55 Ways You Could Be Making Money In Real Estate
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Making money in real estate doesn’t have to be difficult. Not with so many different ways to do it!
In fact, we’ve come up with 55 different ways you could be making money in real estate. You just need to choose your methods and commit.
Quick note: with so many money-makers to cover, we’re not able to do a deep-dive on each one in this post. But don’t worry. Many are self-explanatory, and for those that aren’t, we’ll link to other resources so you can get more information.
55 Ways You Could Be Making Money In Real Estate
To add some order to this giant list, we’re going to divide our money-making methods into 5 categories:
- Traditional Methods for Making Money in Real Estate
- Making Money in Real Estate Through Online Content
- Adding Services to Your Business
- Creating Products
- Making Money in Real Estate Through Investments
Let’s jump in, shall we?
Traditional Methods for Making Money in Real Estate
We’re going to start with some well-established ways of making money in real estate through traditional means. Many of these are “day jobs” in the real estate industry. And the rest are classic real estate side incomes.
1. Facilitating Real Estate Transactions
When you think of making money in real estate, you think of real estate agents, right? So of course it snagged the top spot on our list.
2. Referrals to Other Agents
Do you have a seller who’s moving out-of-state? Refer them to another agent! Most agents pay a referral fee somewhere between 20 and 35%. That’s a solid payout for taking a few minutes to connect people!
3. Residuals from Other Agents
Some real estate firms offer residuals to agents who bring in other agents. If you bring another agent into your firm, you make a small cut on all the business that new agent brings to the firm. Again, you’re getting paid to connect people. Even better, you’re getting paid to help other agents succeed.
4. Start Your Own Brokerage
Want to make a cut on all the sales from an entire office full of real estate agents? Love the business side of real estate more than the sales side? Maybe you should open your own brokerage.
5. Coaching Real Estate Agents
If you’ve found ways to be uber successful as a real estate agent, you can share your knowledge with other real estate agents by becoming a real estate coach. Think Tom Ferry or Brian Buffini.
6. Specializing as a Transaction Coordinator
Do you genuinely love the paperwork and the to-do list for closing the transaction? How about specializing as a transaction coordinator? Many agents want to focus on the interpersonal relationships with clients instead of the nitty-gritty transaction work. So they’ll gladly pay a transaction coordinator to handle it for them.
7. Residential Property Management
Instead of helping buyers find a new home, you can get paid to help renters find a new home. Property managers market rental properties, screen tenants, handle maintenance requests, and make sure rents are collected. It just takes a little organization to stay on top of your portfolio, so make sure you invest in some inexpensive, but effective, property management software.
8. Commercial Property Management
Similarly, you could enter commercial property management to do the same thing for commercial spaces like offices, retail storefronts, and even entire shopping centers.
9. Apartment Leasing
If you love the sales aspect of real estate, but struggle with the inconsistent income and evening hours, consider apartment leasing. Leasing agents typically work a standard 9-5 (although weekends are usually necessary) in large apartment communities. They focus on marketing the units, touring prospects through the community, and screening tenants.
The money can be good because there’s typically a base salary plus leasing commissions. I was able to make over $70K per year leasing apartments in Los Angeles.
10. Managing Vacation Rentals for Absentee Owners
Managing vacation rentals is somewhere along the same lines as property management, but it’s more labor-intensive because of the high turnover. Instead of moving in a tenant for 6 months to a year, vacation rentals may only be reserved for a single night.
Airbnb owners are finding that managing the process of short-term vacation rentals takes a lot more time than they originally anticipated. So they’re looking for managers to handle the reservations, turns, and general customer service.
11. Managing Flips for Out-of-Area Investors
If you have a knack for project management, maybe you could manage fix-and-flips for out-of area investors. In hot markets, you’ll often have out-of-area investors looking to get a piece of the local action, but it isn’t practical for them to manage a flip in person. So you can manage the project for them. Order all the materials, coordinate all the vendors, make sure everything runs on time and on budget.
You could charge a flat fee, an hourly fee, or even a percentage of the profit.
12. Executive Office Suite Management
Many people are unfamiliar with the concept of executive office suites. It’s basically shared office space. The executive suite company will lease an entire floor (or 2) of a high rise, and divide that floor into individual offices, which are then rented out to small businesses and solopreneurs. All the tenants on the floor share the amenities, like the conference rooms, kitchen, and a receptionist.
As the manager, you would be responsible for finding and screening office suite tenants and keeping all your tenants happy.
13. Be a Property Inspector
If you enjoy physically exploring structures, and have an eye for detail, you might make a good property inspector. It requires a certification, but you can make good money working during normal business hours.
14. Be an Appraiser
And if you’re a numbers person, who has more fun completing CMAs than showing homes, maybe appraisal would be the best way for you to make money in real estate. Certified appraisers are in demand under all market conditions. In a hot market, you’ll be appraising properties for new loans, and in a recession, you’ll be appraising REOs regularly.
Making Money in Real Estate Through Online Content
The great thing about making money through online content is that you’re probably already doing the hard part for free. It just takes a couple small steps to turn your hard work into income.
Here’s what I mean:
As a real estate agent, you should be blogging, podcasting, and/or broadcasting on your YouTube channel. The primary goals of creating online content are:
- To grow your online presence so buyers and sellers can find you online. It’s a killer prospecting strategy so you never have to door-knock or cold-call again!
- Demonstrate your knowledge and authority.
- Build a relationship with your followers so you’re always top of mind for business and referrals.
So you should be creating online content, even if only to boost your real estate transactions. Now, what if you could monetize that content? Have that content become its own passive income stream? Interested?
Here are 4 ways you could be making money in real estate through your online content.
15. Include Affiliate Links
Affiliate links are simply links on your blog, podcast, or YouTube Channel that help your audience get to a useful product or service. Think of them as automated referrals.
Here are the basics of affiliate links work:
- You apply to be an approved affiliate marketer with multiple affiliate programs (like Amazon.com affiliates for example).
- Once approved, you can generate custom links to your affiliates’ products and services.
- You insert these links into your blog where appropriate. If you’re writing a post on home-staging for example, you can link to a bunch of Amazon home decor products that would help with staging.
- When a reader clicks on your link and buys a product through your affiliate, you receive a small commission.
I love affiliate links for real estate blogs because they are so flexible. Amazon is one of the easiest affiliate programs to join, and they have almost everything your audience could need or want.
Writing a post about staging a home to sell? Include links to Amazon household items that will help. Writing a post for first time homeowners? Include a link to a quality tool kit because you know they’re going to need one!
And these links are a win, win, win. Your audience gets easy access to a useful product, you earn a commission, and the vendor makes a sale. Everyone wins!
Want more affiliate info? Check out The Top 5 Affiliate Networks for Real Estate Agents.
16. Add Ads
Ads are another option for monetizing your blog, podcast, or YouTube channel.
We use ads on this site because we provide 99% of our content for free, and the ads generate enough money to allow us to continue providing free content.
But be careful using ads on your real estate content. If the primary goal of your content is to drive new leads, let your audience focus on that, and don’t distract them with ads. But if you’re posting a piece of content purely to be helpful (useful homeowner tips or information about local events, for example), an ad might be appropriate.
You could use Google Ads (the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to add ads to your site), and get paid every time someone clicks on your ads. Or you can sell ad space to local businesses for a flat fee.
For more info, read How Do I Publish Ads on My Website?.
17. Publish Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is when someone pays you to create content that promotes their brand.
You see this a lot on food blogs. In the recipe, the blogger will recommend a specific brand of BBQ sauce, orange juice, refrigerated dough, or whatever. They’ll explain why that brand works better in the recipe than other brands, and they’ll tell you where to buy that brand. Most likely, that brand is paying for that post (although smart bloggers will only accept sponsored content they truly believe because doing otherwise will come back to bite you!).
If you’re creating a video for homeowners about how to change a light fixture, maybe your favorite electrician would like to sponsor the post. They would pay for you to say something about how “So-and-So Electrical is just a phone call away if you have any trouble.”
Prices for sponsored posts largely depend on how many viewers your posts typically get. If you’re fairly new, $20 is a good starting point. Once you have a large following, you can easily command hundreds for a sponsored post. And all for a post you were going to publish just to be helpful to your viewers and grow your online presence!
18. Create Members-Only Content
This is more involved, but can be an impressive income source when done right.
With the membership content model, your members pay a monthly, quarterly, or annual subscription fee to receive access to a library of information. This model is really popular in the health and fitness sector where readers will pay a monthly fee for fresh meal plans and workouts. It’s a perfect fit for that industry.
CoStar is an example of a membership content model in the real estate industry. You pay a periodic fee for ongoing access to constantly updated commercial real estate data like sale and lease information. You’ll also see this with real estate coaching sites, which charge a monthly fee for members to access templates and training materials.
Making Money in Real Estate by Adding Services to Your Real Estate Business
Adding services to your real estate business is a smart way to diversify your income. Especially if you can master a service that is most in demand when the real estate market is slow (like property tax appeals – more on that coming up!).
The difficult thing about services is that they require time. You need to spend time providing the service.
Think like an owner. Take on a business partner for the service expansion, or outsource it. You own the business, but you share the profits with your partner or pay someone to manage the day-to-day operations.
A word of caution: When providing real-estate related services, always be aware of potential conflicts of interest and ethical issues that could arise from providing multiple services to your brokerage clients. And there are certain services implied in your role as a real estate agent (like advice on home-staging and pre-sale repairs). Never withhold this advice or base it on your ancillary service businesses.
Having said that, here are 14 real estate related services to consider.
19. Property Tax Appeals
Property Tax Appeals is a completely untapped agent revenue stream! And it’s way easier than you’d think.
Here’s how it works:
- Property taxes are usually based on the County Assessor’s estimation of the value of the property. But Assessors are often wrong because they apply broad value increase formulas by submarket (they can’t possibly value each property individually every year).
- If the homeowner (or their representative – that could be you!) can show the County that the actual value of the property is less than the estimated value used to calculate their taxes, the homeowner will be granted a tax reduction.
- Then you earn a commission on the amount of the tax savings.
So this really involves a simple property valuation (most states don’t even require an appraisal), which you could complete as a real estate professional, and presentation of your valuation findings to the county taxing authority. Quite often the value presentation can even be presented via email or phone call!
The best part? Property tax appeals work best when values are declining (that’s when counties over-assess almost every property). And a down real estate market is when real estate sales slow. So if you learn property tax appeals, you’re basically recession-proofing your real estate business.
Learn more about this easy money in How to Make Money with Property Tax Appeals.
20. New Home Photo Shoots
We have engagement photos, pregnancy photos, and new baby photos. What’s missing? New home photos!
In the age of Instagram, new homeowners want to mark the milestone with a professional photo shoot of themselves in the home.
Help them do it! How to Make Money with New Home Photo Shoots.
Sure, you could recommend an outside home staging company to your sellers. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a pro stager on staff and share in the profits?
You get part of the staging fee plus a higher commission when the home sells for more, and your sellers net more on the sale with minimal hassle.
22. Home Repairs and Maintenance
Why not have a general handyman or handywoman on the payroll to help your former buyers with their inevitable home maintenance issues?
Your clients get someone reliable at a fair rate, and you get a new income stream.
23. Credit Repair
Credit repair goes hand-in-hand with getting buyers qualified for a mortgage.
If your buyers can’t qualify for financing without improving their credit scores, you can either send them packing or you can charge a fee to help with the credit plus make a commission on the eventual purchase!
24. Notary Services
Becoming a Notary is super simple. And you can make a little easy money on the side.
25. Content Writing
Everyone in this day-and-age needs a website. Therefore, everyone needs written content for their site. If you enjoy writing, you can make good money writing content for websites and blogs.
In fact, my primary source of income at the moment is ghostwriting real estate agent blogs. I write custom content for real estate agents to publish as their own work, under their own names. I love that I’m able to help busy agents keep up their online presence, and I’m able to make a living doing it!
Shameless plug: if you need someone to write the content for your blog, check me out!
26. Guiding Local Experiences
What unique experiences can you share in your city?
Consider some of these locals-only experiences:
- cooking classes featuring local ingredients and dishes unique to your region
- dance classes with local music and style
- yoga classes in the shadow of a local landmark
- outdoor art classes with local scenery as your subject
- a weekend camping trip in your state park
Or some of these guided tours as experiences:
- hiking tours to a local landmark
- kayak tours of your local waterways
- bicycle tours through your lively neighborhoods
- walking tours of the history of your city
- photography tours of your city’s most instagramable locations
- food tours of your best local cuisine
Your options are limitless! And you can easily work in the fact that you know everything about the area because you’re a local real estate agent.
With platforms like Vayable and Airbnb Experiences, it’s easier than ever to get started.
27. Landscape Design and Maintenance
Having in-house landscape design and maintenance is a great way to stay top of mind with homeowners who see your landscaping truck parked on the street every week while your landscapers are hard at work. And there’s money to be made in landscaping, particularly in the luxury market where most homeowners don’t handle their own yard work.
Painting services are especially useful to your investor clients who need help re-painting between tenants.
Same with cleaning. If your company can handle both the cleaning and the painting for your investor clients’ make-readies, you’re golden!
Roofing is hard work, so there’s plenty of money to be made in it for the people willing to handle it!
Offering bookkeeping services can make your investor clients’ lives easier. They may like owning the properties, but may not be detail-oriented enough to document all the income and expenses. If you have a mind for numbers, this is quick, easy, and fun work.
32. Home Organization
If you’re super organized, offering home organization services might not make sense to you. Because you think organization comes naturally to everyone.
Let me assure you, it does not.
Lots of people pay big money to have their homes organized. Just look at the popularity of Tidying Up on Netflix!
Making Money in Real Estate by Selling Products
Selling products provides one big benefit over providing services…it’s passive. You can create a product one time, and make money from that product for years to come.
Here are 5 ways to make money in real estate by selling products.
I’m going to guess that you have acquired some serious real estate knowledge and insight in your time as a real estate professional. Package that knowledge in an eBook and sell it!
You can sell exclusively through your own website or get more eyes on your product by self publishing on Amazon.com.
Learn more about Making Money with eBooks.
34. Digital Products
eBooks aren’t the only digital products out there.
You could create templates, design elements, printable wall art, calendars, mailers…use your imagination!
Etsy is a great place to get ideas for digital products that are selling. It’s also a great platform from which to start selling your digital products once they’re ready to hit the market. Transaction fees are minimal: just a $0.20 listing fee per item (which will cover the listing for 4 months) + a 5% transaction fee for each sale (that’s 5% of the price + any shipping).
Here are just a few genius ideas from Etsy that would be a great fit for real estate agents:
- Landlord helpers (lease agreement templates, renewals, move-in/move-out inspection sheets, etc)
- Change of address printable postcards
- Kids game printables (after all, you’re an expert in keeping kids busy so parents can focus on the home, right?)
Courses offer another way to package and present your knowledge. They also provide an opportunity to charge more than an eBook because they are more involved. And they allow you to support your students through the steps required to learn the material you’re teaching.
You have valuable skills and knowledge worth passing along! Share it with the world and add an income stream in the process.
Learn More: How to Create Online Real Estate Courses
36. Stock Photos
Have you ever had to select images for a website, mailer, or social media post? Someone took that photo, and they most likely make a little money every time it sells. You could do the same.
Selling stock photos online isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It takes some time to build a sizable bank of images and for your photos to gain momentum. But once they do, it’s basically free money.
Stock photos are highly competitive, so niche-down to find your specific audience.
Have some photos to sell? Get started today on these platforms (sign up with multiple platforms to reach a greater audience).
Learn more: How to Make Money Selling Stock Photos Online
37. Equipment Rental
If you’ve worked with first time homeowners, you know they usually buy a starter home requiring some fixes, and they don’t have the money (or need, really) to buy expensive DIY equipment, so they head to Home Depot and rent it.
Why not offer to rent your tools and equipment to them? In my experience, the rentals at Home Depot are often in poor condition, too expensive, and sometimes not even available for weeks at a time. You can provide a better rental experience!
I suppose equipment rental could be considered a service or a product. It’s not as passive as the other products we’ve discussed, but you have the added benefit of earning money on the same piece of equipment over and over.
Just for the love of God, make sure you get their credit card on file for a healthy deposit in case they somehow destroy your equipment.
Learn more: How to Make Money Renting Out Tools and Equipment.
Making Money in Real Estate through Investments
We just published an epic post on real estate investing: 18 Different Ways to Invest in Real Estate. Instead of going into that level of detail all over again, I’m just going to list the ways to invest in this post. If you want to learn more about any (or all!) of these methods, just check out that original post.
Buying Rental Properties
38. Single-Family Homes
39. Vacation Rentals
40. Multi-family Residential
43. Vacant Land
44. Fix and flip any property type
Investing Without Actually Buying a Property
46. Real Estate Investment Groups and Crowdfunding
48. Mutual Funds
50. Real Estate Notes
51. Hard Money Loans
52. Tax Liens and Tax Deeds
Renting Out Your Existing Space
53. A Room
Where to Start Making Money in Real Estate
With so many options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t make the mistake of trying to tackle 5 new income streams at once. Focus your efforts on just 1 or 2. Once those are trucking along on auto-pilot, you can add another.
Start with an income stream that:
- Compliments your existing real estate business
- Truly serves your clients and prospects; start with their needs
- Diversifies your income so you have some protection against changes in the real estate market
- Doesn’t take an unreasonable amount of time to start (though of course, they will all require some investment of time)
- Is fairly inexpensive to test and to start
- Can be managed relatively easily
- You can get excited about!
If you’re having a hard time choosing, I would start with online content. It ticks all the boxes, and since you should be creating content to promote your primary business anyway, it’s simple to implement.
And we have lots of free resources to help you start, or improve, your real estate blog (including tips for your website if you’re starting from scratch!) so you can quickly and easily add content income to your business.
All the best to you and your business!
The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks, and Jay Papasan
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor also by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks, and Jay Papasan
Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau
What Did We Miss?
Do you know of other ways we could be making money in real estate? Let us know in the comments!