For a real estate agent or broker, the list of daily tasks is seemingly endless and encompasses a wide range of skill sets. For many, their strengths and their passion lie in building relationships and working with buyers and sellers, rather than in scheduling showings, preparing paperwork, researching listings, responding to emails, and entering data into various databases.
These tasks, while perhaps less than thrilling, are essential and cannot be neglected. They can, however, be outsourced. A real estate virtual assistant can provide relief for real estate agents, allowing them to focus more fully on growing their businesses.
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
Virtual assistant services span many of the “behind the scenes” tasks agents must complete and can add a more personal touch to their business.
One of the most basic tasks a virtual assistant can complete is data entry. They can update listings on MLS, Zillow, and other websites. They can also enter new leads into your CRM.
Another task to outsource to a virtual assistant is scheduling. Keeping and updating your calendar can be time-consuming and can cause numerous interruptions in your day. Your assistant can schedule showings, maintenance, and closings. When a client needs to cancel a showing and reschedule, not only can the virtual assistant manage the task so you don’t have to, but it can also add a more personal, professional touch. Instead of a quick text or rushed conversation, your virtual assistant can respond to your client thoroughly and reschedule on the spot without having to call back later.
Research Listings or Leads
Instead of sifting through the MLS looking for homes that fit a particular clients’ preferences, you could be out in the field while your assistant scans the MLS. Your assistant can also locate expired listings and for-sale-by-owners and conduct background research on properties, potential leads, and the market.
Answering Phone Calls and Emails
Of course, you want to maintain personal contact with all of your clients, but you can’t be answering phone calls and emails 24 hours per day. A virtual assistant can field phone calls and emails, providing an immediate response when you are unavailable.
A virtual assistant can help create flyers, postcards, and sign-in forms, help update your website, and even manage your social media presence. Depending on the individual assistant’s skill set, he or she may also be able to draft blog posts or listing descriptions.
Types of Virtual Assistants and Where to Find Them
Real estate agents have a few options when it comes to virtual assistants. They can opt for a virtual receptionist, hire a general virtual assistant—or they can hire a real estate virtual assistant.
A general virtual assistant can provide a wider range of services and can be trained to complete the tasks you desire. You can find them through virtual assistant companies such as TimeEtc or EAHelp, both of which provide assistants based in the United States. Another option is to find a freelancer or individual contractor through a website such as Fiverr. In this case, you would discuss the scope of work directly with the individual you hire.
On the other hand, a virtual assistant with some previous experience or training in real estate can be beneficial, though often more costly. They can operate as transaction coordinators or sales assistants. You can find professional real estate virtual assistants through websites such as 24/7 Digital Nomad, Real Support, Inc., and MyOutDesk.
Costs and Potential Drawbacks
The cost of a virtual assistant is generally between $20 and $40 per hour. Some companies, particularly with overseas employees, will offer lower rates.
For some, working with a virtual assistant whom you cannot meet face-to-face can be challenging or undesirable. However, for simple, direct tasks, a virtual assistant can save valuable time.
It is important that agents understand what they are legally allowed to delegate to a virtual assistant who is not a licensed real estate professional. In some states, assistants are not allowed to answer certain questions about listings. Before delegating tasks, check with your brokerage or a law expert to determine that you will be compliant.