As independent contractors, real estate agents are not required to punch a clock or work a minimum or a maximum number of hours — their success is directly tied to the amount of time they put into their work. After asking, “How much does a real estate agent make?”, new agents most often want to know how many hours they’ll work.
Leaving behind the 9-5 mentality can be difficult for new agents, but it’s part of the transformative process of becoming an independent business owner. Even though the average Realtor® works 35 hours per week, the average amount of time a new agent works may vary or fluctuate based on their goals, niche, and time management skills.
Can New Real Estate Agents Be Full- or Part-Time?
Yes. As an independent contractor, you can choose to work as little or as much as you want.
Real estate is an industry where the strength of your effort is proportional to the size of your salary. Working more hours really does translate to earning more money for new real estate agents.
However, if the point of being a real estate agent is for you to have flexibility around your family life, then you may be less interested in increasing your salary and more interested in maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
You should also keep in mind that the fees for your brokerage are the same whether you’re full- or part-time, so in the end, it’s more economical to work full-time.
Will New Agents Work Evenings and Weekends?
Almost Definitely. If your niche is residential homes, restricting your hours to the normal 9 to 5 will make it more difficult for working adults to attend house showings with you. Additionally, as you work on expanding your network, your brokerage may offer you a chance to staff open houses. These are regularly held on weekends.
Restricting the time of day that you work limits the reach of your network, and can reduce the amount of money you earn. Until you have enough leads coming in from your own marketing, you may have to work evenings and weekends.
Do Real Estate Agents Work Every Day?
Possibly. With only 20% of real estate agents in the field treating it as a full-time job, it’s extremely likely that you’re one of the many who are just transitioning into real estate. As a result, you may find yourself straddling your day job and your real estate side job. If you add in weekend open houses, you may find yourself working every day.
Since it seems unlikely that you’re pursuing a real estate career to work even more, let’s take a step back and reframe this situation.
Without boundaries and time management skills, it is possible to work every single day as a real estate agent. There’s no doubt that working every day is a recipe for burnout. The sooner you set hard boundaries around your family time and work hours, the more likely you are to enjoy your real estate journey and still see success. With texts, emails, and phone calls coming in from clients at all hours of the day, you could very quickly find yourself working nonstop. Blocking out time specifically for your family will give you some valuable downtime.
Do Commercial Agents Work More Than Residential Agents?
It depends. Commercial agents keep regular office hours, and they are more likely to work full-time. Residential agents can scale their hours up or down based on their business goals or their family’s needs. As a result, they’re more likely to be part-time. However, residential agents work around their clients’ schedules, which means they may be showing houses at night, on weekends, and during holidays when their clients are off work.
Comparing the work schedule of commercial agents to residential agents isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. Commercial agents have a more regular schedule and consistently work 40 hours per week, while residential agents enjoy a flexible schedule that conforms to their clients’ schedules or their own needs.
Why Do New Agents Leave Real Estate?
Over 80% of agents who struggle to set boundaries, stick to a schedule, or make enough money leave real estate within two years. Without a firm lead-gen strategy in place, new agents will struggle to meet the goals that they set for themselves. It can be difficult to adjust to being your own boss, but if you want to thrive in your new career, you’ll need to learn new business strategies that will help you succeed.
- Find a mentor or coach who will help you establish a realistic schedule.
- Block out time for calling and networking, and focus on that task within those hours.
- Be relentless about self-improvement; take classes, listen to podcasts, and read books about how to make real estate work for you.
- Commit to taking time off so that you can come back refreshed and ready to sell more houses.
The Bottom Line
Success in real estate is directly tied to your efforts, and that includes the hours you work and your networking strategy. In many ways, the direct link from your work ethic to your paycheck is incredibly attractive to real estate agents. If you want to watch your income increase, work longer hours.
With no direct boss over you, it’s possible to work as much or as little as you want in real estate. That’s why it’s so important to establish goals for yourself, and then hold yourself accountable to a schedule that will help you achieve those goals.