon of gas that starts with a "$2" here in CA right about now


- Let's go Brandon!


: )  Have a great weekend

Oct 15, 2021 01:18 PM
Lea Lagueux
Future Home Realty - Saint Petersburg, FL
Your Tampa - St Petersburg Local REALTOR

OMG - you said it John Meussner!  So tired of dragging their b*** through a transaction. Because you know that's what professional agents do to make sure the deal gets done for their clients - whichever side they work for.  And i feel sorry for their customers who are not getting the service they deserve and angry for the black eye these so called agents give our industry.  They are a big part of the reason we are being attacked by the disruptors - we are vulnerable as an industry because of low performing agents like this.

Oct 15, 2021 09:42 AM
John Meussner

you're 100% correct.  In this instance, the story ended with a cancelled contract (due in no small part to the lack of communication and extremely short escrow/due diligence period), and we'll be connecting them with a great agent, so their next experience will be much better : )

Oct 15, 2021 01:16 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

I think you get out of the job what you out into the job.  To me, being a realtor is a FULL TIME JOB!

Oct 15, 2021 11:13 AM
John Meussner

It sure is, whether that full time is 20 or 40 hours weekly or beyond, you need to be full time dedicated to your clients : )

Oct 15, 2021 01:14 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Well said, John. If you can’t provide the service needed by your clients, you shouldn’t be here. True for part-timers and those who are full time. It’s all about what you do and how, not the time spent.


Oct 15, 2021 07:28 PM
John Meussner

Thanks Jeff, very very true  --- it's the service, not the hours!

Oct 17, 2021 09:01 PM
Karen Climer
Demetree School of Real Estate - Orlando, FL
Teaching people to pass the real estate exam

If the seller wants to hire someone who works on this job on a limited basis and the seller knows that agent will only be available for calls and emails after normal business hours, I don't see what the problem is.  Yes, it is more difficult for you, the buyer's agent, but the seller's agent is representing the seller.  He works for the seller, not you.

You as the buyer's agent can tell your buyer, "We can make an offer on this house, but the agent is represented by a part-time agent so everything is going to move slower.  Do you want this house enough to wait?"

I don't have a problem with part-time agents.  I do think there is a problem when there is a disconnect between what was promised and what is delivered.  For example, if you tell the client you are readily available and you are really only available after normal business hours, that's a problem.  But if the agent is upfront with the client, and his part-time nature serves his client's needs, it's between the two of them.  Yes, it affects you.  But the part-timer is not doing a disservice to the industry.  Anymore than part-time lawyers, nurses, CPAs, or any other profession are doing a disservice to their industry.

Oct 16, 2021 06:09 AM
John Meussner

that's where I differentiate between part timers and hobbyists.  Hours don't matter, but expertise and communication do.  My issue is mainly with people that got licensed to invest or do their own business, but use clients as an occasional paycheck.  


Our recent deal, a 'hobbyist' caused a transaction to fall apart with a lack of availability and a lack of understanding of disclosures and how they effect the buying process.

Oct 17, 2021 09:03 PM
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

John Meussner No matter how, you must give full-time service if you are going to be in this field. That includes communication.

Oct 16, 2021 07:07 AM
John Meussner

Exactly --- work part time hours, but provide value to clients and HELP them with their goals, don't hinder them : )

Oct 17, 2021 09:04 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear John,

In 48 hours, there should have been enough time to forward you the contract. The good faith money needs to be in the main office in that amount of time as well. Always better to have the ball out of your own court, so things can keep moving while you are at your other pursuit. For full-time agents, that may be other clients.

Oct 18, 2021 03:16 AM
John Meussner

Agreed, I'm a big proponent of "we have time for what we make time for" - as a real estate professional, we should all have time for our customers.

Oct 19, 2021 04:44 PM
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL

John and everyone else,

Here's a great quote which I read a few days ago that says it all........"Suffering from the rigors of discipline is better than experiencing the finality of defeat!" It's a tough market out there today.......those who make the time to "cover the bases" and remain focused, regardless of the time invested, will be on the receiving end of success!

Oct 19, 2021 03:39 PM
John Meussner

I like that a lot, Sharon!   Thanks  : )

Oct 19, 2021 04:43 PM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse Advisor

For years I debated entering the real estate profession part time- referral basis only. I ultimately couldn't do it since I was also President of my condo association- fixing the problems caused by a full time agent and a full time broker that was previously on the board. They ran my building into the ground- and it was a 2nd full time unpaid job to fix the problems they created or failed to address. Everyone kept telling me I should work in real estate as I fixed the problems in the building. When I did finally leave Wall St for real estate- I knew more about NYC real estate than most full time agents- and proved it early on.


If I had the right consulting contract in front of me at the right time- I might be tempted to go part time for awhile in real estate. 


I think the barriers to entry in this business is way too low, and while I suspect most part timers are going to weed themselves out- every once in a while you find a gem.

Oct 20, 2021 07:23 PM
John Meussner

Very true, and thanks for sharing your path!!  I've found a lot of great part time agents for whatever reason, but they all share a dedication to their clients. When we encounter an agent that keeps an active license just to pick up random deals a couple times/year, that's almost always when we run into trouble.

Oct 21, 2021 10:01 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

John Meussner, This sums it up:

' Hours don't matter, but expertise and communication do.'  

Nov 10, 2021 09:36 PM