Real Estate Side Hustle Guide (101)

Explore the options before you in the real estate field for earning some money on the side. Some options are labor-based, some are investment-based, and all of them have their plusses and minuses. Let's get to it.

A future realtor studying real estate terms for their residential salesperson license
How do I make money ... How do I make money ...

What is a Real Estate Side Hustle?

Any gig that is related to real estate and not serving as your full-time job is how we define what a Real Estate Side Hustle is. Check this handy resource I found if you need to brush up on your real estate vocabulary.

Types of Real Estate Side Hustles

Blogger/Copywriter (RE Focused)

There are so many ways to divide Blogger/Copywriter up that it may turn into a full-time gig if you aren't paying attention.

Residential Property Manager/Management

Many landlords, especially those in college towns and cities such as Boston, Massachusetts, purchase multi-family homes as an investment. In a lot of cases, they aren't within a reasonable driving distance to the property. So, if you live within city limits or in a nearby suburb, being a part-time property manager is a great real estate side gig because you can earn a monthly retainer without committing much of your 9-5, allowing you to keep your day job.

Most of the time the work is minor labor: swapping out a socket, replacing lost keys, painting & patching spots on a wall, etc. Or, it's meeting an electrician or plumber to let them onto the property and into the home. That said, be sure to note that when the call does come in, you need to respond within a reasonable amount of time based on the severity and pre-determined priority of the need. So when you get the call that water is leaking from the ceiling, it's go-time!

Vacation Property Management

On the flipside to residential, you could have a much smoother time serving as the property manager for a ski condo or portfolio of lake properties, renting them out on VRBO and AirBnB for the time-strapped owner. Depending on how hands on you want to be, there could even be a cleaning component where you charge extra.

Real Estate Salesperson/Agent

One of the original side hustles in the real estate game is being a weekend agent. The internet has put a large dent into the old weekend agent gig as consumers can now see the entire property on Zillow, Redfin or their local Century 21 or Coldwell Banker website. That doesn't mean the side hustle has gone away though.

Being a part-time agent is a great way to earn a living while pursuing other interests in other fields. In fact, it's perfect for the side hustler who is also in the arts. It even works for firefighters with their 24 hour shift schedules, though most of them end up in labor-intensive side hustles like general contracting or as roofing contractors.

Referral Fees for Agents

If you're on the inside of the salesperson/agent game, you can grab some of the commission by setting up a referral. This is handy if you're going on vacation for a month but you have a lead that converts, or, perhaps you aren't licensed in an area that a friend is buying in. Simply make the connection and establish the agreement for the referral fee upfront.

Real Estate Appraiser

Perhaps a better real estate side hustle than the salesperson is the appraiser. An appraiser makes a lot less per transaction given that there is no commission. However, the money is far more steady as it does not involve a commission but rather an ordered asset: the appraisal. To be upfront, the internet has driven profit margins of real estate appraising down quite a bit in the last 20 years.

Photographer/Videographer

Got a fancy DSLR? Or, perhaps a fun new drone? Then you can be a real estate photographer or videographer. Customers love those aerial shots that show the entirety of a neighborhood in the listings. And, if you know a few realtors who aren't tech savvy, then approach them and offer to help. In general, target the older realtors. Sure, I'm typecasting here, but it rings true more than not as older people tend to possess less interest in newer technologies.

Virtual Assistant

Attorneys, Realtors, Construction Companies and more need the services that a VA can provide. Think about it, paralegal already exists as a profession. If you can perform internet research and type at a reasonable speed, then you can be a Virtual Assistant. From there, you could branch out your service offerings to include things like title searches and marketing (social media, getting your client(s) found on Google, and more).

Custodial/Janitorial

Cleaning rental properties, especially vacation properties, will never go out of style (business). There will always be a need for someone to clean a vacation home as the owner lives 50+ miles away in most circumstances. It's dirty work, sure, but it's a way to earn some scratch on the side. The major downsides to house cleaning are the hours and potential short notice. A cleaning gig can be a bit prohibitive to a day job with turnover occurring between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

Types of Investment Sidehustles for Real Estate

Buying Land

If you're sitting on some $$ and you want a way to potentially earn some money, you could invest in land. There are many reasons to do so, including:

Flipping Homes

This is one area where you can't really get into the side hustle without either having money yourself, resorting to creative financing options, or, pitching and acquiring investors. However, if you're handy, you can buy fixer-uppers all day, every day across the nation and earn a profit from the sale from the improved sweat equity. The easiest way to pull that off is to buy it as your own home, live in it for two years while you fix it up, and then sell it after your two year anniversary to enable the capital gains exemption for living on the premises as your primary home.

Or, just have a fat bankroll and hire professionals to flip the homes for you. You need to really run (and KNOW) the numbers when you're in the home flipping game though.

Investment Properties (Condos, Multi-Family, Duplexes, Triplexes, etc.)

Buying multi-family properties, especially in college towns, was a time honored way to make a dollar in the 20th century. Landlords of all levels of scruple stacked college kids into homes like cordwood and charged topped dollar for the privilege. That's a path you could take.

Or, maybe your game is to own duplexes/triplexes in the suburbs and provide a home for families, or perhaps, couples who aren't ready to commit to buying their first home yet. The Investment Property side hustle takes start-up capital, sure, but it's a great way to dip your toe in the real estate waters if you're goal is to earn a buck or two.

As with any investment, your future earnings or holdings could go to zero. Be warned. Bad tenants, especially the kind that take you to court, are out there.

Short-Term Rentals (VRBO, AirBnB, etc.)

This is where part-time side hustle also meets part-time benefit. Owning a short-term rental property comes with many pitfalls, but it also allows for personal usage and gain. Take the ski condo for example. You can own one, perform the short-term rental work yourself, and use it, all while making a dollar to help off-set your ownership costs (PITI, HOA, etc.). Personally love this real estate side hustle.

REITs

The real estate side gig I'm the least familiar about. Perhaps that will change one day. Anyway, investing in a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is a fine choice for jumping into the real estate game. Someone else is doing all of the hard work and you're there buying a share of that REIT just like a stock (don't quote me on that). And, you can (somewhat) self-direct your investment, as there are many flavors of REIT out there.

Types of REITs

As with all forms of investing, do your own research.

Wrapping up

Hope this helps you get started on your side hustling journey in real estate. Check back soon as I plan to break down some of these options in greater depth.

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