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Trulia Houst…, Other/Just Looking in Houston, TX

What differences do you see between full-time and part-time agents?

Asked by Trulia Houston, Houston, TX Mon Apr 1, 2013

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Your decision to hire an agent shouldn't be based solely on "full vs. part" time. The decision should be based on the individual agent, their experience/production levels, and their personal attention to you.

I know part-time agents that sell millions of dollars of real estate each year, every year. I would trust any of them to sell my house - over an agent who labels who is technically "full-time", but got their license a month ago and hasn't sold a thing yet. "Full-time" means nothing if you are spending 40+ hours a week sitting in an office on floor time waiting for phone calls. Production and experience is what really matters.

Additionally - if your agent is "full-time" - but trying to juggle more business than they can handle - then yes - from a production point of view they are successful........but in terms of individual service and responsiveness to YOU and only you, they might as well be part-time. How much time will they be dedicating to you - if they have 35 other clients calling and emailing them on a daily basis.

There are differences between full and part time agents - however the differences are often not a result of the labels. They are simply a result of the level of dedication, responsiveness, and personal service that the individual agent provides. Interview them and ask the tough questions - any agent worth their weight will welcome the opportunity to sell themselves and explain specifically "why" their service outshines the competition.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
It depends how well you manage you time, quite frankly.

There are part-time agents in my office that run circles around some of the full-time agents in terms of production and income. As Mack correctly states - it depends what they are doing with the rest of their time.

My 1st year in real estate, I worked part-time as a buyer's agent. I was told to save my money because I wouldn't sell anything for a least 6 months, and maybe not at all since I was part-time. I went on to sell over 3 million dollars or residential real estate and outproduced many of the full-time agents who have been in the business for 15-20 years. Not a huge number - but I was happy with it being my very first year. I found that there are still a large number of agents who are working harder, not smarter - and stuck in the same practices that, while effective 20 years ago, aren't necessarily effective or efficient now.

In real estate, most agents are going to try and use their years of experience, and production against the agents that don't have as much. The full timers are going to tell you that they are going to service you better than the part timers. The teams are going to tell you that they can service you better than the full timers. The top producers are going to tell you that they can service you better than the "medium" producers...etc. etc. etc.

At the end of the day, ask prospective agents the right questions - and choose one that is the best fit for you. Whether full, part-time, or the head of a "team" - ask for references and get a 1st hand account of how they conduct business. If you aren't getting the level of responsiveness you demand from your agent, and not getting your questions answered correctly - it's time to find a new agent who will service you better.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
As with most things in life what you get out of something is directly related to how much you are willing to put into it. I know many part-time agents who have chosen that path for valid reasons and are quite good at what they do and are contented with the results it produces. In the final analysis I think it depends on the person more than anything including whether they are pursuing it full or part time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
Hmmm, would you want a part time surgeon, dentist or lawyer? I don't know but it seems to me a part-time agent is saying they really are not all about real estate. Personally if I were looking to buy or sell I would want someone fully committed.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 1, 2013
Trulia,

The big difference I see is an experience level. From dealing with the ever changing contracts to the fast pasted technology, the part time agents tend to not worry about those issues and are resolved to let the full time agent deal with paperwork and other parts of the transaction for them. The full time agents know they are working with a part time agent and can work that to their clients advantage.

Sure, there are brokers out there that will assist their own agents to the degree they want to assist regarding some paperwork, but most of these part time agents are in very large, no-fee, type brokerages that give them little to no assistance and honestly don't worry about the paperwork or legal issues unless they are called out.

I think the issue is professionalism. Is this a real career for you or simply a past time? If you want to sell real estate, make sure you understand all aspects of the business and do more than the minimum education requirements required by TREC.

Mark McNitt
m 832-567-4357
Bernstein Realty, Inc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 1, 2013
I know many part-time agents who do just as good a job as full-time agents. A broker in my area has a stable of about 30 agents, half of whom are part time, and they do as many deals as any other office in the area of a similar size. The key appears to be that the broker/owner has worked out how to use licensed office staff to make sure nothing falls between the cracks. The part-time agent ends up taking a lower commission, but they've found a way to make their team approach work.
But I agree with those who say that a part-time agent with a standard contract will probably cause themselves and their clients a lot of frustration.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 1, 2013
Part time agent means part time service. Full-time agent usually means more experience which allows the agent to better serve their principle (Buyer or Seller). I am not sure if I would want a part time surgeon handling my surgery. Now to be fair to part time agents, agency does not require the same skills a surgeon may need and for the same token, there are many experienced agents that choose to become part time agents in the latter part of their career. The best thing to do while interviewing agents is to ask plenty of questions so that you, the principle, can obtain the service which you are looking for. Also, remember that the larger real estate firms have intensive training for their newer agents and are usually supervised by experienced senior personnel.

Roland J. Northland
A VERY EXPERIENCED AGENT
877-258-8462
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 1, 2013
The question probably should be practicing & experienced vs. part-time, followed by area of expertise. Let’s face it for the most part this industry of “Realtors” is a sham. You won’t go to your doctor and allow them to perform surgery on you if they had only done 6 procedures (transactions) last year, even if they performed 20 last year you still would not be thrilled, but if they say I do this procedure just about every day then you feel confident they are practiced at their trade. My point is this: the “business model” / pyramid scheme we use in this system encourages less professionalism, part time agents with no clue about the 100 plus page contract and it’s all to benefit the franchises & brokers. Part time agents can be successful if they can operate at a high level: meaning answering their phone from 8-6 every day, turning 20 plus transactions per year, creating an area of expertise then focusing on that area. We as an industry need CHANGE but the money is still on the side of big business and thanks to our excellent marketing the consumer is uninformed of the truth.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 7, 2013
The difference is just that.....time. Part time agents may not the discretionary time to drop what they are doing a take a buyer to see a new listing that has just come on the market or participate in ongoing education or any number of other activities that agents do on a daily basis Our time isn't always our own.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 6, 2013
Rushing to the defense of part time agents....... Quality always supersedes quantity!! I worked as a full time police officer and part time real estate agent. I wanted nothing more than to leave my gun belt at home, throw on a dress, and move some property. Working between shifts, after hours, weekends, holidays, whenever I possibly could........ even "illegal" phone calls while on duty, in between chasing bad guys and writing reports. After a couple of years I saved enough moolah to throw down the badge and affix an iphone permanently to my face! Although I was only part time for a period, my actions and intentions were completely committed to my clients. I worked hard and attended to every detail. Being part time does not mean you are less educated, certified, knowledgeable, etc. It only means you are not tied to a desk Monday - Friday.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
I just had this conversation with a team member yesterday. He has a full time job with benefits and does real estate on the side. He told me that he doesn't like to let his clients know that he is a "part timer" in real estate. I recommend full disclosure from the start.

The only real difference I see is the availability of the part timers. Are they able to show homes during the day on a Wednesday? More than likely not.

That said, there have been many times when my wife and I weren't available for showings during the day on a Wednesday because we were with other clients. Is that better than not being able to because of a full time job? I don't know.

If I needed a Realtor, I would want one with full time knowledge of the market and procedures. It wouldn't make a difference to me if he was "full time" or not.

Very good question!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
Depends on what they spend the other part of their time doing and how much time they are considering to be "part time."

I used to be "part time" but the other part of my time was spent doing marketing for real estate companies so it actually helped strengthen my business because it kept my finger on the pulse of other markets and real estate categories (commercial, foreclosures, etc). I ran the business from my home, so it didn't stop me from responding to emails or scheduling showings. I was just as accessible, but technically part time.

I do prefer being full time though. It keeps my focus on real estate, generating business and following up. I'm not spread so thin.

Part time and full time agents can be equally effective and successful, they can also be equally frustrating and inaccessible. It depends more on the agent than their part/full-time status.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
Sometimes you've got and stop to ask yourself, "I'm making the single largest purchase of my life. What type of professional real estate practitioner do I want to hire to guide me through this process?"

I bet if you pose this question to yourself 3x's you'll get the same answer every time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
It depends on what they're doing with the rest of their time. For example, a part-time Trulia question-writer may use the rest of their work time with other real-estate-related activities, that isn't necessarily bad.

A lot of "part-time" agents are actually full-time in real estate; they may manage their own properties, for example, which is still being active in real estate.

After the crash, we saw half as many transactions and at 25% lower prices (and commissions), so a lot of agents had to find other means of income.

It is said that you need to put in 10,000 hours to become expert at something, so for a half-time real estate agent, that would be . . . ten years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
PART TIMERS
Limittd access
Limited availabiliyt
Limited resouruces
Reduced personal accountability
Know who is doing what at this tme?
Limited oversight (a major compenset of what a professional provides)
When an issue arises, do you call the agent. the broker, the office help, prayer hotline?
Knowing there is ALWAYS a higher priority than buying or selling your home.

Other than that, NO PROBLEM!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
"You get out what you put in." "Knowledge is power." I could be here all day. Review the question. Full or part? Exactly right.


Joe Cano - Realtor/Locator
(281) 785-5132
Web Reference: http://joelocator.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 1, 2013
Each Real Estate transaction has solid principal parts that are basic to each transaction - But...negotiating and navigating through "the deal" takes an e x p e r ie n c e d Savvy Real Estate Professional. Each deal is different and each has much to offer in the way of Experience. Valuable tools that both buyers and sellers rely on.

Hope this answers your question, without my saying, these tools are hard to come by when doing Real Estate part time, and could cost you the Seller / Buyer money.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 1, 2013
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