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A Guide to Real Estate Side Hustles

Real estate offers many ways to generate extra income via a side hustle.

[Updated: Apr 14, 2021 ] May 18, 2020 by Matthew DiLallo
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If you're like most people, your current income level doesn't match your desires. Whether you want to buy a bigger house, take more vacations, send your kids to college, or gain your financial independence, your day job probably won't accomplish all your money goals as quickly as you'd like. You can, however, boost your cash flow by taking on a side hustle that brings in some extra money.

This guide will show you several ways to bring in some side income through real estate. While most real estate side gigs do require an up-front investment of time or money, the sector is one of the go-to sources to earn some extra income.

What is a real estate side hustle?

A side hustle is a job, either part-time or freelance work, that someone takes on in addition to their full-time employment so that they can generate supplemental income. One industry where it's easy to get a side gig is in real estate. Several options require little or no investment other than time, while others enable those who lack time, yet have some money, to earn passive income and more quickly grow their wealth.

What are some real estate side hustle ideas with little or no up-front investment?

Many people who are looking for a side gig need to earn extra cash because they don't make enough at their day job to pay their bills. Because of that, they can't afford to invest much money to start a side hustle. What's great about the real estate industry is that it offers several low or no-cost side jobs. Here are some real estate side hustle ideas that require more time than money.

Virtual assistant

A virtual assistant or VA is someone who helps clients (such as busy real estate agents) do tasks that they don't have time to do themselves. These can include managing appointments, responding to client requests, writing and sending personal newsletters, updating mailing lists, maintaining property listings, or creating marketing materials. You can perform all these tasks virtually, which makes it a great side gig. There are many ways to drum up VA business in real estate, including checking out job postings and freelancing websites like Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK) or hustling up some work by contacting real estate agents to see if they could use the services of a VA.

Real estate agent

Speaking of real estate agents, while it's a day job for many, it can be a great side gig, especially since agents can do much of their work in the evening or on weekends. Becoming a real estate agent, however, does take an upfront investment of both time and money to earn a license. However, that investment could turn into a lucrative side hustle.

Real estate blogger/financial writer

Those who already have a real estate career or extensive knowledge of the sector can make some extra money by sharing their expertise as a content writer for a real estate website. You can get into this side gig by looking for freelance writer openings or by starting a blog.

Property management

Many real estate investors get into the business thinking that they have the time to manage their rentals on the side, only to find out that it's too much for them to handle. They then either sell their investments or pass on the property management task to someone else.

Property management, however, can be a great side hustle for someone who has time but not the capital needed to buy a rental property. Tasks include scheduling maintenance, dealing with tenant issues, and marketing the property. You can find property management opportunities by looking through local job postings or hustle up work by contacting real estate investors to see if they'd like to outsource their property management.


Real estate wholesalers act as the middlemen between investors looking for deals and sellers who need to unload their properties quickly. A wholesaler will make a commission from investors for finding them good houses to fix-and-flip. While this side gig doesn't cost anything, it does require connections and lots of hustle. You need to find worthwhile properties and have a network of investors looking to score a deal.

What are some real estate investing options to earn side hustle income?

Many people would love to get into a side business in real estate but don't have too much available time because of other commitments like their day job or family. The good news is that there are many ways to start small with real estate investing and work your way up as you go.

Investing through a real estate crowdfunding platform

Real estate crowdfunding has grown in popularity in recent years as more platforms have started. While many are only available to accredited investors, several are open to anyone and have low minimum investments of a few hundred dollars. These platforms typically focus on either debt (i.e. peer-to-peer lending) or equity investment options for single-property deals or diversified funds. Crowdfunded investments often enable an investor to produce some side income via either interest payments or dividends.

Buying shares of a real estate investment trust (REIT)

Investing in a REIT is one of the easiest and lowest-cost ways to start a real estate side hustle. All you need to do is open a brokerage account and buy one share of a REIT (which usually cost less than $100 each), and you're on your way towards becoming a real estate mogul. Many REITs focus on investing in a certain sub-sector of commercial real estate, such as traditional ones like multifamily, office, and retail, and less common ones like farmland, infrastructure, and data centers. These REITs often pay lucrative dividends, enabling an investor to generate passive income.

House hacking

House hacking enables a homeowner to turn their property into an income-generating asset. House-hacking options include renting out a room on Airbnb, converting the garage or basement into an apartment for either short- or long-term rentals, or buying a small multifamily property and living in one unit while renting out the rest. While you need to be willing to give up some privacy, house hacking can enable you to turn your home from a liability into an asset as the rental income can help offset some of your mortgage payment.

Buying a house to fix-and-flip

House flipping comes with a range of up-front investments and time commitments. As a side gig, an investor can purchase a small condo, townhome, or single-family house that needs a facelift and do some or all the work themselves on the weekends to save money. If you purchase the property for the right price and manage expenses well, house flipping can be a lucrative side business. However, it's also risky, especially if you have to borrow heavily to finance the purchase and renovation costs and need to hire out most of the work because you don't have the time or talent to do it yourself.

Purchasing a rental investment property

There are many ways to invest in cash-flowing real estate as a side gig. You can buy a condo or single-family house near your existing home and lease it to a long-term tenant or purchase a vacation home and rent it out to other vacationers when you're not using the place. You can also buy other types of commercial real estate, such as a retail center, office building, farmland, or parking space to rent out. These commercial real estate investment options have a range of price tags, down payment requirements, and time commitments, but can be lucrative side hustles.

There's a real estate side hustle out there for anyone

Real estate offers many opportunities to pick up a side gig. Some only require an investment of your time, while others provide an opportunity to make extra income for those who don't have much time. Because of that, real estate is an excellent industry for those looking to supplement their salary.

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Matthew DiLallo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Upwork. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.