Aspiring Real Estate Agents - Can't Go Full-Time Yet? Consider this...

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Whether or not a new agent can succeed in this business starting out part time is a topic of much debate all over the world of real estate online forums. Rookies ask... Old Fogies answer... and the discussion usually deteriorates into a p*ssing contest between the two camps. I've written extensively on the topic and I have no problem declaring which side I fall on... I believe that this biz is tough enough to get started in debatewithout making it even harder by hitting it with only half (or less) of your time, energy and focus. So, in case that wasn't clear, I think a new agent oughta do it full-time, or not at all.

Oh, yes, I know the arguments... the main one is "But I can't AFFORD to give up my regular paycheck yet; I NEED to keep my job to pay my bills!" Others claim to know someone who managed to survive working only nights and weekends, or fitting in real estate around their "real" job.

Fair enough. My goal here is not to open that tired old can of worms yet again. You have your opinion; I have mine, she has hers and he has his.

But the fact remains that most rookies fail in their real estate venture. MOST. Even the ones who think they'll be the exception. Obviously, MOST won't be.

I hope it's a fair statement to say that if you want to succeed in a business, you'll have a better chance of doing so if you give it MORE effort than LESS effort - can we agree on that? Therefore, the ideal situation for new agents is to be able to go full-time, right from the start, right?

If we can agree on that, then how about this? If you're cool with the idea of working your backside off on two jobs (your "real" job + your new real estate career), why not keep your day job and go get a second job that actually PAYS your money instead of COSTS you money? For six months, a year, whatever it takes to save up a nice nest-egg that will enable you to pursue your dream of being a wildly successful (full-time) real estate agent. Tend bar, deliver pizza, clean houses, tutor, mow lawns... whatever you can do in your spare time to generate some spare cash to sock away.

I promise you, this business is a whole lot more fun when you're not freaked out about your next mortgage payment or exhausted from trying to start a new business after a long day's work.  Those six months will fly by, and if you're lucky, maybe the real estate market will improve by then!





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Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC

This is an interesting discussion.  We are running into part time vs full time at our office.  Right now the main problem seems to be that we have agents who want to do it full time, but won't even commit to doing part time hours to get their business going. 

Sep 02, 2008 07:38 AM #12
Rick Trowe
Cerium Learning - Tulsa, OK
Go With Trowe

what's the number 1 reason most business ventures fail in America? Lack of Capitol. You provided an idea worth thinking about.

Sep 02, 2008 08:23 AM #13
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

While I am sure there are plenty of agents out there with anecdotal evidence that one can succeed part time, what annoys me to NO end is the justifications you hear from part time agents:  "I cannot afford to go full time, I need full time income coming in," etc. etc.  The rationale is always AGENT-CENTRIC and I feel that is just wrong.  We are in a service industry;  we should be focusing on what is best for the client.

I also hear part time agents who justify their keeping their day jobs by saying, "It's not a problem.  I can answer phone calls and pull up the MLS at my day job."  I always wonder how their employers feel about their not doing their best at THAT job, either! 

Part time agents who are not accessible during the day or who take forever to return paperwork also make it difficult for the co-oping agent, which is inherently unfair.  I have been on the other side of deals with part time agents and I have yet to meet one that has impressed me with their market knowledge, understanding of the contract or ability to meet deadlines. 

Yes, yes, yes, I know, there are full timers who don't take it seriously, don't return phone calls, blah, blah, blah.  And they are equally annoying, but that is a disingenuous argument at best.  The existence of incompetant full time agents is simply not a good justification for an agent to be part time.  

Sep 02, 2008 09:40 AM #14
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Dead-on, Susan... and to add to your brilliance, the fact that someone can't afford to be full-time is so NOT relevant to the requirements of the job... I mean, I have lots of dreams that I can't (yet) afford to make come true; just cause I have a dream doesn't entitle me to it.

Something I should "disclose." As a full-time writer and trainer, I am a part-time agent, no question about it, so my comments are specifically for rookies and pre-rookies who are wondering if they can SURVIVE their first year by doing it part time. But once your  systems are in place and your repeat and referral business kicks in, this job doesn't have to take anywhere close to 40 hours a week. However, it's still vital to be available during the work week and to be able to serve your clients as your first priority. It just doesn't take nearly as many hours to do that once you know what you're doing! My first year... and second... and third? I worked at least 60 hours a week.

Funny, I just noticed I lost a few subscribers after posting this blog... d'ya think I annoyed a few people?


Sep 02, 2008 10:46 AM #15
Harold "Hal" Place
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL

Hi Jennifer,

Part time is no time. This business is full time service.  Not 24/7 for sure, but full time nonetheless. Being financially prepared is the only advise to give and follow. Not just in Real Estate, but any business venture that one wants to make a go of.

If you lost some subscribers, their focus was too narrow for you anyway.

Sep 02, 2008 10:59 AM #16
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Jennifer, I read this advice in your excellent new book "Sell with Soul II" and found it to be very good and sound advice. It really makes sense. Of course few will take it because they want to make the big bucks NOW!!!

Sep 02, 2008 11:14 AM #17
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

BB -  Too bad most would probably make bigger bucks delivering pizza than (not) selling real estate!

Hal - It seems so obvious, doesn't it? One of those things that baffles me as to how there can even be an argument...

Sep 02, 2008 12:29 PM #18
Frank Bailey Sr.
Keller Williams Realty - Schertz, TX


 Great post and you're right.  I actually turned down a job when I first started (about 6 months ago) offering 50k a year.  honest.   I told them I have a job, real estate, (after my wife and one of my best friends recovered from the news, they understood). 

 I dedicated doing this full time because I knew I could.  Am I making 50k?  uh... no, will I?  You better believe it.  I'm focused, positive and I know me and real estate were made for each other.

 Great post.

Sep 02, 2008 05:05 PM #19
Chris and Maria Jeantet
Coldwell Banker C&C Properties - Redding, CA
Redding CA Real Estate Couple

good post Jennifer-

Real Estate is our only source of income and there's two of us (actually, we just took on a "side" business that we're building in the evenings and as time allows). But from the beginning, we both knew that it would take a serious committment if we were going to succeed, and thank God we have. There are challenges but overall, I can't imagine doing this part-time. Woudn't work.

Sep 02, 2008 05:15 PM #20
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

A bit off topic (well, maybe not so much ):  Your books arrived yesterday and I cannot wait for the day to begin to deliver them to the friends I ordered them for.  

I started out part time, although between the 2 careers I actually worked 80-90 hours per week.  Slowly I reduced my "day" job until I was only going in to the office once a week to help them transition to someone new.

If I didn't put in the hours and the committment in the very beginning I don't think I'd be here to write to you today.   Simply working weekends only, or some such part time schedule at real estate would have left me feeling overwhelmed by it all.   My opinion only, everyone elses mileage may vary.

Sep 02, 2008 09:35 PM #21
Michael Sahlman - Keller Williams Realty - Miami Beach, FL
e-PRO - Miami Beach Florida Luxury Homes

Great advice Jennifer. I might have to actually buy your book!

Sep 02, 2008 11:18 PM #22
Paddy (Patricia) Pizappi
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty - Pine Bush, NY
Real Estate Associate Broker Hudson Valley NY

Great idea Jennifer!  If you have to work two jobs they should both be paying jobs and the first few months of real estate can be rough without back up funds. 

Sep 02, 2008 11:42 PM #23
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Paddy - Makes sense, doesn't it??

Michael - Oh, maybe someday!

Kris - I"m glad the books arrived safely! I'm too darn old to work 80-90 hours a week (at least for more than one week at a time), but you're right - that's pretty much what it's gonna take to make it happen...

Chris & Maria - I agree. At least - I don't think you can be great hitting it only part-time. But perhaps mediocre (which is everyone's ultimate goal, right?)

Frank - I see big things ahead for you... way bigger than $50k!

Sep 03, 2008 12:16 AM #24
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Good advice. I believe that if someone wants it bad enough, he/ she will make the savings happen. It is a VERY EASY task to do - saving, if we just identify our needs and our wishes.

Sep 03, 2008 02:08 AM #25
Pippa Mac
Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring - The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands TX Real Estate

We have all been there ... but I agree jump in fully ... it will pay off!

Sep 03, 2008 08:48 AM #26
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

You always need a nest egg.  Whether starting out or being in it for any length of time.  It's feast or famine so be sure you put something away during the feast.

Sep 03, 2008 09:52 AM #27
Andy Laughlin - Bellingham, WA

Great Blog!! I'm trying to get started right now, and you have to use all your TIME!!!


Sep 03, 2008 03:21 PM #28
Hope Goss
Ventura Property Shoppe - Ventura, CA
Ventura Real Estate

I have to agree with you on this - I've seen it over and over.  This business is too tough every single day not to have your whole attention on it.

Sep 04, 2008 03:53 AM #29
Bill Saunders, Realtor®
Meyers Realty - Hot Springs, AR


I agree, and certainly understand the needs of having a ready paycheck.

As a new full-time agent in the office, I certainly agree. We have a few part time agents, and they are good professional people, but due to certain reasons, they are often unavailable. OFTEN.

As pointed out, this is a service oriented business that revolves  around "customers" and more importantly, clients...if you can't commit to the customer as a hint at your level of commitment to a client relationship, How can you build any lasting relationship down the road? If you cannot invest the time, you probably need to wait. The time spent results in the funding you need to pay back your initial outlay.

Before you jump, talk to a full-timer you know and respect on a personal level.

Feb 18, 2009 01:47 AM #30
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Aug 12, 2012 01:37 AM #31
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