Real estate is an exciting profession, but it can also a lonely one. You’re a one-man show, and while that can make you incredibly successful, it can also make you incredibly busy. That’s why many real estate agents are opting for virtual assistants.
Disclaimer: REthority is supported by ads and participation in affiliate programs. We may earn a commission when you click our links. The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or financial advice.
- What Is a Virtual Assistant?
- Benefits of Using One
- How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
- Best Hiring Firms
- Virtual Assistant Costs
- Things to Consider
Virtual assistant conjure images of robots or cloud-based artificial intelligence, but it’s not as complicated as you may think. In fact, working with a virtual assistant has the potential to help you take your business to another level.
It can also be far more cost-effective than hiring employees in house. Here’s what you need to know to determine if a virtual assistant is the right fit for you.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
At this point, you may be wondering what exactly a real estate virtual assistant is. Well, it’s simply a remote worker that provides support services to you and your staff. In other words, it’s someone you hire to do specific tasks for you that you may never meet face to face.
Isn’t the 21st century amazing? What tasks can a real estate virtual assistant do for you? That’s really up to you. You want to make sure to find someone who has specific skills and experience in the areas most important to your business.
In general, a virtual assistant can do marketing tasks such as blog writing, email management and scheduling, social media management, and even graphic design.
They can also take care of some operational tasks. These include data entry, lead research, and the set up CRM updates, sales tasks such as following up with leads, and administrative tasks such as meeting scheduling, customer support, project management, and calendar management.
The Benefits of a Virtual Assistant
There are several things about virtual assistants that you should consider when thinking about whether or not they’d fit into your business plan. These benefits include:
No Employee Benefits
No benefits as in you don’t have to provide benefits to them as your employee. One of the things many real estate agents love about virtual assistants is that they simply cost less than an in-house employee.
Since a virtual assistant is an independent contractor, they take care of their own business expenses and taxes. You don’t provide insurance, healthcare, dental, unemployment insurance, or social security benefits. Another plus?
You don’t have to worry about labor laws and provide a virtual assistant with sick pay, vacation time, holidays, or even overtime. They manage their own time as an independent contractor.
Reduced Overhead Cost
When you work as a real estate agent, you may rent your own office space. When you have in-house employees, you must provide them not only with a space to work in, but also computers, software, electricity, office supplies, and even toilet paper!
With a virtual assistant, where the work is up to them and it’s not something you need to worry about. To top that off, you don’t have to worry about administrative costs either.
You don’t have to take your virtual assistant out for their birthday or take them on team-building excursions. They’ll be unlike any other employee you’ve ever had because technically, they’re not your employee at all.
The main point of having a real estate virtual assistant is to allow you to focus on your business and give the small distractions away to someone else to handle.
So, instead of fielding all your own incoming calls or filling out paperwork, you can hand that off to your virtual assistant and focus more on meeting with clients and preparing for open houses or other appointments.
A real estate virtual assistant is basically like a filter for your work. They allow you to focus more on the tasks that help to drive your business forward which ultimately means you will be far more productive than you are on your own.
They Work on Your Schedule
OK, so maybe they won’t be open to fielding phone calls at 3 a.m., but a virtual assistant does function in an on-call capacity to get what you need to be done, done.
With an in-house employee, you may feel the need to keep them busy simply because you’re paying them for the time they’re in the office, but with a virtual assistant, you give them work and pay them only when they’re actually working on projects or tasks you assign them.
This helps to provide you with more flexibility in delegating tasks and budgeting your business expenses. Also, to get in-house staff to work evenings or weekends, you may have to pay them more.
This isn’t true for virtual assistants since they’re not putting in 40 hours with you during the week at your office – they’re working on your request on specific projects.
Higher Conversion Rates
A real estate virtual assistant knows that in the world of real estate, lead generation is important. Think about how much time you spend capturing and following up with leads – it probably adds up to quite a lot!
An experienced virtual assistant can help you with prospecting and following up with leads, something that can lead to more sales conversions for you.
Reduce Your Stress
One of the biggest reasons real estate agents choose to outsource some of their work to a virtual assistant is to help free up their time and reduce their stress.
Let’s face it, being able to take time to recharge and be with your family and friends is important to everyone. If you burn the candle at both ends, then you may end up burning yourself out.
I Want a Virtual Assistant – Now What?
Virtual assistants sound great – and they are – but before you jump on this bandwagon you need to first get a few things in order. It’s crucial that you think about the outcome you want from hiring a virtual assistant before you begin your search.
This will help you find someone who is a great fit for you because you can spell out what to expect and make sure they deliver. This also helps you manage them effectively since you don’t want to be overbearing and spend the time you’re trying to save overseeing all of their work.
Once you’ve identified the outcome you want and found the areas in your business that would benefit from an extra set of hands, then you can create a job description and decide if you want a project-based virtual assistant, a part-time one, or a dedicated, full-time assistant. Now you’re ready to get started.
Where to Find Quality Virtual Assistant Services
Where you begin your search for a real estate virtual assistant depends on where you’re at in your career. There are specific virtual assistant companies that can provide assistants to you or you can strike out on your own and look on a variety of websites for virtual assistant services.
A simple Google search for virtual assistants will yield a lot of results. In an effort to help you narrow it down, here are a few places you can check out to help you get started:
If you’re in the market for a general virtual assistant, then this is a great resource. Timeetc will do the prequalifying for you, which can be helpful if you’re in a hurry to find a good candidate and don’t want to dedicate much time to it.
If you’re looking for your very first virtual assistant, then this is a great place to start. It’s a freelancing website where you can find people with a variety of skills and experience. You put up a job posting and people send you their pitch.
This is a task-based employment site much like Upwork that makes it easy to find virtual assistants from all over the world. The users of Fiverr have reviews, so it’s easy to vet them as you consider what candidates may be a good fit for you.
This platform is going to be the best fit for agents who make over $200,000 per year in revenue because this company not only vets potential virtual assistants for you, they also train them.
That means you can find a virtual assistant through this site that can help with almost every aspect of your business. Through this site, you’re hiring an expert, but it’s going to cost you!
This is a company who find virtual assistants for you based in India, so it’s a great place to start if you just want to dip your toe into the large virtual assistant pond. You’ll find affordable assistants through this site that are high quality, even if they’re in an entirely different time zone.
A few other sites you may want to consider include:
- Streamline Agents
How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Cost?
When you hire a virtual assistant, it’s important to remember that the wage you pay them will cover all their expenses and taxes, so their payday may look a little different than what you’d pay someone in-house who is your employee.
How much a real estate virtual assistant gets paid per hour or per task is dependent on their experience and skills, but you should expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $18 to $35 per hour.
If you opt to try a virtual assistant from another country such as India or the Philippines, then you may be able to find them for as little as $6 per hour. Just be careful because you may get what you pay for!
Things to Consider
While virtual assistants can greatly increase your bottom line, there are also some things to consider. I’d know — I used to have two of them. Here is my input from my experience:
- Motivation. I found that even with regular bonuses, funny pictures, above-average pay, and regular phone calls, over time a remote assistant’s productivity declined.
- Engagement. Without being present to keep an employee engaged, their time was spent on things other than our operation. I had to stay on top of them by regularly reviewing screenshots and productivity reports.
- Flakiness. Most of my remote assistants were rockstars. So much that I took 5 weeks off and one practically did my job. However, I never had an assistant stay more than a year. I even had one quit the same day she gave her notice.
- Different Cultures. If you are hiring a remote assistant from a different country, they can be vary hard to manage. This is because different countries have different cultures, so the remote assistant may not fit your company’s culture or share the same values.
- Mental Health. Follow Up Boss did a wonderful piece on mental health and remote assistants, so make sure to check it out. Working remotely is lonely, and can take a tole on the employee.
Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant?
As a small business owner, there are many reasons to consider bringing a real estate virtual assistant on board. Perhaps the biggest is that it will give you time to focus on what you got into real estate for in the first place.
This, of course, is to work directly with clients as you help your business grow. Virtual assistants can help you achieve that, so give one a try and see where it takes you.