As I talked about in part one, a big trend amongst the ambitious younger generations has been finding a side hustle. A side hustle can range from dog sitting to developing web applications. I decided to become a Real Estate Agent as mine.
The first deal
The saying “the first one is the toughest” was far from the truth in my first real estate deal as an agent. We visited a new construction community, saw move-in-ready homes on Saturday, and the buyers came back to sign on Sunday. From there, the builder handled most of the heavy lifting, and we were at the closing table about a month later. Wow, is it ALWAYS this simple? Since then, I’ve quickly learned that it is not always that simple, but the negatives get balanced out by the positives.
My first year in real estate
I began in April of 2019 and did not really know what to expect in year one. I was thinking two or three deals would be a great year starting out. I ended up working as a buyer’s agent for four deals and represented a seller for one of those deals. Technically, I had a 6th deal, but that was a personal purchase for me that was planned to be a flip (another story for another day). The five deals equaled out to about 1.3 million dollars in volume. As I mentioned in part one, my brokerage taking low fees from my commissions greatly improves my take-home rate from the sales I make. Remember, this is a side hustle, so I was extremely excited about these numbers and the start I had in real estate. I had quickly exceeded my own expectations.
Balancing the 9 to 5 job with real estate
One worry I had going into this side hustle was time and how clients would feel about me working two careers. For my 9-5, I am a Business Analyst for a Healthcare/IT company. Fortunately, I am in a role where I am not drowned in meetings for eight hours a day. I am always up front with clients that I do work a 9-5 so I’ll have moments of unavailability. This can lead to clients going elsewhere, but most of the time, they are on a similar schedule or they are willing to work with me. I pride myself in being available to show a home within 12 hours. If they text me at 10 AM, I will drop evening plans to show the house in a timely manner. This is particularly important in a seller’s market! My employer is fully aware that I do real estate on the side, and, I would say about 30% of my sales have come from co-workers, including my first two deals! If you remember who pays your salary and keep the two jobs separate, real estate is a field that you be successful at as a side hustle (even if some of the real estate recruiters tell you differently). With that said, some full time jobs would make this a very difficult side hustle – so do your research!
2020 was a rollercoaster ride of a year for me. I was in the middle of the flip when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I was scared the market was going to crash, impacting my real estate business, my properties, and even my job. Although it did throw some hurdles my way (and everyone else in the world), it sent my real estate business soaring! In 2020, I ended up selling 4.1 million dollars in real estate. This is still all part-time and not in a huge market like CA or NY. Considering this is significantly more than my main job, it was very tempting to pack my bags and jump into this thing full-time going forward, but it is a roller coaster, as are most sales jobs. Part of running a successful side hustle is being reasonable with your time, and your decisions as it relates to your primary job. For this reason, I’ll continue working the 9-5. In fact, as I write this article, I would be shocked if I meet this income for the year 2021, BUT, that is the beauty of a side hustle, it is all extra!
WOW! That sounds amazing…
Yes, I was ecstatic with my 2020 income, but it was NOT easy. I gave up A LOT of nights, weekends, and PTO in order to meet clients, show homes, attend inspections, closings, etc. Did I love it? Most of the time, yes. I am also a single dude, no kids, not much baggage (hi ladies) so I am able to hustle in my free time. A lot of my friends think I am crazy that I “work” so much during my free time, but the nice thing is, real estate does not feel like work to me. Yes, there were clients who I spent months with who never ended up buying anything, but there were other clients whom I met once, and they bought a $400,000 house on day one (getting to closing day is still a process that requires work, but not as much cost/time invested). It is a give and take. I try not to let one deal impact my emotions too much in either direction.
Interested in becoming a Real Estate Agent?
As I mentioned in part one, this has been a goal/passion of mine since day one. To be completely honest, if you told me I could make $50,000 a year GUARANTEED, I would be doing it full-time, and happily at that. I would probably find a smaller side hustle for extra income, but still, you get the point. During my required real estate orientation, they told us that 20% of the agents in my area do 80% of the sales. If you are just wanting to make extra money and money is your only goal, I would think twice about being an agent. Nobody wants an agent who is telling them “this home is great, let’s make an offer” every time you walk through a house like the shows/movies make it seem. It is absolutely a risk jumping in full-time with no real estate background, but if you have always enjoyed the concept of real estate or assisting clients/customer service, I would seriously entertain making it your side hustle! It only takes one deal to make all of your fees/study time/investment well worth it. My only regret? Not doing it sooner!