Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Is Your Real Estate Agent Making Their Living Selling Real Estate?

Is Your Real Estate Agent Making Their Living Selling Real Estate?

Is that agent making their living selling real estate or is this something they do on the side?

This should be the first question you should ask an agent who is trying to get your business.  I am amazed how many folks will trust the most expensive purchase or sale in their life with someone who is doing this as a hobby.

If that person is not successful or dedicated enough to make a full time living at this, do you really want them handling your transaction?  If were a consumer, I would want the absolute best real estate agent and loan officer I could find.

Those part time agents, who are getting upset reading this, please step back and look at this from the eyes of a consumer.  I am sure you feel you are good at what you do and you have a great reason for doing this on the side.  The truth is there is no way you can do it as well as a top full time professional.  You have not made the investment of time, money, infrastructure and training as someone who does this as a career and a business.  I am not saying all full time agents are top professionals.  I am saying consumers should be looking for those who are.

In this changing market you need someone who is on the street and having success when most are crying and looking for work elsewhere.  If an agent had a fully developed business before the market changed they may have seen some slippage in volume and profit.  If they have a good business plan they will be picking up market share, while others are leaving to take jobs elsewhere.

Seeing the change in the market coming, I began investing in my business.  Improved services, increased marketing and regular education have been my formula.  That is correct, I began spending more time and resources seeing the change coming.  So far it has worked.  2008 is on track to be my best year.  I have been speaking to other top agents in the area and a few of them are also having big years.  Mos are easy to spot, they have designations after there names and they are the ones doing the most marketing of their properties and themselves.

Our industry has always been made up of many part time agents.  Since the change in the market, many full time agents have joined their ranks by taken on jobs in other areas while holding on to their license.

Here are some of the disadvantages to their clients, I am witnessing on a regular basis.

  • Not available to return phone calls or show properties when needed.
  • Cutting back on marketing to save money, including but not limited to:
    • Internet
    • Photos, (believe it our not)
    • News Ads
    • Open Houses
    • Virtual tours
    • Websites
    • Flyers
  • Not taking regular training or attending REALTOR® meetings.
  • They are not networking with the top producers in the area.
  • Not keeping current with the lending industry.
  • Cut corners during the transactions and blowing deadlines.

Can a part time agent do a good job for you?  Yes they can.  Can they do as good of a job as a full time profession?  It is theoretically possible, but rarely happens.



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 45 commentsRandy Prothero • July 27 2008 08:45PM



Very ionteresting and very informative post



Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) over 10 years ago

Tom  - Thank you

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago


With the media casting "shadows" on the real estate market, most agents are going to be part timers... 


Posted by Ann Hayden, SelectAnn.com (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri) over 10 years ago

Good point. Would you go to a part time doctor or dentist? It is frustrating to not be able to get ahold of an agent because they are working another job.

Posted by Richard Mielke, REALTOR, Gettysburg Pennsylvania Real Estate (RE/MAX Results) over 10 years ago

I agree with you. I don't understand how this could be a part time job. I am so busy between

clients, listing maintance, prospecting, offers, showings, classes, inspections, and what ever

else comes my way. I feel that there is never enough time in the day and I work weekends

to fit it all in. This is not a part time job.

Posted by Sandy Gleason, Realtor for Southern Idaho-Magic Valley (North Pointe Realty) over 10 years ago

They can do it "part time" because they narrow down on customers they can handle.  It's a different business model, that's all.  Do they take the courses?  Of course they do otherwise they wouldn't still have their licenses.   Are they someone I would choose as a listing agent?  No.  Someone as a buyer's rep?  Yep.   Of course, all that depends on who they are, if we are 'clicking'.  But that is the same thing as a full time agent. 

Posted by Cyd Weeks, Realtor Palm Coast, Fl (Palmcoasting.com Real Estate Corp) over 10 years ago

Randy,  I know too many good agents who do other work to make ends meet.  After all, sales is a roller coaster in any industry.  The most successful full time Real Estate agent can be seeking a partime job tomorrow if the market changes. 

I know of a Realtor who did all the listings for a particular builder.  Great relationship, both were the same age, and nothing would come between this arrangement.  Accept the builder died.   The Realtor didn't have a clue on who to succeed because all his systems went out the door with the death.   Unfortunately, he burned a few bridges and couldn't get a listing for anything (especially from other builders).   He had to take some part time jobs as he transitioned into buyers agent.  He is producing again but I would never him bad mouth an agent with a second job.

I can think of other examples, but I have to say it all boils down to the individual.  Just because and agent ifs full time does not make him any better.  One thing I would consider if I was looking for a Realtor is how they view other professionals in there profession.

Posted by Jimmy McCall, The Ex-Mortgage Consultant (JimmyMcCall.com) over 10 years ago

Your last item is a pet peeve with me. Too hard to reach them (no phone calls when they're at their other job) and getting info on a timely basis - when they're not at the "regular" job. We all know how hard it is to start in this business, but if an agent can't make enough money to support themselves with real estate, then perhaps they should consider getting out of the business.

The absolute worst one I ever had to work with was a school teacher doing real estate for a friend. No phone calls or faxes were allowed at the school. So she did all her RE stuff at night. Gee, thank you for sending that fax or making your phone call to me at 9:30PM! I'm not opposed to getting offers at that hour, but when it's being done only to accommodate the agent's schedule, I don't care so much for it as it is unnecessary.

Posted by Elaine Reese, REALTOR® in central Ohio (Real Living HER, Powell Ohio) over 10 years ago

Ann - That may be true, but if you are buying the most expensive thing in your life is that who you want to represent you?

Richard - I have buyers right now, who wanted to see a home they were extremely exited about.  We could not get ahold of the agent to see it.  They put an offer another home.  The seller lost a solid buyer because their agent was not available and not following up.

Sandy - I agree completely.  I am writing this at an open house between showings.  I work 7 days a week and am always busy.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Randy, I think the case for a good agent to be part time or full time can be made either way. They are just running their businesses at different levels. Obviously I would expect a full time agent to sell more but many part time agents are part of teams too and many part time agents are more financially solvent than full time agents.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago

Part time agents are not just a liability for clients, but also often a frustration for the other Realtor counterpart in a transaction. Often they are difficult to reach and are not up-to-date with new regulations or form changes.


Posted by Sandy Nelson, your Olympia area Realtor (Riley Jackson Real Estate Inc.) over 10 years ago

Randy- this is an issue I deal with daily in my area...I always tell people looking to list to ask that question!

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) over 10 years ago


I know some part time agents who are very good..... 


Posted by Ann Hayden, SelectAnn.com (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri) over 10 years ago

Randy...there are good and bad in all industries and walks of life. I've met full time agents who don't answer calls either. I've met full time agents who don't know didly. You know me so you know what I do. But there are part time agents who choose to be because they cannot make ends meet.  I will never put down the single mom who loves real estate but needs to sustain their family with a part time job as well to make ends meet.

I choose to work part time in OUR office because I want a steady income for the times I am not busy as well. I'm just paranoid. And this is for years I've done both. My children are grown adults...my expenses are low.   So...it is also going to depend on the level of business someone wants/needs to sustain their lifestyle as well. 


Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 10 years ago

I can honestly say that the most difficult transactions I've had over the past 25 or so years have been with agents who have a primary job that is not their real estate business. 

"Please leave a message.  I return phone calls after 6:00 p.m."

"I can present your offer this weekend."

"I can't make settlement early in the day, make it the last appointment of the day".

"The owners don't want a lock box so you can only see the house on Saturday."

"Please leave a message.  I return phone calls after 6:00 p.m."

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Thats like saying that a person who owns multilple businesses can't be effective. The results come from being a good leader, mutli-tasking, networking, smart planning and so on. I hope Robert Kiosaki isn't listening. What is part time?

Posted by Scott Patterson, Scott Patterson (Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate/Executive Partners ) over 10 years ago

Randy, I can't imagine having a job during the day that isn't real estate. There's so much stress involved for sellers and buyers, and the "panic" moments don't discriminate- being focused on another job, and having to switch gears (or not take a call) doesn't seem fair to the sellers/buyers going through the normal gyrations of a transaction.

Posted by Laurie Mindnich over 10 years ago

Randy - I have seen your listed disadvantages present in FT agents as well which is worse as there is no excuse -except laziness.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Randy, like you said, they can do it but in my experience, they rarely do it. There just isn't enough time in the day to do everything necessary to market today. My gosh, blogging takes up too many hours and that is just one venue .

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 10 years ago

Randy, I have always felt you can only have one master. This business is no different. So often I hear when I get a call, would you show be a property. My next question is are working with an agent? Yes but they can only show me on the weekend. Hmm....

Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) over 10 years ago

I had a guy who was the listing agent on a property my client really liked. The problem was getting him on the phone...he was putting out fires..literally...he was a fire fighter...couldn't figure out how he could hold the phone in one hand selling RE and the other with the hose putting out fires. I guess you have to make a living somewhere.

How about the guy who works at the ticket counter of an airlines and was also a hair cutter but sells RE too.

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Cyd - I was not referring to continuing education classes, I meant professional development.  It is a different business model.  The question is if I were buying a home I get a free agent, why would I pick one who is working somewhere else?  If selling a home, I want an agent who does this professionally and is an area expert.

Jimmy - I am not questioning whether some agents need to take on other work.  They question is whether or not they are the best choice for a consumer.  Everything you said was about the agents needs, nothing about the consumers needs.

Elaine - I have seen more than a few who put those restrictions on.  How about the agent who does not have e-mail or lockboxes and their voice mail box is full from the other 20 agents who wanted to show their listing?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Gary - If they are part of a team and the clients and the transactions are serviced full time, not a problem.

Sandy N. - I have not seen many if any part time agents who are as accessible and knowledgeable as a full time professional.  Like I said before; "it is theoretically possible, but rarely happens."

Jeremy - I consistently give the same advice.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Ann - They may be, but can they be as responsive and current as a full time agent?  Can they provide the same level of service?

Sally - First of all you keep calling yourself part time.  You are the furthest thing from part time.  You work real estate full time.  Your part time job is working in our real estate office, which keeps you accessible to clients and agents at all times.  You are easier to reach than almost any full time agent I know.

As far as the person who has reasons for not working full time, their needs do not change the needs of their clients.

Lenn - I also am tired of chasing agents who other priorities.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Scott - Back to the point, why would a consumer hire you if you have other priorities?

Laurie - It is not fair to their clients.

Gary - You are right there are full time agents who are not good at what they do also.

Missy - Just one example:  I do not know one agent who has another job, who puts up a virtual tour or a website of their listings.  Many do not even post photos.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Frank - Boy have I heard that more than a few times.  I have met many buyers who are visiting open houses and calling listing agents, because they friend who is a part time agent told them to.  If they find what they like, their agent will write it up.

Neal - It seems like every hairdresser got their license during the boom.  If they mess up your transaction they can give you a free haircut.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Randy - I am aware of several agents who "have other jobs". I honestly don't know how they can work part time and provide "service" for their clients.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) over 10 years ago

Randy you must have gotten up this morning with a need to get beatten up ........... LOL

Hey what happenned to the goffy words in order to be able to post a comment.  They are gone, I think that I am going through withdrawl already.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 10 years ago


So just because someone is full time, they have a higher commitment level, are more current and more responsive?  It really depends on the agent.

For Example:  When you are with a client, do you take a call from another client/potential client or do you let the call go to voice mail?  Does this make you a better agent for taking the call or not taking the call?

I think the level of service depends on an agent's commitment to the business, their clients and the code of ethics. 

Posted by Ann Hayden, SelectAnn.com (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri) over 10 years ago

Here's our 2 cents... Being part time vs. full time isn't the real question, as others have raised in their posts, but the level of professionalism that they exhibit when working with clients and other agents.  That being said, if you have another job, I think you're starting out this profession from a hole that are going to have to be extraordinarily motivated to overcome.  Real estate is a pretty tough profession to learn when you're full time, let alone squeezing it in on evenings and weekends.  I think that many of these agents think that real estate is easy and everyone makes big money... we'll just have to see if they decide to keep their license at the next renewal

To be fair and balanced, I know some full time agents that aren't responsive or provide what I consider to be great service; lack of multiple photos, high quality marketing materials, etc.  Maybe they should get another job?

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

AJ and Jodee,

Great 2 cents.  Ann

Posted by Ann Hayden, SelectAnn.com (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri) over 10 years ago

Great post, would you hire some one that is not committed 100%.  We are suppose to be professionals.  a lot of people got into real estate cause they thought it was easy money. Wrong.

Posted by Steven Nickens, R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii (Elite Pacific Properties Maui) over 10 years ago

Sharon - Most do not do it well.

George - I noticed that too.  I kind of like not having them.  I wonder if it is temporary or permanent.

Ann - That is true.  Like I said, it is theoretically possible for a part time agent to be as good, but rarely happens.  If you were a consumer, why would you ever choose a part time agent?  They cost the same as a professional who does this for a living.  If they were successful at this they would not be holding another job.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Al & Jodee - I agree there are many full time agents who should look for another line of work also.  I also agree that to be part time and be able to do this at the highest level, you would have to be extraordinary.  If you were that extraordinary at this, you would be making your living at this and not something else.

Steven - I think that is the real point here.  We are supposed to be professionals.  Part time may be good for struggling agents, but is it good for the consumer?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Randy.....so well said and long overdue.  I certainly would not hire a part time brain surgeon or heart specialist.  I would want 100% dedicated to what they do.  We are suppose to be "Professionals"!

Posted by Pam Winterbauer, "Providing Blue Ribbon Service" (Pam Winterbauer Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Pam - I also look at my surgeon for the designations after his name.  I may or may not know what they are, but I know I need them.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Randy, Aloha y'all! You make a good case and I as a full time briker, I often use that fact when competeing with others, especially part timers. I also do not wnat to denigrate those folks but ther are only a couple i have dealt with in recent years that i would consider on the same level professionally. in austin, i have a friend who is part time but only does business with a small and dedicated SOI.

Thanks again for the post!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Russell - They are definitely an exception.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Randy.....alll those designations show we have paid extra attention to our education.

Posted by Pam Winterbauer, "Providing Blue Ribbon Service" (Pam Winterbauer Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Pam - I think they are important.  It lets the public know who serious we are about our profession.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Oh boy do I agree!  I am so tired of part time agents.  Now bbefore a part time agent wants to kill me I am talking about the part time agent who does not do their job.  They take a listing and don't check the sq ft or taxes... they dont market it... they wait for others to sell it.... they dont know about the coe... the mls rules and regs... how to enter a liting... what a blog is... need i continue? 

Posted by jp endres-fein (Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty) over 10 years ago


So true that part-timers can do a good job at selling real estate, or do mortgages, but full-timers normally can do better than that. There is a big difference in the overall approach.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago

JP - I see way too many agents like you described.

Esko - I think the word to focus on is can.  Very few do.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Good point...as one of my friends said though:  "Don't forget there are still plenty of "Full Time" agents doing "part time" work!

Posted by Reggie Owens (Owens and Associates, Keller Williams Realty,Central Partners) over 9 years ago

That may be true in this market.  Even when the market was hot a huge percentage of the agents did this as a hobby.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments