Ken's Naperville Real Estate Blog : ADVICE TO A FRIEND...


I was talking with a friend of mine from the office recently...

He is a newer agent.  He has been in the business for about a year.

He works part time as a waiter.  He really loves waiting tables.  He makes good money at it.  He takes pride in his work...

He has been working as a waiter two days a week, in order to devote more time at the real estate office...

He currently comes to the office 4 days a week, but sometimes finds it hard to stay productive all those office hours.

Money is tighter than he would like, and without a closing and Realtor dues to pay, he is questioning his dedication...

My advice was this...

Start working 4 or 5 nights a weeks as a waiter... 

He loves it.  He needs the money.  And heck, it is probably a great opportunity to network...

Cut down the hours at the office.  I know some agents need the structure of the office setting, but I have NEVER seen real estate as a 9 to 5 office job.

Go in once or twice a week.  Bust your butt.  Make your calls.  Write your notes.  Host open houses whenever possible...

Take one night's earnings and SPEND IT ON MARKETING.  If no one knows you are in business, you won't be in business for long...

Pick a neighborhood and start farming it.  Send out a monthly mailer.  $150 per week will buy a lot of marketing...

And give your business some time. 

Real estate takes time...


A Realtor you can trust. 


Comment balloon 23 commentsKen Tracy • April 22 2009 07:22PM


hmm  I would havee told him to quite his day job (waiting tables) because a hungry agent is an aggressive productive agent.. and I hate working deals with part time agents.. their clients suffer

Posted by Eric Reid (Renaissance Realty Group of Keller Williams Atlanta Partners) about 9 years ago

Go Advice Ken! The market is not the strongest and the economy is rough too. So working another job is a great way to keep the bills being paid. With all the people he meets he could leave his card in every check he leaves at the table.

Posted by Marcie Purcell, Realtor, Bucks & Montgomery Co PA (Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Really good advice, Ken.  He also needs to define a niche, something he is passionate about.  But he really does need to make a plan and then take the steps to achieve his plan's goals.


Posted by Kathy Toth, Ann Arbor Real Estate Experts - Kathy Toth Team (Ann Arbor Market Center Keller Williams) about 9 years ago

Great advice-he needs to dedicate himself the the choice to make it happen.

Posted by Pat Champion, Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs (Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty) about 9 years ago

Ken - it is good advice for someone who is hungry, however it is difficult to split your time between two jobs. For me, this is a full time career.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate - Arbor Real Estate (Arbor Real Estate) about 9 years ago

I am with Eric on this one.  If he cannot devote his time full time I dont want to get one of his offers that needs lots of help to go through.  Pick one or the other sometimes the hungriest realtors are the most productive and sharp ones out there.  He will suffer for a little bit until he gets his feet off the ground.

Posted by Carol Perez (Tarbell Realtors) about 9 years ago

An agent working nights does not seem so bad. He can still respond to offers. If he is working 4 days a week in the office now, I doubt he change in hours will affect him.

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) about 9 years ago

Hi Gary, Carol, Sharon, Pat, Kathy, Marcie, and Eric.  Thanks for stopping by.

My thought is very little of a new agents time is spent actually negotiating...

I think he could keep up just fine...

And build up his business, online, offline, etc...

Thanks so much!


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) about 9 years ago

It is tought to do real estate and something else; however sometimes very necessary.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker about 9 years ago

Hi Ken ~ I burned through 10s of thousands of dollars when I was starting in real estate - in a much better time.  While I do tend to think it's always best to do this full or more than full time, I think it's really hard right now to survive as a new agent.  Your advice is very good *if* the agent can really really focus during the time he's doing real estate work.


Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) about 9 years ago

Ken-I think you gave great advice to this new agent, I once worked with a new agent that also was a waiter, and in time he was able to quit his waiter job and is now a full time successful Realtor.

Posted by Joseph D. Federico, Eastern Massachusetts Real Estate (Donahue Real Estate Co.) about 9 years ago

Hi Ken ~ Your advice should help the new agent quite a bit. His waiter job makes him happy, he is earning money and being around people is a great way to market, if he wishes, real estate!

Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) about 9 years ago

Hi Ken!
You did your friend a great service...mainly because he is doing something he loves and earns good money from.  If this is the case, there is nothing wrong with a career in it. There are a couple of restaurants I go to that has had the same waiters for over 20 years.  I love going in there and having them help us...and they must love it because there are intelligent men who could do something else!

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) about 9 years ago

Hi Ken... it's a tough call for me to make for someone else... I can see benefits/opportunities in both scenarios.  The bottom line is that each agent knows his/her own financial situation and how he/she works best.  I think your advice shows a lot of thought and logic.  My advice would be to your colleague would be to do what feels right based on his circumstances.

Posted by Steve Shatsky about 9 years ago

Hi Steve, Paula, Terry, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Richard.  Thanks for reading.

And thanks for all the well thought out comments.

He is a good guy that may be getting a bit disenchanted because of the hard times.  I am just trying to get him throught to the other side.

Thanks again everyone,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) about 9 years ago

I would have given him that advice also. I own a hair salon and know it is possible to do both. Why? Being a waitress or being a salon owner we come in contact with up to 50-70 people a day and can talk real estate to many, Some full time agents sit at their dest and wonder why they are not busy. My reply is get social.....go where there is people and talk real estate.

Posted by Nannette Hilliard, CDPE, ABR, CRS (Century 21 Zwygart Green County Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Ken--I have to say spend more time doing real estate.  This is not a part time business, however a few part timers have been successful.  I know a waitress who wears her real estate name badge when she waits tables and picks up clients on the two night she works.

I quit my full time teaching job and worked twice as many hours getting my real estate career off the ground.

Each person has to find what works for them.  I wish him the best.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Hi Ken,

I can see both sides of this one but sitting in the office with other agents isn't going to make your colleague any money unless he is prospecting.

Working nights could be dual purpose for now.  Make some money plus social network.  He really is prospecting as he is talking to people and that is what we are supposed to do on a regular basis.

I don't know if his boss would be too happy about him passing his cards out to everyone but I'm sure he hears lots of "real estate" conversations.

Being hungry for some agents may be motivating but for others it can cause anxiety and depression.

Posted by Jenny Kotulak, Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate (RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Hi Jenny, Mary, and Nannette.  Thanks for reading.

I do think it possible to do both.  I split a lot of my time as a full time dad, but am able to grow my business at the same time.

Thanks for all the thoughtful opinions.


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) about 9 years ago

If he listens to you he might go all the way.  It is great that you are helping him.  Thanks for sharing and I wish you the best.

Posted by Nate Rowe, Realtor, Homes in Richmond VA (Oakstone Properties, Homes in Richmond VA ) about 9 years ago

Hi Nate.  Wow.  Thanks.

I hope I go all the way too!:)


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) about 9 years ago



I think your advice was great. I liked the idea you gave about spending one night's earnings on marketing. What a fabulous idea.  Good luck to your friend.

Posted by Vanna Siackhasone, Anchorage Real Estate 907-720-4663 (Real Estate Brokers of Alaska 907-720-4663) about 9 years ago

Hi Vanna.  Thanks much for reading.

I thought it was a pretty good idea, but opinions are mixed.

I hope all is well,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) about 9 years ago

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