Considering Leaving the Real Estate Business? Keep Your License and Become a Referral Agent

Statistically speaking, the majority of real estate agents don’t make it beyond a couple of years, so don’t feel bad if you’re thinking about giving up being a full-time agent. But no matter how long you lasted, how much business you did, or why you’re moving on, the last thing you want to do is let your license lapse!

It took time and effort to get your license in the first place, so you should at least maintain it just in case you decide to do a little business here and there, or want to come back full-time at some point. It’d be a waste to have to go through licensing courses and testing again in the future.

But an even better idea is to deliberately use your license to continue to make money as a referral agent—possibly even more money than you were making as a full-time agent!

Think about it:

  • Most agents are desperate for leads and business.
  • Entire companies exist just by generating and selling leads to agents.
  • And that’s despite the fact that most agents hate paying for leads.
  • Yet almost any agent would much prefer to pay you a bigger referral fee for a lead upon closing, than paying a lead gen company up front for a bunch of iffy leads.
  • Think about how much money a 25% referral fee (or whatever you think you can get in your area) would put in your pocket
  • Now think about being able to make that amount of money doing a fraction of the work you did as a full-time agent.

So yeah, there’s definitely good money to be made just by having your license and sending referrals to active agents!

Referral Agents Make More than Full-Timers?!

If you go by this article on, the average referral agent makes $48,930 a year! Considering the median gross income for agents was $43,330, according to 2021 data from The National Association of Realtors, you might be better off being a referral agent.

Let’s be real, though; data and stats can be so misleading—median and average numbers don’t paint the truest picture. The reality is, many agents don’t make enough money as full-time agents, which is why they become referral agents. And most of them probably don’t make a dime off of referrals in any given year. (In fact, having their license probably costs them money to maintain.) And it almost always boils down to the same reason; they don’t do much (if any) marketing or lead generation.

That may have just felt like an attack…

Most Agents Don’t Have the Time or Money for Marketing

According to this Real Trends article, 53% of agents spend “less than $5,000” on marketing per year. And by “less,” many of them are probably referring to “zero” dollars.

Another 11% “aren’t sure” how much they spend, which is a good indication that they don’t spend much either, since an agent who is spending thousands of dollars on marketing is likely aware of how much they’re spending.

To be fair, most agents don’t have enough time or money to devote to marketing.

It’s not easy to carve out time to work on marketing when you’re so busy going out on appointments, holding open houses, attending inspections, and everything else an agent has to do. And none of that work is guaranteed to result in compensation. So when an agent has a little down time, it’s easy to use it as a breather—especially since it’s usually just a random hour here or there, and probably won’t be something they can do consistently, so it seems pointless to do. But even if they want to, it can be hard to spend money when they’re never sure when their next closing will be. Which leads to a lot of busy, broke, and burned-out agents who decide to find another way to make a living.

So when an agent makes their exit from the business, and finds another way to make a living, the chances are they’re most likely not going to start doing any marketing at that point!

And that’s exactly why there’s a huge opportunity for you to make some good money as a referral agent! You have very little competition.

But in order to cash in, you’re going to have to spend some cash and do some consistent marketing—which may not sound appealing, or even possible. If you didn’t have the time or money to do it before, what makes now any better or easier?

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to spend a ton of time or money on marketing. There are plenty of low-cost ways to do marketing, and none of them have to take much time out of your schedule. You just have to be dedicated to doing it consistently.

3 Quick and Affordable Ways of Marketing

Marketing can cost a lot of money. Mailers, print ads, billboards, or radio and TV ads can cost a small fortune. Years ago you had to spend money on those types of things, but the internet and social media has made it easy for real estate agents to get in front of a lot of people for free, or at a very low cost.

So let’s take a look at 3 ways you can stay top-of-mind with people whenever they think about buying or selling, even when you’re not actively selling anymore.

1) Share memes

Real estate memes are a great way to remind people that you’re in the real estate world. They’re entertaining and easy for people to consume without feeling like you’re badgering them for business.

It takes almost no time to share a meme or two a day on social media! And you can find plenty of them to share for free on our Lighter Side of Real Estate Facebook page.

2) Share market news

Sharing news about the current market not only reminds people that you’re an agent, but it also gives you an air of authority with people.

You can find plenty of articles online to share for free. The problem with so many articles about real estate is that they can be too dry and technical, or even scare people. Plus, most of the ones you can find on mainstream news sites certainly aren’t written to get people to take action and buy or sell a house.

So you may want to check out the market news articles we publish each week on our website. These are written to make agents sound knowledgeable, but are easy (and enjoyable) for consumers to read, and they often encourage the reader to buy or sell, without sounding pushy or alarmist.

3) Share fun articles

News doesn’t appeal to everyone, so make sure to share some fun real estate articles that’ll give people a laugh while reminding them you’re in the business, while actually teaching them a thing or two.

We also publish a free weekly newsletter, which has a bunch of things each week for you to share:

  • A meme of the week
  • A “weird”, funny, or unusual real estate related article
  • A real estate trivia question
  • A real estate fun fact meme

Forget about the referral agents you’re competing with, just doing those three things alone will go way beyond what many active agents are doing to market themselves! And you can do it all for free and in very little time.

But if you want to save yourself even more time, check out our Inner Circle membership. For less than the price of your daily cup of coffee, you can have access to way more content to share (with your branding on it), and you’ll be able to sit down and schedule your posts for months in advance!

Don't take our word for it...

Memes work! Our members send us love like this all the time!


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Got a question? Comment? Suggestion? We’re all ears, so drop us a line!
If you’re looking to submit an article or partner with us in other ways, please let us know here.

Contact us

Got a question? Comment? Suggestion? We’re all ears, so drop us a line!!
If you’re looking to submit an article or partner with us in other ways, please let us know here.