Start Real Estate Full Time and Quit My Job?

29 Replies

I wanted to reach out to everyone in this forum for some advice. A little background on me is that I am a self taught software programmer and have been doing it for over 4 years. However, over the past year I've realized that I just don't have a passion for it and the only reason I'm still in it is because it pays well. However, I'm very passionate about real estate, I've passed my exam and I am currently talking with different real estate agencies. I've now come to the point where I have to make a decision: go full time RE and quit my job or have to work my current job while trying make PT RE work.

Has anyone else quit their job and just jumped straight into RE?

Or did you first try to do it part time before making the jump? 

I'd love to hear anyones feedback on part time vs full time!

Thanks!

Start part time. You don't want to burn the bridge prior to investigating the other side. I am doing this right now currently still working my 9-5. I wouldn't recommend quitting your current job until you know you can support yourself through being an agent.

Hi Josh, 

I'm in a similar boat, I got my RE license back in April, and have been doing part time RE while working my full time accounting job. I've done some deals, but overall I find it difficult to switch from one role to the other. I have a hard time making and taking calls during the working hours as I am still in the head space of accounting at that time. I've also found that it's hard to spend the time marketing myself properly, and I felt like I was doing two jobs in a mediocre way. I'm also considering making the jump so I'd also like to hear what others have done. Good luck to you Josh! 

Best, 

Chris

Hey Josh,

I just recently left my job to start RE full time and it's definitely a stressful and challenging transition.

I was in full-time sales and traveled up and down the East Coast from Maine to North Carolina and there really wasn't a way for me to work RE part time so it was either make the jump or never do it. We (my wife and I) planned this for close to four years, so we definitely tried to cover all of the bases. A few things we did:

1. I continued to work while she took her RE classes and started in the business. She's now been full-time in RE for the past 4 years and it's been a huge advantage for me. 

2. We put away savings before we started the professional transition so we would have a 'rainy day' fund to fall back on.

3. While she was transitioning to RE she also continued to work part-time. We both originally came from the restaurant/bar business so finding a couple of shifts every week to help cover expenses was easy.

4. Now while I'm transitioning into full -time RE I'm also doing sales consulting on the side with old contacts to make some extra cash. I'm trying to keep all of this after hours so I can focus on business during the day.

Having a skill like programming should be a huge advantage for you. You could potentially offer programming services on the side while focusing on Real Estate. No need to walk away from a skill you've already developed, just make it your side gig. Best of luck, it's the best decision I've made.

Thanks for all the advice! @Mike Kulnich I am definitely planning on doing some freelance programming and actually just had a potential client reach out about some PT work. It sounds like you and your wife did a great job of making the transition. I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out and give such great feedback!

I'm assuming you would have an option to work as a freelance software programmer if need be. You may want to ease into real estate sales. Ask agencies if you can start out as a part timer and see how they react. If they don't like that idea, move onto the next one. Im nearly in your shoes. Finishing up course work for exam and then will pass the exam early February. But I have a good job at the moment and I too intend to start off real estate as a part timer.

@Josh Sisley if you want to invest having w-2 income will make financing much easier.  

An agent is simply a sales person and generally sales is very hard when you start and get easier as you build your client base.  In real estate building a reputation takes years. 

As an agent you have to be self motivated. Not everyone is cut out for sales work. Work on straight commission is also something many people are not cut out for. 

On the other hand there is a lot to say about the freedom of being your own boss.

I totally agree with @Ned Carey . This business is 1000x easier when you have a steady stream of income, no matter what type of investing. Particularly buy and hold (including BRRRR). Lenders love to see a steady stream if something goes bad.

I personally think it's a little reckless as well, quitting your job before you get a good hold on the business. Could spell trouble for you, and your family

Hi @Josh Sisley . I am in a similar place myself although I still enjoy IT work for the time being. I make great money as a IT Engineer but I also really enjoy working on my Real Estate business and growing the portfolio. If you listen to any of Grant Cordone, he mentions some sound advice regarding this issue. Basically, the main driver behind wealth creation is multiple flows of income. This allows a person to scale a business, grow wealth faster and achieve desired goals easier. When one is reliant on 1 flow of income, this becomes trading time for money and does not build wealth as fast. 

So it depends what your goals are. If its wealth building, well I would say no. If its seeking fulfillment or happiness through another job, well might be worth it as time is short.  Good advice in this section if its the former is: If your first flow of income is larger then your second flow of income, do not abandon your first flow of income. IE. If you make more in your first job then your second job, do not leave the first job as this may slow your progress and be risky. Again all about your end goal though. ;)

One of my suggestions is the following: if you want RE to be your only job/business, make sure you speak with a financial advisor about - few important things:

Retirement 

Health Insurance

Savings

Your earnings

Insurance alone is a mess here in FL, it is so expensive. So plead just plan ahead.

Originally posted by @Jason Cacioppo :

@Chris Weichselbaum hey I will be in a similar situation as you soon. Do you find it is difficult to show properties throughout the week?

 I find it difficult because I can only work with clients in the evening, and I sometimes have to rush out of my day job which doesn't thrill my bosses. I've taken personal days to show, but it's not preferable because I need to give more advanced notice. 

Originally posted by @Chris Weichselbaum :
Originally posted by @Jason Cacioppo:

@Chris Weichselbaum hey I will be in a similar situation as you soon. Do you find it is difficult to show properties throughout the week?

 I find it difficult because I can only work with clients in the evening, and I sometimes have to rush out of my day job which doesn't thrill my bosses. I've taken personal days to show, but it's not preferable because I need to give more advanced notice. 

 Yeah thats one of my concerns. For me personally, I don't think I would be able to work a full time job and do RE part time mainly because of that. I want to be fair to my current employer and to be honest, my mindset is already with RE and I'm finding it hard to do my current job. 

However, I have an opportunity to do what I am doing part time and it can be remote. So I think that will probably be the choice that I make. It gives me enough to cover 90% of expenses and I already have savings. With that combined, I'd have enough runway for 8 months or so without making a single sale. 

I was a successful contractor but my passion was being more directly involved in real estate.  I saved up 6 months of living money to cover all my daily and monthly expenses, and took the plunge.  No looking back.

For me it was sink or swim; I learned how to swim.  Even though it did take a bit over 6 months to close my first deal, (had to borrow a bit) I ended up making more net in my first year in real estate than I did in previous year in contracting.

Want to be involved in or committed to real estate?  Remember this old saw:  In a bacon and eggs breakfast, the chicken is involved.  The pig is COMMITTED!

You need to get your head in the right space regarding a W2. You trade your time for money. It is nothing more that a means to an end. Passion only comes from dedicating yourself to a career not having a job. Do you want to work day and night dedicated to a career. If you want to be passionate about something be passionate about the money. Be passionate about the fact that the job enables you to invest in something you enjoy. The quickest way to suck the passion out of something you enjoy is to turn it into a full time job. You have a job for the income and keep it for the pension. It is only a means to an end so stop looking for passion. It makes no difference what job you do passion does not pay the bills or provide money to invest. You need the highest paying job to qualify for financing.

I have a major issue with people want to escape the "rat race" of a high paying job to pursue a dream. They have no head for business or understand the true purpose of a job. You quit your job when you have wealth not to achieve wealth.

Passion is highly over rated. Reality is if it was that important everyone would quit working to peruse their hobbies.

In your case reality is we are looking at a possible recession. One of the hardest hit industries will be real estate. Agents are a dime a dozen and many will be facing very hard times if the economy tanks. Do you want your eggs in that basket.

I'm in the same boat. Chief Software Engineer turned IT Manager, no passion for it, tough to leave the money. 

I wouldn't leave your FT job while you try the RE sales thing. I'd try to find a work from  home job (like I used to have, now as a manager I report to an office everyday) so you can easily leave for showings during the day.

I'm hoping to start studying for my RE license soon. Between work and grad school a year ago as well as dealing with the rentals, I'm burned out and haven't started on the required 90 hours of training yet. 

I'm working on my RE license and plan on doing it part time. For now I want the second income stream to strengthen my financial situation and if I find I have a real knack for it I may take it full time some day - otherwise it will be my gateway into REI at the very least.

Definitely part time to begin with if you know you can put the time in off hours.

@Josh Sisley Hey there! So for the past 8 years I have been a Medical Device Sales Rep. I knew somehow I wanted to get involved with Real Estate but I definitely eased into it. I got my RE agent license 2 years ago and have been doing it on the side for fun, attending networking events at night, reading books, listening to podcasts.... all that jazz. Started investing money in flips. Recently, I made the jump full time as a Business Development Manager and Realtor for a Property Management Company. So long story short, I made my way from medical to RE but it took 2 years to transition. I wouldn’t suggest quitting your job yet. Use that money to invest until you build up and then make the leap! Best of luck to you!
@Katie Malfer With your fulltime job how did you find time with clients. I want to follow your footsteps and make a steady transition into real estate as well. Is it possible to work as an agent only on nights(after 8!) and weekends?

@Chalie Krautkramer Yes Ma’am! Nights and weekends. Also, Go to networking events, make connections. Reach out to your friends/relatives and use social media as a tool (if you can). RE is all about referrals! Be incredibly disciplined with your time and you can manage it all!

@Katie Malfer Great! Glad to know its achievable and thank you for the advice on networking. Just started miracle morning and bullet journaling. They've both made time management fun and easy. Would definitely recommend to everyone(:

@Josh Sisley

My two cents: 

Do whatever allows you to work the hardest toward your goals. The most common factor in success is hard work and effort. That being said, if you have zero motivation to go into work at your current job, then find one that you do. 

I would advise against leaving a steady W-2 to a commission only field without seeing if you have the talent to overcome your current lack of skills (assuming you haven't done any transactions as an agent yet, thus gaining skills) at this point. You also may hate it. 

I was in your situation. Worked as an analyst in the defense sector, paid pretty well. Hated it. So I went back to school online and got a full time internship as a construction manager that had me working 50+ hours a week for 35k a year. I turned down a 120k annual position in my old field for the CM job. But I'm much more satisfied and have found a passion in a place I thought would lend itself well to my REI goals.

My point is if you can find a company in the RE sector that has a need for your current skills but pays less than you make now (but can still cover your bills) I would go that route. This would allow you to learn more about RE and REI collectively while still earning a living and testing the waters part time as an agent.

If you decide to go this route I'd stack cash until you're ready to make the jump. Maybe that means you give yourself a goal of a year before you start that new gig. Capital is crucial for investing, I kinda wish I would've worked that 120k job a couple years before making the jump. Would've helped me. But I don't regret it, if that makes sense?

Hope this helped at least a little.


Good luck!