Pros and Cons of Having a Real Estate Agent Side HustleKey Real Estate Resources


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Is a real estate agent side hustle worth the time and effort?

Let’s be real. Real estate is a full-time gig. It takes a few tricks to be a successful part-time agent. So is a side hustle even a good idea for real estate agents?

In today’s post, we’re looking at the reality of having a real estate agent side hustle.

A quick caveat before we start:

We’re not interested in all side hustles. To even be considered as an appropriate real estate agent side hustle, your hustle needs to meet the following criteria:

  1. Serve your target real estate demographic: Ideally, your hustle should complement your real estate business so you can cross-promote your services and win more clients.
  2. Diversify your income: no sense in hustling if all your eggs are going to be in one basket.
  3. Quick to launch: You want your new hustle up and running in 2 weeks.
  4. Inexpensive: Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup is a great resource for anyone looking to launch on a shoestring budget.
  5. Manageable: Your hustle needs to fit into your life without consuming you.

You might be thinking what side hustle meets those 5 criteria? Don’t worry, we’ll discuss several examples in this post.

So let’s dive in!

Note: this post was originally published in 2019. Here is the new, improved version. 

The Pros of Having a Real Estate Agent Side Hustle

There are lots of pros to having a real estate agent side hustle. Here are our top pros:

1. Provide Valuable Services to Your Real Estate Clients and Prospects

Your clients and prospects come first. Helping people was probably a big part of the reason you chose a career in real estate in the first place. I can guarantee that your hustle will provide value to your clients and prospects. I know this for a fact because your clients and prospects wouldn’t pay for a service that didn’t benefit them!

Credit repair assistance is a perfect example of a client-first side hustle. How many times have you had to turn away buyers because their bad credit prevents them from qualifying for a mortgage? Instead of sending them away, charge a fee to help them repair their credit. And make a commission on the eventual purchase! Everyone wins.

2. Recession-Proof Your Real Estate Business

What’s your plan for the next market downturn? How are you going to stay in business when your colleagues start dropping like flies?

Strategic side hustles are my favorite way to recession-proof your real estate business. And property tax appeals are my favorite recession-proofing hustle.

Property tax appeals sound like something only an accountant should handle, right? But it’s actually got far more to do with property valuations than straight-up accounting. I worked in the property tax industry for about 5 years, and I’m telling you: real estate agents make perfect property tax agents. All you really have to do is use a CMA to show your taxing authority that the market value of your client’s home is worth less than the taxing authority assumed.

In a declining market, tons of homes are over-valued for taxing purposes because the taxing authority incorrectly raises values when the values are actually dipping. And the timing is perfect because real estate sales naturally slow in a declining market. So when your real estate sales slow, your property tax appeals pick up, and vice versa.

Don’t be a casualty of the next recession. Take a little time to learn how to make money with property tax appeals now and be ready to capitalize on the next market downturn.

3. Smooth Out Your Commission-Only Income

Feast or famine, right? Living the commission-only lifestyle isn’t easy.

The income from a steady side hustle can make your life so much easier!

One hustle that fits seamlessly into your real estate business is blogging.

According to Demand Metric, blog content costs 62% less than traditional marketing, but generates 3x more leads! How is that possible?! Well, first, blogging consistently over time shows Google that your site is up-to-date and relevant, so Google will rank you higher in search results, helping buyers and sellers find you online. Then you’re able to show off your expertise and earn trust before you ever even talk to these prospects one-on-one. Blog posts also provide great social media content (simply share your blog posts on all your platforms) and give your prospects a no-pressure way to ask their real estate questions.

So blogging should already be a big part of your marketing plan. Why not turn your blog into its own income stream?

In How to Make Money Blogging About Real Estate, we cover blogging income streams like ads, affiliate income, subscriptions, and sponsored content.

You won’t get rich with these blog-based income streams (although you might get rich from the leads your blog generates!), but if you’re blogging for leads anyway, it will only take a few more minutes per week to turn that blog into a couple hundred dollars per month.

4. Cross-Promote Your Services to Boost Both Incomes

As mentioned earlier, a good real estate agent side hustle compliments your real estate business. You want to be able to generate new real estate leads from your side hustle and use your side hustle to serve your existing clients.

New home photoshoots are a prime example.

The next generation of buyers wants to share their big life events (engagement, wedding, pregnancy, new baby, etc) with their social media followers. And an event as big as a new home requires professional photos, perfect for sharing.

So make some money on the side by offering new home photoshoots. You can do the shoots yourself if you have the technical and artistic know-how. Or partner with a professional photographer. You can either pay the photographer a flat rate, keeping a cut for yourself as the business owner, or work out some kind of profit share agreement with the photographer.

Just ask your photography clients to tag you in their posts on social media. Ta-da! Tons of free publicity for you as a real estate agent and for the photography branch of your business.

5. Gain Financial Independence

Financial independence is the ultimate financial goal for most of us, right?

You don’t necessarily need to be rich, but you want to have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life. You want the freedom to take vacations from your real estate business. Or to retire. Or to launch your own brokerage. Without financial independence, you feel trapped. You work because you have to, not necessarily because you want to. But with financial independence, you get to work when you want, how you want, where you want. It’s a game-changer!

Passive income is the key to financial independence. You need to be able to make money while you sleep. Or while you lounge on the beach. Or while you focus on starting a charitable community organization.

Digital products (like eBooks, online courses, and printable templates) are my favorite source of passive income for real estate agents. You invest the time in creating your digital asset once, then you automate your sales funnel to sell your digital assets over and over for years to come.

I’ll give you a real-world example. I recently launched my Etsy Shop, Key Real Estate Designs, to sell valuable but affordable templates to real estate professionals. Key Real Estate Designs offers business plan templates, done-for-you content calendars, ready-to-publish blog posts, and printable forms to help real estate agents build their businesses.

I invest a fair amount of time (but almost no money!) in creating digital products and listing them on Etsy. Then I sit back and watch as each item sells multiple times. As long as these items help real estate agents grow their business, they will continue to sell. And since Etsy handles the transaction and automatically delivers the products upon purchase, I can earn money round the clock no matter what I’m doing.

Need more passive income inspiration? Check out The Best Passive Income Ideas for Real Estate Agents.

Is a real estate agent side hustle right for you? Check out our pros and cons and decide for yourself! #realtorlife, real estate agent, part-time real estate agent, new real estate agent


The Cons of Having a Real Estate Agent Side Hustle

Naturally, a real estate side hustle isn’t 100% upside. There are a few cons to be aware of before you launch a hustle.

1. Time is Taken from Your Primary Real Estate Business

Yes, spending time on a side hustle means you have less time for your primary real estate business.

Many veteran agents insist that doubling down on your prospecting efforts is the only way to build a sustainable real estate business. And it’s worked for them.

But I would argue that there are many different paths to success. If your side hustle compliments your real estate business, why not invest some time in diversifying your real estate income? You’re still working on your business after all.

2. There Will Always Be a Startup Investment

Starting a side hustle is like launching a micro business. You can’t do that without an initial investment of time, money, or both.

Most agents I speak with want to limit the upfront monetary investment. They would rather invest their time. But if you have more money than you have time, almost everything can be outsourced! Hire a ghostwriter (like me!) to write your eBook or your blog posts, find a designer to create your digital products, or outsource your online course creation to a freelancer.

3. Burnout is a Real Thing

You can’t do everything. And if you can’t afford to outsource some of your side hustle tasks, launching a real estate agent side hustle may be too much for you to add to your plate right now.

If you burn yourself out, everything suffers: your business, your family, your friends, your health. Even if the burnout is only temporary, it may not be worth it.

Please, for the love of all that’s good and holy, don’t try to launch multiple side hustles at once. You’ll be too scattered and spread too thin to make any of your hustles work. To minimize the risk of burnout, focus on one hustle that will truly move the needle in your life. And if you need to wait until your seasonal slow season to get started, that’s fine. Work a side hustle into your life; don’t work your life around a side hustle.

The Verdict

You’ve probably correctly inferred by this point that I am seriously pro-hustle.

I know there are downsides, but the upsides far outweigh those downsides. As long as you choose your hustle wisely.

We covered a few examples of smart hustles in this post, but if you need more real estate agent side hustle ideas, check out our list of 25+ Side Hustles for Realtors®.

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