Before we dig into the best side hustles for real estate agents, I want to make sure that you really need a side hustle in the first place. Perhaps you should give this book a read and see if you can drum up a few sales first? The author is legit and the price is reasonable.
There’s no judgment here. Whatever you decide is cool with me. I know there can be some lean months when you’re getting started in the real estate business and a side hustle can help you pay some bills, appease your spouse, boost your confidence, etc.
Some of the best side hustles for real estate agents are obvious and others are more subtle. Because everyone in the world needs a place to live, the world is full of potential real estate clients.
The best side hustles for real estate agents combine immediate cash flow with the possibility of future real estate business. Double-dipping, so to speak.
Obvious Side Hustles For Real Estate Agents
This is an interesting one and it’s a nice way to stay involved in a real estate-related venture. Be careful, though. You could easily cross the line into property management territory. Many brokers don’t allow their agents to engage in property management due to the liability and insurance issues. Check with your broker first.
The general idea is that you find people who own properties and want to make them available for short-term rentals BUT they don’t want to manage the scheduling, cleaning, check-ins, check-outs, filing tax information with the city, etc. In exchange for managing the headaches, you charge the property owners a fee.
The added bonus with this one is that you could land some listings through this process. Many people offering their homes for short-term rentals live out of the area. If you’re the only agent in contact with them on a regular basis and you do great work, you win.
Real estate photography would be best, but any photography would work. Your investment would be a quality camera (don’t you dare try this with an iPhone!), some photo editing software and perhaps a photography class or two. You can charge a few hundred dollars a pop when you’re all set up, so math works well.
BONUS: You will no longer have to pay a photographer for each of your new listings.
Real estate sign delivery and installation
Did you think that real estate agents go out there with their fancy clothing and high heels to install their own For Sale signs? Haha. Yeah, right. They pay someone to do that for them.
If you have the storage space in your garage for the signs and a few tools (like a sledgehammer), you’re good to go.
This one requires much more storage than most people have available in their garages. It also takes some significant capital to buy all the furniture and decorations. It’s an investment, but you can charge big bucks if you’re good at it.
BONUS: You will have the ability to stage your future listings for “free.”
Marketing services (flyers, postcards, websites)
If you have some marketing and/or graphic design skills, this is a good one. Most agents are not technically adept and many of them struggle with basic things like checking emails on their phones. Most of them certainly aren’t competent with the various online marketing tools out there.
You could charge a la carte or you could create marketing packages with a whole slew of services. I’ve seen both of those models work well.
Fair warning: This requires a license AND (in most states) a few years of apprenticeship under a licensed appraiser. It is a serious investment of time and money, but very valuable once you’re legal.
Appraisers are licensed to provide objective valuation estimates on properties. Many agents think that a big part of the “value” they provide to their clients is by providing pricing estimates. The nasty truth here is that agents use their pricing estimates as ploys to win listings in competitive environments. It’s dishonest, but it happens all the time.
The agents who lack integrity will tell the sellers, “I can get you $____ for your property.” That number is an inflated number and they know it. The sellers are naive about the process and think that the agent they choose will determine the price they get for their property. That’s ridiculous, but sellers fall for it all day, every day. Greed knows no bounds and dishonest agents play into that greed.
Once the sellers start getting offers that are closer to the TRUE market value (read: much lower than what the agent said “they could get for it”), it’s too late. The sellers can’t dump their dishonest agent at that time because they’re tied-up in a listing contract. And you wonder why people dislike real estate agents?
The truth is there is no amount of flashy marketing or company affiliation that will make a buyer OVERPAY for a property. If you were a buyer, would you financially harm yourself just because a property had sexy photos and a custom video on Zillow? Of course not. So why would you believe anyone else would do that?
Appraisers are required by law to “give it to you straight.” They don’t care what price the buyer and seller agreed in the purchase contract. If the true market value is less than that, the appraiser will report that (usually to the bank providing the mortgage).
Being an agent and an appraiser in the same transaction would be a big conflict of interest, but using your appraisal knowledge to win new business is a very smart way to play it.
Not So Obvious Side Hustles For Real Estate Agents
There are a few creative ways I’ve seen real estate agents use educational events to make a few bucks. Sometimes the events are strictly real estate related and sometimes they tap the agents’ previous life experiences in some other field.
First-time buyer classes, investor classes and short-term rental property investment events can justify a small price tag ($10-$50) if you can provide significant value to the attendees. The events and classes can be offered live or online, depending on your strategy.
If you have some validity around a certain topic in real estate, you can write a book. The online tools for authors make the writing and publishing processes super easy these days.
The book can also generate business from people you’ve never met because they found you on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Show off your brains if you have them!
If you don’t like to write or don’t want to make the time to write, ghost writers are available through various online outlets for a nominal fee. You get what you pay for and the best ones cost big bucks, so you’re probably better off writing it yourself. I have used dictation apps on my phone in the past to log ideas as I’m driving or hiking or whatever, so that’s an option too.
Subtle Side Hustles For Real Estate Agents
Bartender or server
This is certainly not a glamorous option, but it works. The way to work it is to get hired at a high-end bar or restaurant or country club. Your local dive bar might be fun, but you want the opportunity to build your network with high net worth people. HNW folks tend not to frequent the local dive bars.
Golf pro or tennis instructor
I have hired a surprising number of people who work in roles like these. They usually keep their golf and tennis jobs because it gives them the opportunity to network with wealthy folks. Because of the flexibility we have as real estate agents, it’s a smart move.
Of course, you’ll need some sports skills in order for this to work.
A friend of mine stumbled upon this as a great way to generate some real estate leads. She’s a dog lover and started doing it FOR FREE in her neighborhood because she was taking her dog to the park anyway.
The “free” bit is important because dog walkers are notoriously cut-throat and constantly try to undermine their competition. Well, duh, it’s mindless work and there are no barriers to entry. Of course there’s stiff competition. You obviously won’t generate any immediate cash walking dogs for free, but the lead generation opportunity could be a big one.
Do you have some other side hustles for real estate agents you’d like me to add to this list? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below and I’ll send you a cookie if I end up adding one of them to this post.
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