becoming part time agent as a way to get started / pay off debt

4 Replies

Hey everyone, I signed up on this site a while ago and haven't posted much but have been reading and listening to podcasts and I am ready to take some action.

A Little about me and my situation:

My wife is self employed and I do government work.  We make good money but we have been living beyond our means for quite some time.  We have debt north of 200k to include vehicles, student loans and credit card debt.  My wife and I love real estate and want to start investing but feel it would be unwise in our current financial situation.  We are not struggling to pay bills, we have gotten on a budget and are able to pay decent chunks of debt off when my wife takes quarterly "bonuses" out of her business.

I would like to accelerate our debt payoff and our thought is to obtain our RE licenses and work as agents part time as a "team" to accelerate our payoff with commissions and start learning more about the real estate business in the process.

I know that part-time agents are a debated topic on the forums but my question is this: Has anyone done this and would be willing to share their experiences? or, does anyone have other recommendations of part time work within the real estate world that could help me attain my goal of earning and learning at the same time, ie, appraisals or inspections?

Another option I guess would be to begin investing now to gain passive income to help pay debt off, but this seems like a stretch with the amount of personal debt we currently have.


Ryan, starting out as an agent typically costs 1-2k in courses, fees, membership and association dues, MLS access etc, with no guarantee of income whatsoever. I am a part time agent and know that unless you are already well connected with friends, family and neighbors, it can be tough to start earning comissions early on.

You might consider working under a busy, established agent as an unlicensed assistant helping them with marketing, logistics, showings (as your state law allows), open houses, paperwork and lead generation for an hourly rate. Great way to get your feet wet without the uncertainty of income and initial upfront  (and recurring, it does cost money to maintain a license) cost.

With the debt you mentioned, I'd be hesitant to add to the pile and would instead start grinding away at it with guaranteed income and side-work.

John, thank you for your response. I defiantly do not want to add to the pile, we are making enough money that I could pay for licensing etc without incurring more debt.  I am meeting with some agent friends this week to see if there is anything I can do for them or if they have any suggestions.

Another issue I am dealing with is that my current job assignment will run out in about 5 years and although I will not be unemployed when that happens, I will likely not enjoy my job much any more.  My goal is to grind and pay off this debt and possibly have another career path lined up by then.

Hi Ryan, 

I found myself in a similar situation and took the leap into part time real estate almost 2 years ago. Real estate definitely comes with its fair share of fees. The first year is going to be the most expensive year as it comes with all the upfront expenses classes, license exam, license, MLS... etc. You can get an excellent break down of all the expenses for Colorado specifically here and what the basics of the class entails. 

I did not do a single deal my first year so was out the ~$2k. Since then I have found some great ways of prospecting and finding deals. I have been able to close two deals this year and I am now ~$5k profitable since starting out. I am thinking of transitioning to full time as the prospecting piece is a challenge with a full time job. 

It really helps to save on fees by working with a discount broker.You keep way more of your commission and it really helps to make it profitable as a side business. The bigger brokers will claim to give you leads and excellent training but in reality they will give you little hands on experience and and no leads. You will burn cash at an alarming rate. 

I live in the Denver area if you ever want to connect. Next deal I get I would be happy to show you how it all comes together and what it entails. 

@Ryan Blankenheim I agree with @Michael Losasso and @John Knisely 's comments. If you're just looking at becoming an agent to help pay off debt, there are probably better ways to generate income. The fees and time involved for getting setup add up. I'd seriously do a pros and cons analysis to just driving for Uber or something else to generate cash.

However, if you're looking towards the bigger picture of starting a new career when your contract is up or help with your future investments, then it could be a great decision. You most likely won't be profitable for 1-2 years. Which is fine if you're working towards a long term goal. But not a great idea if you're just looking to pay down debt faster.

It sounds like you're on the right track with getting your budget dialed in and living below your means. Way to go!

I've helped my wife and many of her veterinary friends (all 200k+ student debt) come up with financial plans. Look at SoFi for student loan refinancing. Generally speaking, they have the best rates and great service.

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