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Ways to Make Money with a Real Estate License (Without Selling a Home)

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Many people start a career in real estate as part time, working around other responsibilities, such as family or other obligations. Some might want to ease into the profession while keeping another job. In either of these situations, real estate might be used as a way to earn supplemental income.

But, why limit yourself? Your real estate license opens up many ways to make income without selling a home. Perhaps working as a real estate agent is the primary focus, but you are interested in supplementing THAT. Yeah, that is possible, too. You might want to check out: Can I Start Real Estate for Just “Extra” Income?

Here are some ways that getting a real estate license can create additional money-making opportunities for you.

  • Become a Referral Agent

  • Create a Downline of Agents

  • Establish Yourself as a Real Estate Authority

  • Become a Licensed Assistant

  • Represent Yourself in a Transaction

Become a Referral Agent

Can agents make money if they aren’t involved in the transaction? Yes, as a Referral Agent. Referral Agents make money by sending their clients to another agent who handles the transaction. The Referral Agent brought the client to the other agent, so they receive a referral fee when the deal closes. The typical referral fee is 20-25% of the other agent’s commission. So, if their commission is $30,000 and there is a 25% referral fee, then that’s $7,500. Not bad for essentially making a phone call.

You might wonder why someone would want to be a referral agent. Actually, there can be lots of reasons. Let’s say you have a lot of family in a city that is four hours away. Maybe when Uncle Steve wants to buy a home, you refer him to a trusted agent in that town for a referral fee.

Perhaps you have another job that you plan to keep, and it provides a lot of leads of people. Refer them out! You might enjoy: Do Real Estate Agents have High Job Satisfaction?

Create a Downline of Agents

Once you find the office that you are very happy with, it is natural to talk about it to others, like agents who are looking for a brokerage, or friends who are getting into real estate. Creating a downline means that if you recruit others to your office, they are “under” you. Once these recruited people close on a transaction, you get a commission. Pretty cool, huh?

Brokerage policies can vary widely on this subject. Some might have a small amount you receive as the recruiter. Some might have a time restraint, such as only getting rewarded for the first 12 months. Some might only pay on agents that are directly under you. But some brokerages really focus on value of recruiting. They might pay you on the folks you brought in, and you get paid on the folks they brought in, and you get paid when the brought-ins brought-ins bring someone in, and it goes on for several levels. It is like starting your own company, with everyone working to bring you money. You can make substantial income off of this aspect alone for years and years.

So, if this concept is important to you, be sure you understand the office policies on this before you decide on a brokerage. Creating a downline can be a lucrative (and passive) way to make a lot of money with your license. This could help: How to Choose the Best Brokerage for You.

Establish Yourself as a Real Estate Authority

Becoming an authority of areas in real estate just takes research. You can be an authority of an area, like a neighborhood or small town. You could be an authority of a type of property, such as horse property or historical homes. You could also be an authority of new concepts to the market, such as smart homes or green homes.

All of these, and countless others, would give you a great basis for a niche for your career. But, before you sell your first house, there are many additional ways to make money by being an authority. Here are a few ideas:

  • Consultant

  • Instructor

  • Content Creator

You can use your license as a consultant. Perhaps establish an hourly position to consult with investor clients, offering unique places to find properties, create Broker Opinions of Value, help clients understand a niche (like historical homes), etc.

You could also become an instructor. Real estate schools are always interested in dynamic instructors to lead classes. You could also work in your brokerage as one of their educators.

Perhaps you feel most comfortable writing. Many agents know the value of excellent content for their websites or blogs, but do not have the time (or desire) to create it. You could be a content creator for real estate. Write articles, blogs, make newsletters, place info on Facebook… so much to do! Content creators can get paid for learning and teaching about real estate. Check out: Turn Your Love of Social Media into a Successful Real Estate Business

Become a Licensed Real Estate Assistant

Becoming a real estate assistant can be a good choice for someone starting part-time in real estate. It allows you to learn the ropes while making money. There are many real estate assistants out there without licenses. But, legally, they are not allowed to many tasks that are very helpful to the employing agent or team. Therefore, a LICENSED assistant is very valuable. Consequently, you might be able to design your position to your needs. You want part-time, working primarily at home, with availability to work in office/ open houses/community events every other Saturday… yeah, you can probably find that.

If you would decide to go this route, be very clear on what you want before you start interviewing, so you can get what you want. This could help: Top New Agent Choices: Assistant v Team v Solo

Representing Yourself in a Real Estate Transaction

If you are buying or selling a property, you can represent yourself: it’s a great opportunity to save on costs and commission. But, those that can really take advantage of representing yourself are investors.

Many real estate agents become investors, and many investors get a license because it makes being an investor more profitable, efficient, and easier.

Speed is everything when it comes to profitable investing (whether it is a fix and flip, or a buy and hold strategy). With a real estate license, investors are able to see the properties right as they hit the market; they don’t have to be notified from their agent. They don’t have to wait for their agent to return their call to schedule a showing, they can do that themselves. The investor can immediately pull comparable listings and see what the potential value is, before they even go to see it. They are in a better position to make an offer before other investors. Check out: Why Do People Choose a Real Estate Career.


When people think of a real estate agent, they think of the folks finding their buyer the perfect home. And, yes, that might be the majority of the folks that have their license. But, the value of a real estate license doesn’t end there; there are many ways to make money with a real estate license. You might like: How Do You Start a Successful Real Estate Career

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