Part-Time Real Estate Agents… A Career Or Just A Hobby?

Created by Sura Nualpradid courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A career in real estate can be as flexible or as demanding as you wish. You can also do it in your spare time if you’re looking for a flexible second job. While that may work well for the agent, it doesn’t bode well for the unfortunate homeowner that is paying full price for a part-time service. Part-time agents don’t perform as well as agents that devote their entire careers towards real estate. They simply don’t have the time to devote to selling your house like a full-time agent would. So, when you interview your next real estate agent, make sure that this agent does real estate full-time. If you don’t, your house may sit on the market for a long time.

Why You Shouldn’t Hire A Part-Time Agent To Sell Your House

  • If an agent is only working as an agent part of the time, then they’re only selling your house part of the time. If they have multiple listings, the time they devote to your house may be even less. While they’re at their primary job, their focus is not on you, your house, or on talking to potential buyers about your house. Part-time agents may be spreading themselves too thin between their main job and their real estate career.
  • The question you have to ask a part-time real estate agent is “why are you only working part-time?” If they are transitioning into a career in real estate from their current career, then you may get better service than you would a part-time real estate agent who is just looking for something to do to provide a little extra money. If your real estate agent is only in the business to just get a little spending money then their motivation to sell your house will be low, if any.
  • Is this a part-time career or just a hobby to do in their spare time? You don’t want to hire an agent that only wants to “play” agent on the weekends or is looking for an excuse to go look at homes for fun. This is not the motivation needed to sell your house in a timely and productive manner. The longer your house sits on the market, the lower your sales price becomes.
  • If a part-time agent doesn’t want to put a lot of time into a career in real estate, then how much time do you think they’ll spend acquiring additional training and education to improve their real estate selling knowledge?
  • Part-time agents have a limited amount of time available to setup appointments for showings, open houses or to attend closings, appraisals or inspections. An agent needs to be at all of these events to ensure a successful closing. Most things occur during regular work hours and if that agent is at work in a non-agent, full-time job, then they can’t possibly be at your house to represent your interests. If you’re a buyer, and signed a buyer’s representation agreement with a part-time agent then you are limiting yourself to their confined schedule. This could limit you and your agent to looking at homes only on the weekends. You can also bet that your part-time agent will only be taking their buyers to your house during the weekend too. What about the other five days?
  • The worst part is that even though you’ll have all the limitations I mentioned, you’ll still pay the full commission amount. Why would you pay a full price for part-time work?

My Advice To Part-Time Real Estate Agents

  • Either create and follow a plan to make real estate a full-time career or do something else. Don’t dabble in our industry. It’s a career not a hobby and should be treated as such. Create a long-range plan to become an agent and start saving up money that you can live on until your commission checks start coming. To be safe, you should save up enough money to live off of for 4-6 months. In the meantime, start taking real estate classes and the real estate exam so that you can become a licensed agent on day one of your future career.
  • If you’re only interested in doing this as a hobby or a time-filler then for heaven’s sake, do not represent a buyer client or take on a listing client. Instead, team up with a full-time agent and offer to help them with their clients. Maybe help them host an open house or offer to take a buyer to look at a few homes. Trying to convince a client that you can do as much as a full-time agent is simply a lie.
  • Try a career in real estate that doesn’t involve buying or selling a house. Try getting a weekend job with the property management division of a real estate agency or work as support staff for a real estate agent or team. This could provide a good introduction to your real estate career plus you’ll be making connections in the industry that could prove valuable.

Share Your Thoughts

What are your opinions about part-time agents? Do you think it can be done by a part-time agent as effectively as a full-time agent? Do they add value to the industry or help to create a bad reputation that all agents share? When you comment, please let us know if you are a full-time agent or a part-time agent.

 

 

Copyright Digital Fingerprint: AH19149149502840208240924AH-AgentHarvest

This is copyrighted material. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bill Petrey and AgentHarvest with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All in-text links must point to their original destination as linked on the original site.

Related posts:

Share and Enjoy



Bill Petrey, Realtor
Bill Petrey, the CEO and Founder of AgentHarvest, has been written about in the Los Angeles Times, Inman News, AOL Real Estate, and Inman Next, among others. He founded AgentHarvest for the sole purpose of making the process of finding a good Realtor better and easier. Bill Petrey is an author and editor of both The AgentHarvest Blog, Real Examples of Really Rotten Realty Blog, and the creator of Really Rotten Realty.
Bill Petrey, Realtor
Bill Petrey, Realtor

74 comments to Part-Time Real Estate Agents… A Career Or Just A Hobby?

  • Randy Hooker

    Outstanding article, Bill – and something that I’ve been preaching for many years now. It’s nothing personal against part-timers; it’s simply a matter of professionalism and client care that cannot be developed working part time in this business.

  • Jennifer Slider

    I agree completely. Real Estate professionals attend local association meetings, spend time time touring properties, get designations, follow market trends,they are entrenched in all things real estate. And in our spare time we flip houses and watch endless HGTV!! This is not a part time job. It is a lifestyle.
    Purchasing real estate is the largest investment most people make in their life time. I think the consumer deserves representation by the Realtors out there who have a passion for real estate, we wouldn’t do anything else and more importantly we practice real estate as a full time career!

  • Bill Petrey

    Randy and Jennifer:
    I’m glad you agree. I understand the desire to want to ease into the industry rather than quit their job “cold-turkey,” but while that works for them, it’s really not fair to their clients, given their time restraints and lack of total commitment to the industry. I just wish brokers would be more selective when hiring agents and only select agents that were completely devoted to their real estate career and would be devoted to their clients. I guess we can always dream. Homeowners need to be informed that hiring the right agent can make all the difference. However, just being a full-time agent doesn’t necessarily make you a good agent. There are a lot of bad full-time agent too. At least they can work at Really Rotten Realty.

    Thanks for the comments and keep them coming.

    Bill Petrey
    AgentHarvest

  • Exactly. You have to be available not just for your clients, but to get the best real estate training and education to stay up-to-date with your skills. Part-time agents just don’t have the time or commitment to offer quality service to their clients.

    • Bill Petrey

      Brent:
      There’s no denying the logic that no matter how good part-time real estate agents are, they could be better if they had a full-time devotion to the industry. And therefore, they are not giving their clients the best possible service they are capable of giving.

    • Jamie

      Being a residential real estate agent is NOT a job it is your own business. You are not hired or paid; you hang your license with a broker, and you create your own sales which generates commissions. You have to pay all your own expenses as well as split commissions with your broker.Please talk to as many people in the business as you can before you commit to it. It is expensive to get started and most people do not succeed. My suggestion is to find an experienced agent who needs an assistant. You will get valuable experience, a minor paycheck, and be able to learn from someone who is at least successful enough to afford an assistant. Good luck!

  • Wayne

    I think it is hypocritical to be espousing the ideal and ignoring the reality. There are many so called full time agents who could never walk in the shoe of a committed, professional part time agent.

    Bill, if a person is not living up to their MAXIMUM potential but their output is still acceptable to whatever client they service, I don’t see a problem with that. Times have changed, as long as

    In my case, I have a full time career that pays me six-figures and I get 18 days off a month and I’m currently studying for the exams to be a part time agent. Times have changed…

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      If a person is not living up to their MAXIMUM potential but their output is still acceptable to whatever client they service, I don’t see a problem with that.

      You don’t see anything wrong with purposely not doing your personal best or living up to your maximum potential, favoring a slower pace that’s acceptable to your client? How is that any different than just doing the minimum just to get by? Most people want agents that strive to live up to their maximum potential, treating real estate as their main career.

      Granted, there are lots of losers out there doing real estate as a full-time career but I can’t think of any agent that couldn’t be a better agent if they put their full potential towards that goal. Don’t you owe that to your client?

      Yes, the times are changing, but they aren’t necessarily changing for the better.

  • Ann R

    Does anyone in this discussion really believe that if someone is ‘part’ time they only give ‘part’ effort? Give me a break. I have bought abd sold a number of houses in my life, and I know for a fact there hasn’t been one agent working 40+ hours a week to close my deal … EVER.

    The fact is, agents juggle multiple tasks and listings and clients.

    I am currently in the reserves and had my civilian position eliminated after a return from 20 days of duty. (Now I am looking to change civilian careers and be more independant.) Some people used to call us ‘weekend warriors’ and ‘part timers’ …. But, I still have two entities to report to who hold me 100% accountable for my work and there are no waivers for having another employer!

    Thanks to those who commented about quality over quantity !!!

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Ann:
      I do believe that there are exceptions to the rule. As a matter of fact, I know full-time agents that couldn’t improve no matter how much more time they devoted to their business. I’m sure that when you’re wearing your real estate working cap, you give your clients 100% of your effort. However, there’s no denying that you only give 100% effort to real estate part of the time. If your sales volume and closing ratios are good enough to place you in the league with your city’s top-selling agents, then keep it up. However there’s no denying that if you could apply all of your time to real estate, your real estate career would be better. I also think you’d be better motivated if all your salary came from real estate. Full-time agents have starvation as a motivator.

      Sure, as agents we juggle many tasks and clients, but they are all related. Things I learn from one task can be applied to others. The more clients I help, the more opportunities I’ll find to help other clients. When I’m away at class, I’m learning something that helps my clients. If I had a part-time job as a real estate agent and another part-time job as a computer programmer, there’s nothing I can learn or do with a programming language like PHP that will help my real estate clients and there’s no MCE credited real estate class that will help me build a robust web application for a customer.

  • Robert

    I think if part time real estate agents were as bad as you all say, then they would not be hired.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Robert, you’d think so, but that’s not the case. Back when people used phonebooks, the best way to attract clients was to have a name that started with “A”. It’s a known fact that a majority of homeowners hire the first agent they meet to sell their house without doing any research whatsoever.

      The reason part-time agents are considered worse than full-time agents is that a full-time agent, incapable of selling a house, is usually forced out of the business after they’ve done without food for a few weeks. Darwinism forces the bad full-time agents to retire but part-time agents that can’t sell are able to linger longer due to a paycheck from another job.

  • Pete

    Funny thing is I googled Bill Petrey and on his Linkedin profile it shows that he also currently has two jobs. Good one Bill!

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Pete:
      That is a great point. You caught me. I had to laugh, but I do have a good excuse. Actually, I have three companies. AgentHarvest, an occasional IT consulting job, and managing rental property that I own.

      While the occasional IT consulting job and property maintenance on a small amount of properties require a small amount of work, AgentHarvest is the business that consumes probably about 90% of my time.

      But here is where your argument starts to crumble. The article is about representing clients in a part-time occupation and it’s disadvantages. I don’t work with clients in real estate transactions so none of this really applies to me. If I were to work with buyers and sellers while doing other things non-related, then yes, you’d be completely correct and I would have no defense. The only exception I make to this is occasionally I’ll buy or sell my own houses but that’s just representing myself.

      Pete, that was a funny observation. It also shows that I may need to update my LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is not a place I visit regularly.

  • Camille

    I would like to sell part-time, but I would be doing this after work and the weekends because I work home two to three days a week from my first job. I know when I searched for a house, it was after work or on the weekends. People sometimes can’t get off work to look at houses. I think I could fill that gap, but I would get with a realtor to learn more. To me, that would be my second job after work and on the weekends.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Camille:
      You might be able to help buyers, but I don’t think you’ve allotted enough time to handle a listing. Also, if you handled listings, you’d owe your client the ability to always be available to handle buyers, promote the listing, etc. If you represent buyers, you’ll also need more time to handle closings and to meet their schedule. I don’t know too many clients willing to be confined to a schedule of your convenience. They want you available at their convenience, and since they’re paying for your service, you owe them that much. The way to get around this problem is by taking a less important role in the process. If you work for a team, you could help another agent with their clients showings, open houses, etc, as your schedule allows. This would free that team up for other tasks. In this situation, you’d be offering their client a greater level of service than they’d get otherwise.

      Ask yourself, of all the agents available to choose from, why would a client want to work with you knowing your limited schedule? Also, ask yourself how could you possibly do a better job for a client than someone who’s devoting their entire career to real estate? Also, do you deserve the same commission as someone devoting more time? These questions would be your biggest hurdle in attracting clients if you worked as their exclusive representative. Also, the fact that you are not supporting yourself based on your real estate abilities speaks volumes. Another problem you’re going to have is time to recruit new clients. As a part-timer, you’re going to miss lots of opportunities because you’re not there. If you aren’t easily accessible, they’ll go to the next agent that is.

      The best way to work part-time in real estate to learn the business and to provide the best service for the client is to work in a subordinate role, helping the agent representing the client.

      Real estate is a great career, but it’s more work than one might think. Success in real estate requires devotion, dedication, continued education and continuous service to your client. All these things are hard to work into a spare-time schedule. If you want to make a go of it, try partnering with a full-time agent that wants nights and weekends off, or needs additional help on nights and weekends.

  • Samir

    Bill,

    Whats your take on doing commercial real estate as a part time job? Is it even more impossible than Residential? Do you know anyone that has succeeded doing this or even came close to succeeding while still holding a full time job? I’ve been told I have mad relationship building skillz and was thinking of easing my way into a commercial real estate position however currently think there is 0% chance of any success.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Samir:
      I don’t have any experience selling Commercial, but I do know transactions take longer and are harder to accomplish. I’m also willing to bet that the same problems with part-time residential agents would probably apply, probably to a greater degree because you’re dealing with business people with more at stake than buying a home. Personally, if I were spending $100k or $1M I wouldn’t want to trust the welfare of the future of my business in someone who doesn’t work in real estate full-time.

      The best job for part-time agents is assisting full-time agents, working in a large team. Thanks for the great comment.

  • Brock

    What is the difference between a full time agent that has 4 clients and a part-time that has 1-2. You would get the same amount of time from the agent.

    I am interested in pursuing a part-time real estate agent career but only plan on having a client at a time. I cannot fathom this would be a detriment to a client over them being with a full time agent that have multiple other clients.

  • Chris

    Every person has different work ethics. I judge the agents on their reputations. If the agent is part time and comes highly recommended, than he gets the job. As earlier stated, a full time agent can be useless, and part time agent fantastic. In the end, an agent is judged by his/her success with a client, not by their work schedule.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Everything an agent does or doesn’t do effects the ultimate success or failure of the transaction and subsequent impression of the agent. Ultimately we are judged on our ability to help our clients buy, sell or lease a property.

  • Amanda

    I find it interesting that every time a part-time real estate is mentioned, it is assumed that he or she has another full time office job somewhere. What about the student going to school, the single mom, or a stay-at-home-mom looking to start part-time and potentially go to full-time as her children become older? I’m the latter, a stay-at-home-mom, working on getting my license, and I think based on my work ethics, my willingness to help people and be completely truthful will help me earn the edge that others, whether they be part-time or full-time, may not gain if they don’t use ethics. Furthermore, I have both an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design with a minor in Architecture, and a Kitchen and Bath Design Certificate. I have no doubt this will help me in my career as a part-time real estate agent because not only can I show houses to buyers, I think they will also appreciate my knowledge in space planning, design, and architecture that could help them see the potential in houses that I show them. This can also be a benefit to houses that I am listing because I have the knowledge on how to best use the current space of a room to create the maximum effect and make it the most desirable. I’m going into this part-time because my main job is a mom, and I want to have the flexibility to be able to be there for my children. I don’t want an inflexible schedule or a typical 9-5 job. I want something rewarding and I want to share my knowledge of homes with others that I currently cannot find in Interior Design due to the slow market for that where I live. It doesn’t matter so much how many hours one puts into their work, but the amount of willingness and desire to be the best they can be when they’re out there doing their work.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Amanda:

      From your previous comment:
      “I’m going into this part-time because my main job is a mom, and I want to have the flexibility to be able to be there for my children.”

      A full-time agent’s main job is serving their clients. They want the flexibility to be able to be there for their clients.

      That’s the difference.

      • Beverly

        So she’s a mom, and I assume you have no family or any hobbies outside of real estate, I hope you also don’t cook your own meals or clean your own house, because that would be taking away from your job as a real estate agent, you sound very hypocritical to me in all these posts of yours, I thought you had some good points, but now I don’t want to read anything you write

        • Bill Petrey, Realtor

          Beverly:
          Sorry you feel that way. However, if you read my past comments on this article, my opinion has been consistent. The fact that the last person was a mother did not alter my advice so actually I was far from being hypocritical. My focus has always solely focused on the part-timer’s limited ability to serve the customer and industry. No excuse, no matter how noble, will change the fact that they are only partially devoted to their clients.

  • Terrell

    I want to be a full time real estate agent, but here’s the reality. It is difficult to find a hourly part time job when your full time job gets out at an hour when most of the part time shifts are starting. So I don’t have a choice but to be a part time agent, until I can save enough money to live off of, and then go full time. I realize that it will be difficult, and I’m willing to do it and sacrifice all of my spare time for my clients. If that means that I can only handle one or two clients at a time then that’s what I’ll do. It also sounds like you’re trying to throw a monkey wrench in the business of the part time agents.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Terrell:
      You may be right. However, your new real estate part-time job is not about you or your schedule. The client doesn’t care. It’s about what the client wants and how you can best meet their schedule. The problem you face is that you need to find clients willing to work around your limited schedule and suffer the resulting delays, while paying full-price for a part-time inconvenient service. If someone honestly explained the situation to a home buyer or seller, I don’t think they’d choose that agent. Do you?

  • Fred

    I agree with Bill in a number of different ways. I have my Real Estate License and work Full Time. My game plan was to do it part time and eventually build it into a full time career.Anyone doing it Part Time, I would highly recommend you get involved with a Team. It is very hard to do it alone Part-Time. You will get in over your head.Its really not fair to the client.Consider the following and allow yourself to have money set aside to run your business.Some agencies charge a monthly fee, If your only a buyers agent, make sure they are Able, Willing & Ready to buy, if not, its no longer Real Estate. I call it Wheel Estate. Be willing to waste gas, time and money. If you’re doing Listings part time, which is mostly unlikely, but if you do, think about having set aside money for advertising and hosting open houses.Kudos to those who are going thru Real Estate school and those who are successful doing R.E. part-time. Credibility is important in this business and Experience Trumps all! Good Luck

  • Shannon

    I am a single mom of two school-aged boys. I am currently working in a dead-end, part-time job to pay the bills. I’ve been in touch with a well-known broker in my area who is willing to take me under her wing and train me herself. My intention is to begin my real estate classes this March. What suggestions do you have for the person, such as myself, who wants to jump in feet first, but also needs to be sure her bills are paid and her kids are fed?

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Shannon:
      First of all, welcome aboard. Until you become full-time, I suggest you take a supporting role in a team so your time limitations don’t effect the level of service the client deserves. As far as personal development, go to a brokerage firm that has lots of classes. Take as many in-house offered classes as you can, even if they don’t apply to what you want to do. That added understanding of non-related parts eventually proves valuable. Also you get to meet the agents in your brokerage.

      On day one, when you get access to MLS, you should get your brokerage’s agent roster and determine which agents or teams consistently sell the most. Find out which agents sell the least. Take the top agents out to lunch, ask them for advice, try to get on one of their teams. Offer to help them with open houses, etc. Any way you can benefit them, do it. It will pay off in experience in the long run. Ignore and avoid the worst agents in the office and treat any advice they give you with severe skepticism.

      Another tip I have is to buy a domain name that is not team related, agency related, or tied to a specific product and only promote that email in your marketing. Don’t use the team email, or agency email address. Odds are, you won’t be there for your entire career so you want all your old contacts to be able to contact you where ever you may be. Remember, you can always buy the domain and set it up to forward all emails to any email address you’re currently using. I suggested non-agency and non-team because you’ll probably change teams or agencies sometime in your career, especially if you go out on your own. I suggest not tying your domain name to a specific product because @CondoQueen.com might not have as much relevance if you stop selling condos.

      The best tip I can give is to give serious clients serious attention. While everyone else is just providing service, you need to provide “mint on the pillow” service. Examine everything you do and look for ways to increase efficiency and benefits for the client.

      Best of luck in your career.

      Bill Petrey

  • AJ

    I’m not a realtor, just a recent buyer. When we picked up our home recently, I used a full time agent with years of experience, etc. He found bigger clients and so we got less than part time service. We ended up using another one and he was so busy that once we had a contract, I never heard from him unless I chased him down. I can’t help but think a part-time person who only had one or two clients wouldn’t provide better service than either of the two I worked with recently.

    Perhaps it’s not the part-time issue, but the level of commitment they can bring to the client? It may also have something to do with how they can apply their part-time work. For example, someone with an extremely flexible work schedule may be able to meet client needs as they arise and then go back to their other job. I would have been much happier with this approach that what I experienced!

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      AJ:
      It’s true, success doesn’t always mean focus towards customer service. Keeping in touch with the client is important, highly desired by clients, and sadly lacking from lots of agents across all success strata. However, even though they were ignoring you, they could have rearranged their schedule to handle an emergency or impending deadline that could have prevented your sale form falling through. Part-timers can’t leave their full-time job to handle a deadline or crisis and they can’t work on your sale during their working hours at their full-time job.

  • Bryan Grantham

    Ok…. so are you guys saying that only well off people that can save a years salary should get in the business? How did you all start then? What do you suggest a man do to ease into the business that doesn’t result in him quitting his current position and do admin work for a real estate company? The ultimate goal is to become a full time buying and selling agent. Why so discouraging? Good information regardless. This is definitely my passion. Any information you can provide as to how this transition to full time CAN work will be appreciated. By the way I am the security coordinator for Citibank. I’ve made several acquaintances in the banking industry that can be valuable in my transition.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Bryan:
      If you are wanting to get started full-time in real estate, I didn’t say save a year’s salary, the post says save 4-6 months. The reason you should save is because you’ll be converting to commission based pay and it takes a few months to get started and it may take a few months to sell your first house if you go full-time. If you don’t want to save money before going into real estate, you can work on a part-time basis assisting another agent with open houses, showings, etc. You can help other agents service their clients but I don’t think it’s fair to solely represent a client as their only agent. My previous comments explain my position on this so I will not restate for the sake of brevity. Assisting other agents or working as a member of a team to service other agent’s clients or the team’s clients gives you the freedom to live within your schedule, to learn from experienced agents, and the client benefits from having another agent to go to in the team.

      10 things you should do to start a SUCCESSFUL career in real estate:
      1. Join an agency that offers lots of education classes and take advantage of them
      2. Get a list of every agent and team in the office
      3. When you get MLS access, run stats on all agents and rank them
      4. Introduce yourself to the most successful agents and treat them to lunch ask if you can assist them and learn from them
      5. Join the best team possible even if they offer a horrible job assignment
      6. Learn from the best and volunteer as much as possible
      7. Determine if you want to be a buyer’s agent or listing agent and get accreditations that support that specialty
      8. Save all the money you can spare from your real estate commission shares to save up for the leap to full-time agent status
      9. Strive to win awards and recognition and use them to promote you
      10. Set and start working toward a goal of working solo, starting a new team or gaining rank in your current team

      Good luck and I wish you the best success possible.

  • Erich

    Bill

    I have bought two homes and sold one home in the last 7 years. The first purchase and sale, I used an agent, the second purchase was for “sale by owner” without an agent.

    I do not believe the agents brought ANY value added to the purchase or sale of my homes. They simply walked the paperwork back and forth from the title/escrow company. They insulated the seller/buyers from each other and prevented face to face negotiations to take place. Finally, my biggest annoyance is the bottom line purchase/sale price of the home was impacted by 5% to cover the seller/purchasing real estate agent fees.

    I was amazed at how easy it was to work directly with the title/escrow company. In retrospect it is extremely frustrating to crunch the numbers and find out that the real estate agents made more money in the purchase and sale of my first house than me as the owner who put up the capital and purchased/maintained the home for years.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Erich:
      Think of real estate agents as restaurants. Yes, you can cook your own meals, but restaurants provide convenience and give you the ability to taste foods that are more complicated to prepare than you are capable of. When transactions are easy, real estate agents don’t have as much value as when transactions are hard. They do protect you from liability issues and discover potential problems in homes you want to buy before they become your problems. Good agents are valuable, bad agents, or order-taker agents are not.

      One of the biggest problems with the value of a real estate agent is that we give so much of our value away to the client for free as a way to attract the buyer/seller to use us that when it comes time to show what we did to earn your commission, we’re left with very little to justify. It’s all valuable but when you give it away, it cheapens it.

      While I am sorry you didn’t get as much as you wanted for the sale of your house, your argument of paying the agent resulted in you earning less than you expected isn’t true. I’m writing this reply in haste as I have an appointment to go to shortly so maybe I missed something while reading. The commission was the only set thing that didn’t effect the price. Maybe it was the market price drop that affected your lack of profits, maybe you over-improved your home making it more expensive than it could be sold for. There are a number of reasons that directly affected the price. The commission paid isn’t one of them. The agent certainly wanted to get you as much as he/she could for the house. Their services do have value, even though everyone hates paying it.

  • Jason

    I’m trying to understand what’s so bad about a part time realtor vs a full time realtor. A full time realtor strongly desires a sale to occur, otherwise no sale = no income. A part timer working with a buyer to select a home HAS an income and there’s no pressure to make a sale. Seems like the part timer has the clients best interest in mind more than a full time one. The full timers I worked with when looking for a home were like snakes. They’d say anything to get us to say “let’s make an offer” one realtor, when we said the price was too high so we will make a lower offer, said “the price of the home doesn’t matter, the interest rate is most important.” Other realtors became too chummy with me during open house visits. It’s was obvious they were like vultures waiting for a wallet to walk in the door.
    So do you really think its correct to knock part time realtors? They can give full service to clients who are working full time looking for a home, without pressure to make a purchase. So I’m thinking your “analysis” of the value part time realtors bring is severely flawed.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Jason:
      Thanks for commenting. My perspective is based from the point of view of the client getting their money’s worth. They’re essentially paying full-time commissions for part-time work.

      If an agent pushes a buyer into buying into a home that might not be a good fit just to make a sale in order to get paid, they are violating the Realtor’s Code of Ethics and should be reported to the Board of Realtors and the State Licensing Board because it’s against the laws of Agency. That’s more of a good agent / bad agent debate and not a part of the full-time / part-time topic.

      Smothering you at an open house or following you around like a lost puppy is not a sign of being overly motivated, it’s just a sign that they’re a bad salesperson. If they’re that bad, they’ll be part-time eventually or starve. Please don’t confuse highly-motivated with desperate. I’ll agree with you 100% that you don’t want a desperate agent, but if they could sell houses and please their clients, they probably wouldn’t become desperate.

      While having additional income could make an agent more relaxed or less eager to sell a home, I don’t think that makes them a better agent. All buyers want agents that help buyers buy houses and all sellers want agents that sell houses. Nobody I know ever complained that their agent was too motivated. Lack of motivation also leads to not promptly returning phone calls, letting details slip by unnoticed, deadlines being missed, etc.

  • Anil Khanna

    As a part time agent and full time CPA, I have to disagree with some of these comments. Since getting into the business just under two years ago and having closed 10 transactions, I have only gotten praised for my responsiveness, negotiation skills, and financial advise that I provide related to home buying and selling. All agents have schedules related to family or other clients. They cannot be expected to be available 24/7 just as part time agents should not be expected. I think part time agents have less motivation to pressure buyers into closing deals and thus come off as less pushy. Clients appreciate this aspect as this is what my past clients have told me. I think a part time agent is just as effective as any full time agent and this whole discussion about which one is “better” makes no sense to me.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Anil:
      I’m sure you have lots of financial advice and expertise as a CPA. I bet that’s a combination that comes in handy and really separates you from the pack. While I agree agents can’t be expected to be available 24/7, they are expected to be flexible. I bet as a CPA, you’re not that flexible during tax season.

      Motivation is a tricky thing. More motivation with the right agent can make them work harder and smarter while more motivation with the wrong agent just makes them desperate, pushy and sloppy. Less motivation could swing in both good and bad ways too. Depends on the person.

      • Anil Khanna CPA/ Realtor

        I agree with you that motivation and hard work are what differentiates a good agent vs a bad agent rather than full time vs part time. Fortunately as an IRS agent, I am able to service real estate clients even during tax season as we are not effected by the filing season. I think if I were working more than a 40 hr week as a practicing CPA, my service to my real estate clients would definitely be less during tax season.

  • David Mars

    “[F]ull-time commissions for part-time work” is just plain nonsense. You’re paying a fee for the end result – selling a property. How many hours it takes is irrelevant.

    By your logic, a well-connected agent with an active buyers list who sells a property for 10% over asking price and gets an accepted offer in one day, is worth less than the agent who puts an over-priced listing in the MLS, shows it 30 times and finally beats the owner down to 10% below asking price on day 89.

    First of all, 80% of “full-time” agents are non-producers, content to show up at a job every day for $50k/year or less. Honestly, their “full-time effort” isn’t worth all that much, is it?

    Second, no agent puts “full-time” effort into selling a house. What you do full time is work as many deals as you possibly can in the hours you put in. Therefore, no client ever gets your full time effort. (Unless you sell ultra high-end)

    I think, Bill, that the definition of “part-time” has changed over the years. We used to think about someone who works all day as a teacher or whatever and can only touch their Real Estate activities on nights and weekends. In that scenario, I’d agree that’s an agent who will need support for a 2pm weekday showing.

    But in today’s world of cross-linked technology I can do 75% of my work from my phone/laptop at odd hours and in 1/10 the time it took 15 years ago.

    I don’t think full-vs part-time is the issue; efficiency and knowledge might be.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      David:
      I’ll agree that the definition of part-time has changed, but flexibility during regular working hours hasn’t. I don’t have as much of a problem with teachers spending 3 months as a full-time buyer’s agent and 9 months as a teacher as I do with an employee that works 40 hours a week at a regular job with no flexibility.

      I also agree with you 100% that most agents are horrible but that’s based on the fact that they’re simply incompetent or lazy. While you are paying a fee for the end result, those results aren’t just a sold sign in the front yard, it’s also an agent rearranging their schedule to handle any situation that may come up at any time that may prevent a sale from occurring.

      By your logic, a well-connected agent with an active buyers list who sells a property for 10% over asking price and gets an accepted offer in one day, is worth less than the agent who puts an over-priced listing in the MLS, shows it 30 times and finally beats the owner down to 10% below asking price on day 89.

      Not true. By my logic, having the whole day to devote to the real estate industry makes the agent a “well-connected agent with an active buyers list.” You can’t do something like that without serious full-time effort. No agent devotes their full-time to one client, but full-time agents spend more time cultivating education, connections, and experience. You can’t do that “working for the man” pounding away at the factory during the day. Full-time agents cultivate their buyer lists, learn new house-selling skills, stay current with trends, opportunities, and techniques.

      While I agree that efficiency and knowledge is the key to the selling game, you also need to have a flexible schedule to meet client demands. Yes, you can send emails out at 3:00 in the morning, but you can’t meet an appraiser, inspector, contractor, or buyer at your client’s house at 3:00 in the morning, nor can you attend a closing during non-banking hours.

      I’d suggest that flexibility is just as crucial as efficiency and knowledge. Full-timers have a better chance of achieving all three.

  • Soop

    Everyone,

    I think Bill Petrey is being as transparent as possible without bagging on any of you. I, myself, was thinking of doing this part time until I can make the money needed to leave my day job. However, after talking with reputable Realtors, there is no way (none) a part timer can do the job to the satisfaction of the customer, unless you live in a place where time does not matter.
    I say this because I just sold my house and used an agent and the amount of time, hand holding, ect… was unbelievable. I now can see how this is definitely only a full time job for the first several years. If you want part time, then do it for 5-7 years and start your own brokerage company and hire everyone out. Even then you will be super busy, but those are the breaks.
    Could a part time be successful, party yes and partly no. Partly yes because one deal may go right as it does not require all your time. Partly no because you are at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.
    If you all think part time is the way to go, then tell your client up front your hours of operation see what they say.

    I am going full time in February after all my family budget is in line for a 6-8 month emergency fund and will work my ass off to learn the business the right way.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Thanks for your insight. I appreciate your bringing another perspective to the discussion, especially when it supports my position. Actually you can do real estate part-time if you work as support staff for a full-time agent. There are lots of client-support/agent-support tasks that you can assist an agent with for their clients. You can assist an agent with open houses, stocking literature in homes and sign boxes, you can even show a client houses for their agent or attend a showing on behalf of the listing client’s agent that you are assisting. You can even meet with inspectors, appraisers, etc. The only thing you can’t do part-time is manage and coordinate all these activities as the main source of representation to the client.

      By assisting an agent, you can gain all the experience needed while maintaining job security in your current profession. Just don’t directly represent a client.

  • Future Agent in NYC

    As an aspiring agent I have struggled with the reality of leaving my FT job for unknown world of commission based compensation. I think you offer valuable insight. If selling ‘RE part-time was so easy everyone would do it. I’ve also asked myself, what if the client wants to meet me @3pm when I’m at my job? I can’t imagine that going over well. I think I will heed your advice and look for PT work with an agent and learn as I earn and build up my savings. It can’t hurt me in the long run.

  • Future NYC RE

    I appreciate your point of view and you definitely make many valid points. For many years I have contemplated selling RE part-time. I currently work full-time and the thought of giving up my steady income for commission based compensation is daunting. That is honestly what has stopped me. Besides if being an PT agent was so easy, then why aren’t more people doing it? If I’m being honest, as a seller how would I feel being turned down by an agent who couldn’t meet due to their “other job”? I don’t think I would appreciate it. So this post is forcing me to take a realistic look at my options. I think I will take your advice and work with a realtor part-time (doing open houses etc.) is a great way to learn and earn. That way I build up my savings and networks.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      First of all, welcome to the world of Real Estate and best of luck with your new career. By assisting experts, you’ll also gain from their vast amounts of experience. Just make sure that you only work with the top-sellers in your office. You don’t want to waste your time learning from someone who doesn’t have much to teach. Besides open houses, you will also be able to assist in showings, closings, marketing, and most of the other functions to gain experience beneficial to your career. You’ll get a great head start for when you do decide to go solo or work for a team full-time.

  • new to real estate

    Here is a silly question, but what makes an agent part-time versus full-time? Is it the amount of homes they list at a certain time or how often they are in the office? Is it the amount of hours they say they are available to work each week? Do they need to publically say they are part-time or full-time?

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Megan:
      Not a silly question at all. Typically it’s based on the number of hours worked each week. Part-time is considered to be less than 35 hours per week according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Jay P. "Part Time" Licensee

    Mr. Petrey,
    You have a lot of good points when you address the “Part Time” activities in Real Estate. I don’t agree with your agressive approach discouraging “Part Timers” since you do not know everyone’s situation.
    For instance, I can only speak for my case; I’m working with a Broker as a “Part Timer” transitioning to full time; I have a family to support so I need to keep my full time job for now, which at the same time pays for my expenses in the Real Estate activities; however I still schedule myself for trainings and seminars.
    I normally work representing buyers, who are working people with a 9 to 5 job, so they are only available to see properties after hours and weekends.
    I get referrals from previous sastified clients, I don’t advertise since I only work with no more than 2 buyers at a time; to your point, I can not dedicate a Full Time and I won’t be doing any good to my clients nor my reputation. One important point that I feel it is crucial when working part time is that I disclose to my clients that this is my second job.
    Mr. Petrey, I respect your position on the subject of Part Time, I also believe is good business for you, since you are the “President of AgentHarvest, a free real estate agent finder service, specializing in connecting home owners and buyers with top performing real estate agents that have a track record” but I also have a question for someone that criticizes “Part Timers”; how have you been able to become so successful with your company and still have been able to manage other business activities such as; consulting for CertiTech Solutions, and serving on the board of directors of two Arkansas corporations while been able to hold fifteen IT industry technical certifications from Microsoft, Novell CompTIA and Cisco, including Microsoft’s MCSE, Cisco’s CCNA, IT Project+ and Novell’s Master CNE certification; and last but not least you are also a licensed Realtor in the state of Texas; correct?
    Don’t get me wrong; I admire your success; it is just to show that if one is determined on a goal, works hard, is honest and can plan and manage multiple activities it can be done effectively. Not everyone has the gift of accomplishing it but it can be done.
    Good article!

    Thanks

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Jay:
      Wow, you do your homework. You forgot to mention my favorite color. I’m not against doing multiple things. Obviously I’ve certainly multi-tasked over the years. How was I able to do it you ask? Either the occupations or achievements were not overlapping, or are run with the help of employees!!! However, I’ve never multi-tasked at the expense of the client. I’m not against part-time real estate. I believe there are things you can do in the industry that conform to your part-time schedule, that are not to the detriment to the client.

      I’m glad you explain everything to the client about your limitations. Do you also discount your fee?

      I disagree that it’s different in every situation. It’s not. It’s exactly the same. The client doesn’t care what you’re doing when you’re not an agent so justifications, excuses and personal situations do not matter. The constant is a part-timer spends less time in real estate than a full-timer while charging full-time rates. In your non-real estate career, are the repercussions of missing a deadline different from missing a deadline but having a good excuse? Never worked for me in college. In your real-estate career, the client is your boss. Excuses are nothing but justifications for failure.

  • New Home Salesman

    I just wanted to say that I also believe you have some valid points as well as some points I myself find not to be not so true in many cases. I again will agree with the general consensus and say that it ultimately comes down to the individual and what they put into it. That is afterall the biggest part of this business, getting out what you put in. With all that said I wanted to recommend an alternative route to starting in this business, new home sales. In most states there are multiple building companies that hire sales agents fresh out of school. In many instances they will pay you a base salary while offering valuable and structured training programs. You will usually assist and learn from a sales agent who has been in the business for a while before being given your own site to sale. At this point you typically will go to commission based pay. You will most likely work in a model home and and show clients different floor plans, upgrades, lots, etc… This may be an option to consider if you want a “safer and more stable” option starting off in this business. You will also get to meet a lot of agents in the area who bring clients to your neighborhood. Again this is just another option to consider within the business.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      New Home Salesman:
      Great alternative. Thanks for sharing. It’s a great way to get started. You’ll learn a lot especially if it’s new-construction. New-construction is harder because you sell a lot and then help the clients assemble a home from available packages and options. If you master new-construction sales, then you’ll gain a greater understanding of homes and construction that you can pass on to your clients.

  • Daniela

    Bill -please get back to work -your clients are waiting…for someone that promotes this view point, you sure have a lot of time to goof off online.

  • Sales Person of Next Year

    I have sold over six homes and two of them on my own. I have worked with four realtors. They were all full time, I was only impressed with one. Full time is not needed as much as availability and that can be accomplished by working as a team. I just got my license and plan on becoming full time within three years. Being part time has no bearing on my intelligence or dedication. If time is an issue, my associate will step in,just like the full time salesperson used for my home! The fact that too many people have their licenses is due to the level of intelligence and dedication needed to get it.I have seen fantastic part time and horrible full time employees in a variety of areas. You are making a small point of time over ride the more important points of being a strong agent. I have seen many lazy full time workers and many energetic part time people. You have made this argument to shallow and black and white.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Being part time has no bearing on my intelligence or dedication.

      The same can be said about full-time agents. I’ve never said that all you have to do to be successful is work full-time. It looks like you’ve found a great alternative to full-time that is beneficial to the client. Like I said before, there are ways part-timers can do it without sacrificing service to the client. Distributing the work among a team is certainly one way.

      Yes, it’s way too easy to become an agent. The classes should be harder and there should be some sort of apprenticeship involved. A college degree or associates degree should be a prerequisite. Maybe even a requirement of assisting an agent with 10 transactions from start to finish. Unfortunately licensing and membership are revenue generating so the more licenses the state can issue, the more money they can make. The same goes for membership into the National Association of Realtors.

      By the way, I hope you do become next year’s salesperson of the year!! Best of luck on your new career.

  • David

    I have read many of the comments as well as your responses. It is pretty obvious that you have something against part time agents. I have worked as both a part time and full time agent. My dedication to my clients never changed in either capacity. It is all about the agents professionalism, education and willingness to go the extra mile. I have met many full time agents who were horrible. Bottom line if you have a part time agent who is dedicated and does not over extend themselves they are just as good if not better than a fill timer

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      David:
      It’s not that I have something against part-time agents, I just have something against people misleading clients that there’s no difference in service between a full-time agent and part-time agent. If a part-timer spends 40 hours a week doing another job, and only devoting weekends to real estate, they shouldn’t promise their clients that they will be able to provide their clients the same level of service and flexibility that someone who spends all their working hours in real estate. Too many problems come up during the process that an agent has to drop everything to handle. Part-timers don’t have this flexibility.

  • Bill, your commentary is consistently accurate throughout. I am a full-time broker and also volunteer with my state’s Association of Realtors’ Professional Standards Committee, and with the state’s department of real estate in handling problems. Part-time agents don’t know what they don’t know because they do not have or have not taken (or will not take) the time to find out what is involved in real estate. Sadly, many “full-time” agents are equally ignorant. The industry suffers from this negative-clown perception.
    Fact: real estate agents are FIDUCIARIES and, as such, are interestingly susceptible to civil law in addition to NAR/state associations’ rules/regulations.
    We find that those involved in “issues” have no clue as to what a fiduciary is or their (the agent’s) obligations and responsibilities under fiduciary law. Want to be a part-timer? This is a not-so-smart decision given the liability aspect. Any professional real estate broker would not hire a part-timer because not only is their E&O insurance at high risk with the antics of the typical part time agent, but also the brokerage reputation is at stake in the market place where the broker is trying to make his living. Why? Anyone who thinks s/he is going jump into real estate and quickly make sufficient income to live from doing real estate part time is amazingly foolish and naive. When the income does not magically appear…and begin to offset the expenses in dollars and time already invested, then the desperation sets in, and then there is a stunning willingness to cut corners, “puff the goods” (aka lie), and take on the “Trust me, it’ll work out!” attitude. Real estate is a profession; not a hobby. An agent is handling/guiding someone else’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in to or out of a property. The agent becomes very, very personally responsible for what happens to that other person’s money (“fiduciary relationship” with client). Real estate is a career; not a lifestyle. It is serious; it has serious consequences for incompetence. It is possibly the only job where NO other person makes all the decisions for you the agent, how much you will earn, how you will spend your time, or what your focus will be. The income potential is unlimited–but depends solely on the agent. And this is precisely WHY there is such a high failure rate in real estate (estimated at 70% plus turnover annually). The vast majority of real estate agents can not handle the responsibility for themselves…let alone someone else’s money and assets.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Mike:
      Great points. Thanks for your input. I couldn’t agree more. However, don’t count part-timers out completely. There are support roles that they can fulfill as long as they’re trained. They can work with a full-time agent’s client by hosting open houses, or can help an agent show his/her buyer homes. They can also attend inspections and appraisals. However, what they can’t do is fully represent a client but I don’t have a problem with them assisting another agent with a client the other agent represents.

      Regarding your comment about many “full-time” agents being equally ignorant. Sadly yes we will maintain that “negative-clown perception” as long as it’s so easy to get a license. I think there should be an apprenticeship period required in order to get licensed and that period should include a time-frame, number of houses they assisted an agent to sell, buy, and lease. That would weed out the hobbyists and force a higher level of training. Sadly this will never happen because licensing is seen as an income stream rather than a measure of competence. NAR wants as many members as they can get because they want revenue, and state licensing boards like money coming in too.

      I would like to see a “Super Agent” classification, something beyond agent or Realtor based solely on skills and ability, like an elite club of super-sellers. To a lesser extent, that’s what we’re trying to do here at AgentHarvest with The AgentHarvest Top 3.

  • Josh

    Off topic, but I think it’s pretty cool that this thread has gone on for almost 3 years. Whether you agree or disagree with what’s being said this is obviously a point worth discussing. Bill, thanks for creating a forum for great conversation.

    My $.02, I’m a full-time executive who loves real estate. I’m looking to get my license in the next 12 months and learn the business slowly. If it becomes something I feel I can make a good living doing, I would love to get my brokers license and do real estate full time. I don’t think there is any other way for me than to do that on the side. My takeaway, as long as the client does not suffer than this is doable. If at any point my client(s) suffers because I’m trying to balance their needs with my own, then I need to reassess.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Josh:
      That’s correct. You’ve summed up 3 years worth of my comments nicely. One way you could do it is by acting as a supporting agent for an agent that is representing a client. However, I wouldn’t start out of the gate with a broker’s license. You won’t be ready to run your own shop for a few years until you can make it as a licensed agent salesperson, licensed under another broker. You’ll need their guidance and legal experience before you hang your broker sign out in the market. Plus, working under a broker for a few years as a full-time agent can really save you from doing something really stupid or legally dangerous to both you and your client. Plus, if you go with a good agency, you’ll be able to take advantage of lots of training classes and be able to make a lot of good contacts with successful agents that you can learn from.

  • Marc A. Donald

    Nice tips, but what I think the most important is that since the biggest financial move in your life is buying or selling a property, So you need to find some time to interview at least 3 agents before choosing one to deal with. Choose someone who’s familiar with the area you want to buy/sell your property in, also a good real estate agent should be aware of other technicalities such as inspection, negotiation. What really matters before all this that you need to be comfortable dealing with this agent.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Marc:
      All of this is important, but they also need to have a good sales track record, not just in your area, but in their entire coverage zone. But yes, don’t undervalue the fact that you have to work well with them because you’ll be working closely with them for a few months.

  • Marjorie Seward

    I never respond to such comments, but today I am compelled to do so because I beg a difference of opinion. I totally disagree that part-time agents cannot be as professional or effective in servicing their clients as full time agents. It depends on the individual agent and their level of commitment. After all is said and done its an independent business and, as business owners, even full time agents choose the hours they want to be available to clients. I have been a Realtor for nearly 30 years and most of that time has been part time due to circumstances of a single parent. But, what I really want to say is that I don’t have to pressure my clients to make decisions they are not ready to make all because my mortgage is due. Pressure tactics are eliminated when you work with a part time agent. We really do care about the client and are not so focused on our own financial situation.

  • BostonDMC

    This is nothing more than full time agents trying to protect their market from competition. It’s a completely fabricated attack to raise their own “stock” and decrease that of part time agents who are likely just as good at representing customers. Pretty slimy move, actually.

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Sure, a part-time agent can give the same service as a full-time agent, but they can only do it when they’re not at their other job or career. Service isn’t just about quality, it’s also quantity and availability. That’s where part-timers fall short. The slimy move is to charge the full commission when you’re only available part of the time and misleading the client to think there is no real difference between the two.

  • mohamed

    What good is a lousy FT agent compared to bright/smart PT agent who can get things done efficiently. It’s all about how he/she runs his/her business…

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Mohamed:
      A lousy agent is a lousy agent no matter how many hours they work. That’s not the point. I agree, it is about how you run your business and your devotion to it. However, part-time devotion is just part-time devotion. It’s my opinion that part-time businesses aren’t taken as seriously by the business owner as full-time businesses. They have to devote an equal amount, or more of their energy to their other occupation, especially if that occupation is their main source of income. Also serving the real estate client has a lot to do with having the freedom to serve them when needed, not when time is available. A bad agent is a bad agent, no matter how much time they waste. For some, it really is a waste of time. That much we can definitely agree.

  • Ryan

    Bill.
    You make some good points, but I also find you svery condescending. I am a part time realtor, trying to establish myself in the business. I have a ‘full time job’ that allows me enough flexibility to be available at all times for my clients within reason. I find it pretty humorous that you have enough time to sit here and reply to every person who posts. Shouldn’t you be showing your listings?

    • Bill Petrey, Realtor

      Ryan:
      I really wasn’t trying to sound condescending, just faithful to the consumer’s best interests. Congrats on your new real estate career. I wish you much success and hope you can find it rewarding enough to develop into a full-time career. Yes, writing articles and responses do take up a lot of time. However, I don’t take listings anymore since I’ve started AgentHarvest. If I continued to practice real estate while working at AgentHarvest, I’d be a part-time agent. I couldn’t do that to my clients. Maybe it’s the decision to stop servicing real estate clients as an agent to work at AgentHarvest that allows me to be resolute and steadfast in my opinion of part-time agents.

Leave a Reply