This article was last updated Oct. 20, 2022.
Even the most experienced agents might find it difficult to create a steady stream of income, especially with the ups and downs of the current market. For newer agents, it might take a while to develop a strong and reliable cash flow.
Rather than taking a side job in retail or waiting tables at your local bistro, creating a real estate-adjacent side gig will help you maintain your professional focus. What’s more, it may just help introduce new, lucrative directions into your business while you expand your professional network.
1. Staging services
If you have an eye for design, you may want to start a staging consultancy. While you probably won’t want to go all in on a warehouse full of furniture, you can invest in some decorative elements to perk up spaces, help with decluttering or simply rearrange things that the owner has lying around the home.
This is also a great way for you to get to know other local agents who may be happy to have you improve their latest listing.
2. Marketing materials
If you are good at graphic design, copywriting or other content creation, you may be able to find steady work creating marketing collateral for agents in your brokerage and beyond.
You can design flyers and mailers or offer your services creating and managing social media for some of the busier agents and brokers in your market (after you’ve posted your own, of course).
3. Photography or videography
Similarly, if you have expertise in photography, video creation and editing, or drone videography, you may be able to develop a well-paying side gig preparing marketing material for local listings.
If you’ve previously worked in this field as a wedding or event photographer, seek out additional education to transition your existing skills to the unique requirements of residential or commercial real estate.
4. Showing agent
Some of the larger brokers in your area may be looking for licensed agents to conduct open houses for their sellers or private showings for their buyer clients.
If you’re looking to get your foot in the door at a big team or brokerage in your area, this may be a solid first step, allowing you to showcase your expertise and people skills.
5. Remote notary service
Due to all of the online and remote showings and closings that have been conducted over the last couple of years, a robust infrastructure of virtual and onsite notary services has grown up to assist.
If you are a notary public, consider going to work for one of these services so that you can help to facilitate more convenient closings. Talk to your favorite title agent or real estate attorney to find out how to get started.
6. Administrative assistant
Are you hyper-organized, a computer whiz and an expert at document management?
A busy real estate agent or broker may be looking for someone just like you to help with administrative duties in their office. Bonus points if you can keep their business accounting software updated and create graphic elements with an online design platform.
7. Exam tutoring
If you have a host of winning strategies left over from your licensure test, consider exam tutoring for hopeful would-be agents in your area. Talk to local real estate schools or start with your own previous instructor to find students who need a little extra help preparing for their state examination.
8. Cleaning and organization
If you have a gift for getting a home under control and a willingness to get your hands dirty, you may want to consider starting a cleaning and organizing business.
This could be a valuable service for senior sellers who need to clean out their attics or for assisting bereaved families before an estate sale. Couple it with an SRES designation, and you may find that you’ve created a new niche for yourself.
If you love working in the garden, consider landscape design and installation in your market. Your clients may come from other agents or brokers who are looking to perk up their latest listing’s curb appeal or to enhance its outdoor living spaces.
10. Property management assistance
While property management is its own area of expertise, you may find that a property manager in your area could use an extra set of hands to keep up with the management of their property portfolio.
Maybe they need someone to respond to tenant complaints or to make small repairs. Put your fix-it skills to work, and learn more about this sector of the real estate industry.
11. Real estate investment
One of the best things you can do for your long-term financial health is to put your expertise to work as a real estate investor.
Start out as a wholesaler or buy a partial stake in a flip or long-term investment property. Build your portfolio over time, first managing it yourself then, later, bringing on a property manager to assist you.
12. Agent recruitment
Some brokerages offer significant incentives for agents who bring in new agents. Go out and connect with your professional network to bring new recruits into your company. Over time, you may find that this forms the basis for forming your own team or brokerage.
Only a side gig? How to be a stellar real estate agent — while juggling other responsibilities
Even if your side gig is meant to plug the holes and keep your financial boat afloat, you want to do a good job and maintain a stellar reputation. Here are some ways to ensure solid performance while still keeping your real estate business center stage.
- Make sure that your side gig doesn’t violate rules at your brokerage or at your local or state association. Avoid conflicts of interest, especially when working for or with other agents in your market.
- Get organized and keep good records, especially when it comes to your finances. Consider a color-coded calendar and frequent reminders of due dates, meetings and deliverables.
- Take care of yourself. If your side gig starts to take up too much of your time, you can feel overwhelmed and run down. Make sure you are taking the time for regular meals, workouts and days off so that you can keep up with the pace.
- Determine whether your side gig is becoming your main gig. If you find that you have a knack for your side gig, consider whether you can incorporate it into your primary work as a real estate agent. For example, property management, investment or staging can all be a solid part of your overall real estate service offering.
- Know when to call it quits. You may have some great clients for your side gig, but if your real estate business is picking up — and taking priority — find a trusted colleague to refer your clients to, then throw yourself full-time into the real estate side of things.
There’s no harm in taking a side gig to make ends meet. Just make sure you keep your eye on the prize and focus on your long-term goals so that your side gig stays in check.
Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.