female real estate agent taking pictures of a kitchen for property data collection

Choosing the Right Real Estate Side Hustle

female real estate agent taking pictures of a kitchen for property data collectionWhether you’re just starting out in real estate, or you’ve been selling homes for years, you may be looking for opportunities to increase your income. Choosing a real estate side hustle can be challenging because you don’t want anything that will require an extensive time or financial investment to get started like flipping properties. You also need something you can ramp up or scale down with market fluctuations, unlike real estate marketing that requires consistent work and attention.

Becoming a property data collector may be the real estate side hustle that checks all your boxes. We’re providing some of the details you need to determine if it’s right for you and how to get started.

Understanding the role of a property data collector

Property data collection is a fairly new role in real estate that gained traction starting in 2019 and 2020. Before 2019, lenders could had to choose between requiring a full property appraisal or waive it entirely. In all but the lowest-risk loans, they required the comprehensive appraisal, but this led to delays that slowed down the loan origination process. To reduce the length of time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offered three new appraisal options to speed up the process without increasing risk for lenders: desktop appraisals, hybrid desktop appraisals, and property data reports.

All three types rely on accurate, standardized property data collection to form the foundation of these appraisals. That’s where a property data collector comes in. Property data collectors inspect the property and record factual, observable data, such as:

  • Exterior and interior materials (like brick or vinyl siding, asphalt roofing, or carpeted floors)
  • Property foundation, such as basement, crawl space, or slab
  • Floor plan details
  • Property features, like a pool or outbuilding
  • Utility connections
  • Obvious physical safety issues or structural integrity issues

Property data collectors log this information into an application and use it to draft a property data report which they submit to the appraisal management company.

Property data collectors are not appraisers

It’s important to note that property data reports and appraisals are very different. Data collectors only record facts and can not include any opinion or judgement. Appraisals can only be completed by licensed or certified appraisers that have experience, training, and knowledge and rely heavily on analysis, research, and their professional judgement to provide accurate and true market values.

Why choose property data collection as your real estate side hustle?

Taking a training course in property data collection may be exactly the real estate side hustle you’re looking for. Let’s look at some of the benefits it can have both financially and on your career.


The number one benefit to data collection is that it allows you to earn more income. While pay varies depending on the company, location, and even project, you may earn either an hourly rate or a flat fee that averages between $60 and $100 per property¹.


Because property data collectors work as independent contractors, you can pick up property projects when it works best for you, rather than having a part-time, scheduled job or having an on-going business that requires consistent work and attention.

Minimal investment

While property data collectors should have a standardized training, the property data collection course offered by McKissock is only six hours and ends in a multiple-choice examination to ensure topic understanding. The course is fully online, so you can complete it at your convenience.

Improving skills

Learning data collection can carry over into your real estate career. Not only will you learn how to more carefully observe elements related to a property and scan floor plans successfully, you’ll also gain experience in inspecting a wide variety of properties.

Start your real estate side hustle today with McKissock

McKissock provides a comprehensive training course that is approved by GSEs, taught by experienced appraisers, and designed to help you succeed in this endeavor. Learn more about our Property Data Collection course and how to get started!

1. Data Collector Salary: Hourly Rate January 2024 USA (ziprecruiter.com)