A Less Stressful Financial Prospect:
Keeping another job with a steady income can definitely make it less stressful to begin your real estate career. Starting out as a part time real estate agent could mean the difference between success and failure if commissions are slow to start.
Some Are Part Time All the Time:
There are many agents out there that have remained part time their entire career. Perhaps it's a single parent who can't devote full time, or a business person using real estate as an adjunct to their career. It is possible, but there are challenges that are profiled below.
Can You Adequately Service Your Prospects and Clients?:
Your schedule will definitely not always correspond with that of your customers, either buyers or sellers. Buyers are particularly demanding in their desire to meet with you and to view homes. Special skills will be required to try and modify their requirements to fit your schedule, while keeping them satisfied and likely to do business with you again. Many others, like title companies, have set business hours. You will need systems to get the job done if your schedule is different.
Finding a Broker is More Difficult:
Brokers provide services and resources such as office space, phones, computers and more. Many will not want to provide these things to a part-timer with an expected volume of business less than that of a full time agent they could get.
They also have prospect and sales lead sharing procedures. There may be full time agents that will complain about giving you full shares of leads. Any proportional system will cut your prospective success rate due to fewer leads/prospects.
Time Off Becomes a Scarce Commodity:
With two simultaneous careers, it will become very difficult to get time off or take a vacation. Your regular job will be finished for the day and you'll have to go meet with a buyer and show homes. The weekend comes, but it's filled with real estate duties. Burn-out becomes a more threatening prospect.
Income Will Likely Be Split More Ways:
If you do stress customer service and meeting their requirements, you'll be getting help from other agents when you just can't meet a required schedule. Prepare to develop commission sharing plans to compensate them when they take up your slack.
The Crash Created Many Part-timers:
The real estate and mortgage crash that began in earnest in 2007 decimated the income of many real estate professionals. A large number left the business altogether. Many others had to find ways to supplement their income until things got better, still not that evident into 2013. If you're one of those, don't let this get you down. In fact, you may have been forced into a situation that created new opportunities, so don't necessarily abandon them when things begin to look better.