Oftentimes, when speaking about real estate agents, the initial thought goes to individuals who help consumers buy, sell, rent or invest in real estate as their full-time career. However, while the number is unknown, a significant portion of the agent population works in real estate part-time.
Who are they, and why did they choose to pursue multiple careers?
Some of these agents work gig-economy style, dipping their toes into several side jobs as independent contractors, while others balance two major careers. Often, the skillsets used in the other career become valuable in their real estate roles. The motivations and end goals of these individuals run the gamut from wanting to reach full-time agent status, wanting to balance two or more careers and wanting to wait and see where the road takes them.
These are their stories.
An agent with Home Experts Realty in Ohio, Heather Christine has worked in real estate for four years, closing six transactions in the last year while also juggling a career as a virtual assistant (VA) and social media manager. Her real estate career typically accounts for 5-10 hours of her week, while her VA role requires much more, at about 30-35 hours.
While Christine wants to continue balancing both careers, she does recognize that her jobs can bleed into her personal time and has, as a result, taken steps to protect that time as much as possible. The biggest bonus for Christine? Being able to stay home with her children while still providing income, she says.
“I create hours that let me work my business around my life schedule,” says Christine. “There haven’t been challenges between the two yet, but I am sure something will arise. The greatest opportunity is the ability to network with clients and other agents from real estate that could benefit from my VA business.”
A to Z Realty
Osi Rosenberg is broker/owner of A to Z Realty, LLC in Connecticut. Starting as a real estate paralegal in 2006, Rosenberg earned her real estate salesperson license in 2015 and her broker’s license in 2017. Last year, she closed 11 transactions as a referral-based business. At the same time, Rosenberg works as a full-time office manager for the law firm of Rosenberg, Whewell & Hite, LLC.
“My goal is to keep a life balance and diversify my time,” says Rosenberg, who adds that she doesn’t ever sacrifice family time. “I love working at the law firm as I believe we are able to contribute positively to people’s lives, and I enjoy working with the attorneys and staff. I absolutely love doing real estate as well. It offers the opportunity to help people through a very difficult transition. There is no greater pleasure than seeing a buyer find their next home or helping a seller move on to their next adventure. It is part of who I am to guide people through these transitions.”
The law firm typically accounts for 40 hours per week, while her real estate career often takes up 20 hours.
“I have flexibility and understanding at the law firm to be able to maneuver my schedule as needed to best serve my real estate clients,” says Rosenberg.
One of Rosenberg’s top priorities? Achieving balance while diversifying her income streams and having a household of independent income earners. Although it can be challenging and a drain on mental resources, Rosenberg says her career path affords her the opportunity of having a secure income so her family can enjoy life and save for retirement and the unexpected.
“I am always working towards a net life,” she says. “That means that I live my life to its fullest every day and build into my life things I enjoy. To do that, time management is everything. Everyone gets the same 1,440 minutes in each day. How we choose to spend those minutes is what makes all the difference in the world.”
Mark Dimas Properties
Nick Hernandez is a REALTOR® with Mark Dimas Properties in Cypress, Texas. He’s worked in the industry for 13 years, with real estate taking up about 10 or more hours of his work week. While he’s transitioning to be a full-time agent, Hernandez simultaneously works in REO asset management, which takes up 50-plus hours of his week.
“I struggle to maintain both,” says Hernandez, who has had to make many sacrifices. “Asset management is paying the bills, while real estate helps supplement.”
For Hernandez, real estate was a part of growing up—it’s the family business. He was accustomed to seeing a lot of houses, and says he loves helping people achieve their purchase goals while helping them build wealth.
Last year, Hernandez closed six transactions, working many Saturday and Sundays to get there. Although one career certainly helps the other in this case, there are challenges maintaining both, he says.
“REO asset management has brought me a lot of knowledge about the servicing side of real estate, along with origination,” says Hernandez. “These two intermingle, but asset management is such a stressful and time-consuming job that I can’t let days slide to always try and expand my real estate business.”
Douglas E. McQueen
Judy Boone Realty INC.
Investing in real estate for the better part of a decade, Douglas E. McQueen is a REALTOR® with Judy Boone Realty INC. in Norfolk, Va. He’s been an active salesperson for a little under two years, closing three transactions this past year. McQueen is also juggling a career in the United States Navy as a senior chief petty officer.
“My active duty career typically accounts for 40 hours a week,” says McQueen. “I am able, however, to double-dip most days. I spend anywhere from 20-30 hours a week in real estate.”
Deployment, however, poses an added challenge, as he’s taken away from the area for weeks or months on end. During this time, he says, he continues working on his real estate career, either through continuing education or other facets of the job. But his military background also brings opportunity.
“I deal primarily with military members as a REALTOR®, so most times I know my clients personally and it all works out,” says McQueen. “The greatest hurdle for me is not so much personal time, but being able to schedule around deadlines in both the real estate world and the military. Both fields have pretty strict timelines and deadlines that must be adhered to.”
While in service, McQueen will continue to balance the two careers. Upon retirement from the Navy, however, he plans to focus full-time on real estate, both as an agent and an investor. In the meantime, he enjoys the value each role provides.
“The opportunities are vast; financial freedom and being able to help are the biggest,” says McQueen. “The job I do in the military is closely aligned with the job I do as a REALTOR®. Both careers are essentially, at their core, problem solvers—being able to come up with solutions that work best for all involved, quickly. The military set me up pretty well for real estate and has given me a pretty wide network, not only of potential leads but, more importantly, a vast array of mentors, many who made the transition and are willing to help however they can.”
Skylar Smith, a REALTOR® with Higgins Group in Connecticut, has been working in real estate for 14 months. The role typically takes 5-10 hours of his work week, and he closed eight transactions in his first year. While his plan is to become a full-time agent, Smith is currently also working as a television editor. He only works in real estate during his free time, and is driven by the motivation to learn and help people find homes.
The time commitment for both jobs, however, currently weighs heavily against his personal time.
“It does get a little crazy when I have a lot of homes under contract at one time while balancing my other full-time job. My first full year in real estate was bad for my golf game,” says Smith. “I did not have nearly enough time on the weekend to get as many rounds in. I hope to balance that out more this year.”
His choice to balance two careers is strategic.
“I want to learn so that I am not green when I retire someday and I won’t have to start from scratch,” says Smith. “I will have lots of part-time years under my belt at that point.”
Southern Group Realty, LLC
A REALTOR® with Southern Group Realty, LLC in Rome, Ga., Aaron Turner has been surrounded by real estate almost his entire life but only recently decided to pursue his salesperson license.
“Professionally, I worked at the local tax commissioner’s office and personally, my family had a company where they owned rental homes, flipped homes, etc.,” says Turner. “Since I am new, I haven’t closed any transactions yet, but I am currently showing and speaking with four homebuyers, so my hope is that I can close at least one in the next 30-60 days.”
Between lead-generating, showings and social media management, the real estate side currently takes up about 20 hours of his week. As a full-time job, taking up 40-45 hours weekly, Turner is a credit manager—a career he’s built up over 20 years. The plan is to transition to real estate full-time if he’s able to.
“I would love to eventually transition to a full-time agent; however, there are so many agents out there and getting leads can be difficult and expensive,” says Turner. “For now, I will continue part-time until I can afford to go full-time…but that may never happen, honestly.”
Turner does see challenges down the road as he tries to balance the two careers, such as being able to answer leads promptly or setting up showings during business hours for his primary job.
“A lot of times, leads received during the week also want to set up showings during the day and this isn’t possible with my current position,” says Turner. “But continuing to maintain my full-time career enables me the opportunity to move up and potentially make more money so that I can eventually leave my career to focus solely on real estate.”
Part-time agents, what careers are you juggling and what are your business goals?
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.