Unlicensed Real Estate Side Hustles
A funny term to many when they first hear it. The concept is modeled after the way bird dogs behave.
Bird dogs are dogs who are trained to retrieve birds for hunters. A hunter shoots a duck or a goose or whatever and the dog is sent to retrieve the bird wherever it falls. When the dogs retrieve the birds, they get treats and pats.
In real estate, bird dogs have a slightly different function. They work for real estate investors by bringing them deals. The deals in this case are people who would like to talk about selling their houses to those real estate investors.
The bird dog’s function is to initiate contact with the potential seller, have a conversation with them and introduce them to the investor when they have shown interest in selling. When the investor purchases a property that was brought to them by the bird dog, the bird dogs treat is a check. The fees for bird dogs are negotiable, but it’s common for the fees to be in the $2000-$5000 range. That seems to be the general range even in modestly-priced markets. Because the investors who use bird dogs are buying properties at a steep discount, the $3000-$5000 number is easy for them to justify.
A different way to think about it is to think of bird dogs as the middle-men or middle-women in these transactions. They do the work of identifying potential sellers and getting the deal started, then getting out of the way and collecting a fee for making the introduction to the the investor.
Investor support–marketing and advertising
You’ve probably see those signs around town, “We buy houses for cash” or “sell your house fast” and various related phrases. They’re typically found at busy intersections and sometimes they are written on a piece of poster board with a Sharpie.
Those are called “bandit signs” and they are a common tool of real estate investors to get potential sellers to call them. Bandit signs are designed to look cheap and unprofessional, but don’t be fooled. The people on the other end of the telephone are very sophisticated and they are looking for steeply discounted properties.
By aiming their marketing at those who need to sell fast, they are looking for people in distressed situations (like pre-foreclosure) or distressed properties (like a house that needs major repairs but the owners can’t afford to fix it). Those situations provide opportunities for investors to buy properties at a steep discount by quickly solving the problems of the owners with cash.
The side hustle opportunities here are to use your marketing and advertising skills to generate seller leads for investors. Creating and placing bandit signs around town is a part-time job by itself because the signs are removed on a regular basis. In some cases, the signs are on property where they are not legally allowed (public sidewalks, utility poles, etc.) I have only heard of a few cases where a city has levied fines for improper sign placement, but it’s always a possibility so do your homework.
You can apply the bandit sign approach to marketing and advertising in other places as well–classified ads, online ads, postcards and so on. With a little effort, you should be able to find investors in your area who will pay you to handle their marketing for them. You may even be able to get paid twice if you handle the marketing AND you are getting paid as a bird dog for houses the investors purchase. Double-dipping side hustles are pretty great.
Investor or landlord
The real estate side hustle opportunities on the investor side of the business are plentiful as well. The easiest one is to become a landlord yourself, or invest in a rental property with a few friends. You don’t need a license to be a landlord and getting a mortgage for an investment property is a straightforward process.
There are all sorts of horror stories about landlords who have tenants from hell or properties that require constant repairs, so do your research here. Just because a property is inexpensive doesn’t mean it’s a good deal.
A great place for information on how to be a landlord and expected hurdles is Biggerpockets.com. Well-meaning friends, colleagues and family members will often repeat common misconceptions about being a landlord like, “I would never be a landlord because don’t want to fix broken toilets.” Plumbers are available for rental properties just like they are for your primary residence. It’s not hard to figure out.
Content Creator/Real Estate Blogger
It is possible to make money writing a blog. One option is writing for an existing blog that pays writers. Another option is to start your own blog.
If you start your own blog, you’ll need to invest more time and effort in the beginning to generate a following and eventually make passive income. If you’re passionate about real estate, writing, and making an income on the side, it could be a great investment.
I believe many agents are starting to realize how important it is in today’s market to have a real estate blog. I also believe that many agents are intimidated because they don’t know what to write about. Great news for you! If you go to Pinterest, you’ll actually see there are so many pins related to real estate. And if you click on the pin, it will take you to a blog. Start looking at various real estate blogs and you’ll see that there’s an endless amount of blog posts that you can write around real estate. Anything that can help buyers, sellers, homeowners or other agents along their real estate journey will do well.