Most real estate professionals spend most of their time chasing down leads and closing deals.
But that isn’t all that they have to manage.
They also need assistance in managing their calendars, contracts and property databases.
However, hiring an office assistant to do all of this can be costly!
So why not hire a real estate virtual assistant?
Virtual assistants are skilled at their work and less expensive than a full-time employee, as they usually charge by the task or hour.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about real estate virtual assistants and how to manage them effectively.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What Is A Real Estate Virtual Assistant?
- Three Key Benefits Of Hiring A Real Estate Virtual Assistant
- What Tasks Can Real Estate Virtual Assistants Do?
- How To Hire A Real Estate VA
- How To Manage Your Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Let’s get started.
What Is A Real Estate Virtual Assistant?
A real estate virtual assistant is someone who provides various services related to the real estate business from a remote location.
They offer a variety of services, like:
- Finding property details
- Data entry and management
- Cold calling and lead generation activities
Why should you hire them?
Getting involved in routine, repetitive work such as managing paperwork will leave realtors with little to no time to grow their own business.
You don’t want that to happen, do you?
This is why you need a virtual assistant.
You need someone reliable to take care of those tedious tasks while you focus on growing your business!
Three Key Benefits Of Hiring A Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Here’s a closer look at the main benefits of hiring a real estate virtual assistant:
1. Increase Business Productivity
Realtors need to perform a variety of non-core tasks that can’t be avoided, such as:
- Managing paperwork and contracts
- Updating property databases
- Sending follow-up emails
While these are essential tasks, they can all be managed remotely.
Involving your in-house team in such tasks (or doing them yourself) isn’t ideal.
It takes away valuable time and resources that you could spend on core tasks that actually need your input, such as managing open houses!
How does a real estate virtual assistant help?
As real estate virtual assistants are experienced in such jobs, they’ll be able to complete them efficiently. This frees up your staff to focus on core business activities, like closing new leads.
2. Save On Hiring And Training Costs
Whichever way you look at it, hiring is an expensive task.
While an employee requires a salary, you need to spend time finding the right ones and screening them thoroughly. Additionally, you’ll even have to spend resources training them for the job.
Then why hire a virtual assistant?
A. Lower Salaries And Overheads
Paying a top-notch virtual assistant is usually cheaper than paying a full-time employee.
As most real estate virtual assistants charge hourly rates for the task, you only need to pay for the work they do. You also save up on electricity, internet and other office expenses as the assistant works remotely and is responsible for their work environment.
B. Minimal Training Costs
Real estate virtual assistants also reduce your training costs significantly.
As most of them have excellent real estate industry experience, they know the drill and require little to no training. You can also assign them to specific tasks based on their expertise so that they do not need to be trained!
And that’s not all.
If you want to save costs further, you can consider delegating all the non-client facing work to a real estate VA in countries with lower salaries. For example, if you’re a realtor based in the United States, you can outsource to countries like the Philippines to save costs.
3. Find Better Work-Life Balance
Real estate agents often live a busy life with long and exhausting workdays.
Unanswered emails, constant phone calls and messages can make it very difficult for them to take time out for themselves.
How does a virtual assistant help here?
Real estate virtual assistants can take care of routine and repetitive tasks such as answering emails and managing property files.
This gives you enough free time to indulge in some me-time! You could also hire real estate virtual assistants in different time zones to provide seamless 24×7 customer service to your prospects!
What Tasks Can Real Estate Virtual Assistants Do?
So what goes into the job description of a real estate virtual assistant?
Well, real estate virtual assistants can do any remote task that helps real estate agents!
Here’s a close look at four common real estate virtual assistant services:
1. Real Estate Research
Real estate is a cut-throat business.
You need to answer tons of questions, like:
- How are you going to market my property?
- How long will you take to list my property on the multiple listing service (MLS)?
- How are the taxes reassessed in this area?
- Do you have a property that fits my requirements?
Answering these efficiently is key to closing a deal.
And how do you do that?
Your real estate VA can work as an inside sales agent (ISA), and focus on:
- Prospecting and finding property details such as location, features and amenities
- Tracking market trends and pricing points for different locations
- Analyzing competitor businesses
This way, while you don’t have to find the data yourself, you’ll have all the required information at your fingertips!
2. Appointment Scheduling
Realtors are busy people with a packed calendar.
While scheduling appointments may seem like a straightforward task, it’s not!
It requires you to:
- Manage calendars and schedule meetings with prospects
- Prioritize meetings with sellers and buyers
- Add buffers to avoid appointment clashes
Calendar management can get pretty overwhelming when you have lots of appointments to manage.
How does a virtual assistant help?
You can hire real estate virtual assistants to manage your calendar and answer calls and emails to schedule appointments. They’ll know how to use popular calendar tools like Google Calendar, Calendly and more to schedule your appointments.
An administrative assistant will also be able to give you timely reminders so that you never miss an appointment.
3. Social Media Marketing
According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, 98% of older millennials have looked for their home online.
This shows that you need an excellent social media presence and a knack for digital marketing to compete in the market.
Instead of hiring and training an in-house team for this, why not hire a real estate virtual assistant?
As they’re experts in the field, they’ll be able to:
- Run different social media campaigns
- Respond to prospects on social media
- Create marketing materials using graphic design tools
- Start blogging by writing relevant articles and doing search engine optimization (SEO)
They’ll also know what’s going viral in the real estate niche, monitor engagements and analyze statistics to see what strategies work well.
4. Data Entry And Bookkeeping
Real estate agents deal with tons of data regularly.
Keeping track of client details, financial records and property details can be super exhausting and time-consuming.
However, it’s still a very important administrative task!
So why not outsource data entry and bookkeeping to a virtual assistant?
Your real estate virtual assistant is most likely to be a spreadsheet wizard with years of experience in handling such tasks. They’ll have the skills and tools to complete the task efficiently!
How To Hire A Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Before choosing a VA, you need to know what tasks you need assistance with.
You could assign:
- Routine tasks that eat up a significant chunk of your time
- Tasks that stop you from focusing on growing your business
- Tasks that can help you grow your business outreach quickly
Once you know what you need help with, you could hire a VA.
Here’s how to do that:
1. Determine The Type of VA You Need
As most VAs charge by the hour or task, the duration of work plays a major role in hiring a virtual assistant.
You could either hire a:
- Short term (part-time) real estate VA
- Long term real estate VA
Here are a few questions to help you choose between them:
- Will you be able to delegate work consistently throughout the year?
- Are these tasks routine, repetitive tasks or one time tasks?
- Do you need a dedicated person for the task?
If you have time-consuming tasks or expect the VA to attend to clients round-the-clock, a full-time real estate virtual assistant is probably better for you.
However, if you need assistance with only select tasks or just for a few months, then a short term real estate assistant would be perfect for the job.
2. Determine Where You Want To Hire From
Now that you know how long you need the VA for, the next step is to hire them.
You could go two-ways about this:
- Hire a VA from a VA agency
- Hire an individual VA (freelancers and independent contractors)
Here’s how to do this:
A. Hire from a VA Agency
If you’re not entirely convinced about hiring a real estate virtual assistant but want to give it a shot, you should go for a VA agency. They provide budget VAs and will also offer replacements in case if the VA’s a wrong fit.
Here are some virtual assistant companies to look at:
MyOutDesk has decades of experience in providing real estate virtual assistant services. They’re best suited for small to medium-sized companies. They provide high levels of data security to ensure that your data always remains safe.
WoodBows offers real estate virtual assistants with over 10 years of experience. They also offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the VA. You even get a dedicated account manager who reports to you daily on the tasks.
3. Time Etc
TimeEtc is a US and UK-based virtual assistant company that provides skilled real estate VAs for entrepreneurs and professionals. They have a pay-as-you-go policy, free trial and a money-back guarantee. You also get free phone calls and screen sharing with your VA team.
B. Hire an individual VA
If you are an experienced realtor, you’ll probably find a great real estate virtual assistant through job sites like Linkedin and freelancer platforms. While freelancers are on the costlier side, they’ll have enough skills and expertise to perform the task efficiently.
Here are two of the best freelancer platforms:
Upwork is a popular portal for finding individual freelancer virtual assistants. It lets you quickly find and recruit virtual assistants with years of real estate industry experience.
Fiverr is another popular website where you can find real estate virtual assistants with varying experience levels. It’s best suited to find a short term or task-based virtual assistant.
How To Manage Your Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Most people are reluctant to hire a VA because as they work from a remote location, how do you:
- Communicate task requirements
- Monitor their productivity
- Ensure that they’re actively working on your project
Luckily, you only need the right set of tools to do this:
A. Communication Tools
As your real estate VA could be a thousand miles away, how do you communicate with them?
You use the right communication tools, of course!
They help you communicate task demands and hold discussions with your real estate virtual assistant quickly.
Here’s a look at some common types of communication tools:
1. Messaging Tools
For communicating task details, you could use tools like Slack and Fleep.
They allow you to:
- Share task details and files
- Convey task requirements
- Create task-specific communication channels
2. Video Calling Tools
Sometimes explaining things over a video call could be far better than just messaging your VA, right?
Video conferencing tools like Zoom and Skype help you out here.
They allow you to:
- Host project meetings
- Share your screen for detailed explanations
- Build team chemistry with your VA
B. Performance Monitoring Tools
It’s essential to monitor your real estate VA, especially when they could be thousands of miles away.
Think about it.
Without monitoring them, you won’t be able to know:
- How long it took them to complete the work
- If they were passing off idle hours instead of working
- If they’re actually working on your project while they’re billing you
Luckily, you have tools like Time Doctor that make employee monitoring a piece-of-cake.
What is Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful employee monitoring tool that’s used by large corporations like Apple and PwC as well as by SMBs like Thrive Market to track their employee’s performance.
The tool gives you all the information regarding your real estate VAs’ work activity. It lets you:
- Monitor the websites and apps they use during work hours
- Track the time they spend working on your tasks accurately
- Help them focus on your projects without getting distracted by social media and irrelevant apps or websites
- Ensure that they don’t bill you for idle hours
- Pay them on an hourly or task basis for their work done
Hiring a real estate virtual assistant is one of the smartest moves you can make to increase your business productivity and annual earnings.
So, figure out what’s taking up all your time, hire a VA, and start enjoying the benefits right away!
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor—a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams.