Which Real Estate Side Hustle Is Right for You?

According to a recent survey, 39% of adult Americans have a side hustle. Half of millennials have one, and more than half of Gen Zers do as well.

So, chances are you either have one or know about them. But just in case you don’t… 

A side hustle is essentially an entrepreneurial venture that you can undertake part-time without the need to give up your regular job. The appeal lies in the opportunity it provides for making extra income, increasing your skills, exploring new areas of interest, and even testing the waters for a potential career switch.

Real Estate as a Side Hustle

The real estate industry is renowned for its potential to generate wealth, and it offers various niches that can suit different interests, skills, and risk capacities. A side hustle in real estate could provide a relatively passive income stream, serve as a creative outlet, or provide a stepping stone toward full-time involvement, depending on the chosen niche. 

Do all Real Estate Side Hustles Involve Selling?

While many real estate side hustles involve sales, not all of them do — at least not in the traditional real-estate-agent-wanting-to-sell-your-house sense. So, if sales are not your thing, there are still a number of lucrative real estate side hustles to consider. 

Do Real Estate Side Hustles Require a License? 

Just because a side hustle involves some aspect of real estate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a license is required. Some do; some don’t. But even where a license is not required, it can be useful because the educational requirements of getting licensed can give you the skills and understanding to carry out the side hustle to its full potential. And, in many instances, having a license will give you the credibility that will influence critical stakeholders to participate in your venture. 

So, without further ado, let's dive into some promising real estate side hustles.

13 Real Estate Side Hustles

Here are 13 real estate side hustles you might be interested in. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should be enough to whet your appetite and get you considering the possibilities. 

Property Manager

As a property manager, you'll be responsible for the day-to-day management of real estate properties for landlords who lack time or expertise. Tasks might include collecting rent, arranging repairs, and finding tenants. 

Having a property management license will always be helpful and, in some states, is mandatory. Make sure you know what the state requires where you live. Startup costs are relatively low, and income will depend on the number and type of properties you manage.

Flipping Homes

Flipping homes involves buying a property, typically at a low price (thanks to its need for renovation or repair), improving it, and then selling it at a much higher price. Costs associated with this venture include the cost of the property, renovation expenses, property taxes, insurance, utilities, and transaction costs such as realtor's fees and closing costs. The total expense, therefore, can vary greatly depending on the individual property and its condition. 

A real estate license is not necessary to flip homes but could be beneficial when looking for deals, understanding the market, and saving on commission when selling the property. In fact, the costs associated with getting a real estate license can be easily earned back by the profits of your first flip. So, if you’re going to commit to this side hustle long-term, getting licensed makes a lot of sense. 

House Hacking 

House hacking is an innovative strategy whereby you rent out part of your primary residence to offset your mortgage costs. This side hustle is perfect for persons able to accommodate additional occupants in their residence, such as in a duplex or a home with a separate basement suite. You’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of taking in short-term Airbnb renters vs. accommodating long-term tenants. Either way, it’s a nice toe-dip into property management. 

House hacking doesn't require a license, and the upfront costs are primarily tied to the mortgage down payment and any necessary renovations. Income potential will be determined by the rent you can command in your locale, but every dollar generated directly reduces your housing cost and builds equity.


Wholesaling in real estate involves entering into a contract with a home seller and then assigning that contract to an interested cash buyer. The wholesaler makes a profit from the difference between the contracted price and the final sale price. The upfront costs are relatively low – mainly associated with marketing and administrative duties. The potential income can be highly variable, anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars per deal. 

This side hustle requires no license — if handled properly — but a license and experience in real estate would be helpful because you want to stay on the right side of state laws. The important legal distinction with wholesaling as opposed to engaging in real estate (which would require a license) is that you disclose that you do not hold legal title to the property but are selling the contractual rights to the property. 

Rental Properties

Investing in rental properties involves purchasing property and renting it out to tenants. This can be an apartment, house, condo, or a multi-family dwelling. While potentially requiring a sizeable upfront investment (down payment, closing costs, and initial repairs), rental properties can provide a significant and steady stream of income, even after considering expenses like mortgage, taxes, and maintenance. And if your profit margins are strong enough, you could turn over the day-to-day operations to a property management company and have this side hustle provide you with an almost completely passive income. 

Getting a real estate license isn't necessary, but it can help you understand local laws and recognize potential deals. 

Leasing Agent

Becoming a leasing agent can be an engaging real estate side hustle where you can assist property owners in finding renters for their properties. As a leasing agent, your responsibilities would frequently include marketing rental properties, handling potential tenants’ inquiries, arranging property viewings, and facilitating the paperwork associated with lease agreements.

Getting involved in this field does involve some costs. Depending on your location and the specific circumstances, you'll likely need a real estate license to legally operate as a leasing agent. 

REIT Investing

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are companies that own, operate, or finance real estate. Investing in REITs allows you to reap the benefits of real estate investment without having to buy, manage, or finance any properties yourself. Because there is no ceiling on investment, it is possible to start with relatively small amounts, making it accessible for most people. 

Like stocks, REITs are highly liquid, meaning that they are easily bought and sold. 

While a real estate license is not required, being licensed and experienced as a real estate agent will likely make you a more savvy REIT investor than most. 

Property Tax Appeals

A side hustle handling property tax appeals involves representing homeowners in the dispute of their property tax assessments with the county tax assessor’s office and negotiating for lower rates. Your fee would come as a portion of the reduced property tax amount. 

No license requirement here, but a critical piece to successful client representation hinges on your ability to perform a persuasive comparative market analysis (CMA) — a skill that you would learn from the courses required to get licensed. So, yes, a license would be helpful. 

Bird Dogger 

Bird dogging is about scouting out potential investment properties and passing the information to investors. Typically, if the investor ends up purchasing the property, they will pay the bird dogger a finder’s fee. As you gain experience while getting paid to do this for others, you use your earnings to invest in properties yourself. 

This activity does not require a license (as long as you are not facilitating the actual transaction), has low startup costs, and can provide varied income, depending on how successful your leads are.

Virtual Assistant

A Real Estate Virtual Assistant helps real estate professionals by handling administrative tasks remotely. Typical tasks might include managing listings, handling marketing, and responding to inquiries, among others. 

Minimal startup costs (for your workspace and essential office equipment), no licensing requirements, and the potential for a steady income make this an excellent side hustle. 


Real estate blogging involves sharing insights, tips, and advice about the real estate market. While it might not yield immediate income and requires consistent content creation, successful real estate blogs can become profitable through advertising, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing. 

No license is required, and startup costs are minimal (website setup and maintenance).

Mobile Notary 

Notaries public provide document certification services, which are often needed in real estate transactions. After becoming a certified notary, you can offer these services and charge a fee per signature. While certification does involve an upfront cost and possible ongoing fees, the income potential is fairly steady. And for those with a day job, this side hustle is a great choice, as most signings occur in the evenings. 

Education and certification requirements vary by state. 

Drone Photography

Drone photography is increasingly popular in real estate marketing, particularly with luxury properties. Starting this side hustle would require an investment in a quality drone and possibly a commercial drone license, dependent on local regulations. Earnings can potentially be quite attractive for this creative and fun side hustle. 

So Many Side Hustles, So Little Time

As you can see, there are numerous ways to make money in real estate without making it a full-time career. 

While some side hustles may require more experience, investment, and risk than others, there are opportunities to suit various preferences and circumstances. Again, this list is not all-inclusive — there are other real estate side hustles to investigate! Whatever you decide, always undertake thorough research and possibly get professional advice before diving in. Happy hustling! 

If your chosen side hustle requires a real estate license or could benefit from you having one, we are here to help! Enroll in your pre-license courses and start working toward your real estate license now!

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Michael Rhoda

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