There’s this saying you sometimes hear… “If you don’t have an assistant, you are the assistant.” While this sounds a little “Wolf of Wallstreet”-esque, there’s definitely a need to delegate tasks to a real estate virtual assistant that might otherwise detract from your ability to close deals and snag more leads.
This type of work is manageable when your agency is just getting off the ground, but once you’ve expanded business a bit and those contracts are flying in, then chances are, you’re going to need to lean on someone for administrative tasks (amongst many other things).
In this blog article, we’ll discuss the pros of working with a virtual real estate assistant, the advantages over an in-house assistant, and cover some of the tasks they might do for you.
First and foremost, what is a real estate virtual assistant?
A real estate virtual assistant is a remote worker who can do a wide swathe of tasks related to real estate. Depending on who you hire them through and how qualified they are, they can act as an office manager, doing administrative and operational work.
Virtual assistants have been spiking in popularity over many different industries not just real estate and it’s pretty easy to see why.
Do you need a VA?
Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s figure out if a virtual assistant is something you actually need. If you find these warning signs describe your business/life, an assistant is definitely something you should consider:
- Your client base is increasing steadily
- You have trouble scheduling calls
- You’re stretched thin on your work engagements
- You have scheduling errors
- You’re consistently closing 25 or more deals a year
- You want to expand
- You feel overworked or your work-life balance is off
If any or all of these resonate with you, then consider hiring some helping hands. At the end of the day, real estate is about personal connection and you don’t want to be bogged down with paperwork when you could be out selling homes. Plus, the amount of money to be made once your schedule is freed up practically makes an assistant pay for themselves.
Pros over an in-house assistant
The Price Point:
As their tasks expand and the work becomes more specialized, assistants are becoming more and more expensive. If you put up a listing online for a real estate assistant, you’ll likely be getting bids for $20-$35. If they’re going to be working in-house, you’ll also need to dedicate resources and office space to them (not to mention the side-by-side training).
A quality virtual assistant can snag you the same (if not better) work for a quarter of the price. Some people push back by making the argument that it’s easier to communicate with someone who’s literally right outside your office, but using modern chat tools like Slack, Skype, and Zoom, you’ll be getting your message across almost instantaneously. Most offices communicate via email and chat anyway, so it really equates to around the same amount of time.
On top of the lower labor costs, you also don’t need to pay the social security taxes, payroll taxes, or regulatory fees that come with an in-house assistant. It’s a lot cheaper, a lot less paperwork, and overall less of a headache.
Because of the popularity of virtual assistants, full-fledged agencies have cropped up that train and screen potential employees for you. This means a lot of the time that may be spent training or showing a new hire the fundamentals of the job has already been taken care of by a third-party.
Here are a few agencies that have some great selections:
You can also hire VAs as independent contractors or freelancers on marketplaces like
Let someone else do all the filtering for you and pick out the matches that best cater to the work you need done. Which brings us to our next point…
Here are sixteen ways a digital assistant can help grow your real estate business and save you time:
1. Ultra Specialized Work
A lot of these agencies will have vetted people who have years of experience doing specific tasks. Data entry, event planning, social media management, doc prep, research, the list goes on…
Say you need general office manager work done (like drafting contracts) but you also want to improve your deal funnel and need someone with sales experience to help you with client calls – there’s a bunch of candidates with those exact specifications.
You can hire with broader or narrower skill sets depending on what you need done and what you would like to expand upon in your business. The internet is a magical place when it comes to finding skilled workers, so keep your eyes open and search around!
2. Screen Monitoring
If you’re worried about efficient use of work time from your VA, most accept screen monitoring software. By using this, you can check their activity, attendance, and website logs to make sure they’re sticking to their work obligations. Definitely a slight Big Brother feel, but if you’re someone who’s worried about a remote worker not pulling their fair share, this might ease the concern.
Much like an in-house assistant, you can open a line of dialogue with your VA so they give feedback on how to assist you better. Part of expanding a business is optimizing the areas that are lagging behind. Let them weigh in so you can make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck!
Now let’s hop into some of the tasks that a VA can do for you and your business:
If there’s one thing real estate agents are a little too familiar with, it’s paperwork. The pulse of every agency: property valuation request forms in, home seller forms out, client information forms in, listing agreement forms out. If we listed all the paperwork involved in home selling, we would no doubt run the word count of this blog to something ungodly. All this to say that having someone step in to manage and organize paperwork is a smart idea.
A VA is experienced in this and can do things like pull forms and contracts when needed, organize paperwork into an internal database for searching, attach relevant file/information to client profiles in the CRM database, and submit paperwork on your behalf to other agents, banks, and lawyers. The list goes on, but this is one of those tasks where an assistant really shines.
5. Social Media Management
With so many markets digitized, social media is as important as ever. This study from The National Association of Realtors shows that 47% of real estate businesses claim their highest quality leads come from social media and 99% of millennials (90% of boomers too) start their home search online. An engaging social media presence not only lets you develop new contacts online, but lets you stay in contact with the ones you already know.
Your VA can assist you with this by creating custom social media strategies for your company, content with tailored branding, and a social media posting schedule to keep your page consistent. They’ll also help by responding to comments and messages, providing feedback, and giving activity reports. If your social media is engaging, the audience will engage back and your VA can make sure this online relationship with potential customers stays active!
6. Appointment Management
While managing your appointments doesn’t seem like the most difficult task in the world, having a virtual assistant help juggle your client meetups certainly doesn’t hurt. Much of the work a VA will do falls under this category of simple tasks that add up when they go unmanaged.
If you hire someone who’s well organized, you’ll go into every meeting fresh, knowing all the pertinent information about the client(s) and ready to follow up with any documentation you might need. Small assistance like this makes you appear much more professional and provides a real value to your ability to close on properties.
An added note, if inbound messages only require basic information like price, preferred close date, and more… your VA can answer those so you don’t find yourself repeating the same information over and over again.
7. Calendar Management
To ride off the last point, a VA can help you with your daily calendar even when it pertains to your personal life. Everything is intertwined and you might find that you’re late or having to cancel work things because of personal engagements. If so, let your them help by diving in and organizing your schedule. You don’t want to have to rush to an open house because you mismanaged the time of your doctor’s appointment.
If you use a shared calendar system, like Google Calendar, your VA can work around already scheduled events and block in appointments, incoming calls, private viewings, and more through it.
8. CRM Management
The CRM (customer relationship management) software you use is vital to organizing and prioritizing certain clients with certain listings. If used correctly, it acts as a hub for all of your customers and leads, organizes them by their profiles, and allows you to easily contact and attach documents to them. a virtual real estate assistant will be well-versed in how to operate most CRMs and can help keep everything updated. Say some contact form hasn’t been all the way filled out? They can follow up with the customer and snag the relevant information. Their job is to keep everything completed and tidy.
Your VA could catch someone who’s been living in a property you sold them for almost a year and sends them a housewarming anniversary gift (which, aside from being a sweet act, leads to more referrals). Little creative ideas like this keep word of mouth alive for your business.
9. Generating Reports
Reports can be important for charting patterns of growth within a company and showing cause and effect models. Plus we all love pie charts (Well maybe not all of us).
In the hiring process, ask and see if your VA has experience preparing monthly reports. In case you wanted a list to reference, see if they have experience making reports for:
- Social media growth/engagement
- Lead to client conversions
- Mortgage rates
- Market trends
- Sales figures
Among many others.
Having someone generating visual data for your company is extremely useful.
10. Spreadsheet Management
Much like general paperwork, real estate agents are all too familiar with the spreadsheet. While it’s a modern marvel of organization, it can definitely be a bit tedious to navigate. Every VA you come across will be well-versed in spreadsheet use and will get your data organized properly.
11. Online Marketing
You want your company website to act as a hub for your clients by making it a place that’s inviting and easy to peruse. One way to do this is to have consistent content posted to your website in the form of blogs, articles, and newsletters. In almost all cases, a VA can help you by scheduling this content and in some cases, even writing it.
Try coming up with a list of topics based on commonly searched queries or keywords in your area related to real estate and let them write content based around this. If you’ve interviewed and hired a virtual assistant who specializes in marketing (an extremely good idea, they often make back much more than what they’re being paid), they’ll be able to implement good SEO tactics to appeal to search engines and bump your content to the top of the listings. In this case they’ll also have a familiarity with targeted social media ads, analytics, and public relations. These are all extremely important practices for real estate companies to use that can also be incredibly time consuming.
12. Local Marketing
Aside from your online presence, it’s still important to have a footing in the local community by marketing traditionally. Your VA will be able to help you with paid radio, billboard, and newspaper promotion if that’s the route you choose to go. They can also help you with ordering lawn signs, business cards, and agent boards. Pretty much any logistical work behind purchasing advertisements, they can help out.
13. MLS Management
It’s no secret that a huge chunk of real estate traffic online is filtered through Multiple Listing Services like Zillow and Trulia. Manually adding your listings to services like these can be a bit of a pain though, so offload this work and focus your attention on taking calls from these prospective buyers.
Having your VA attach photos and a virtual tour can help a listing immensely. Also, make sure to give them all the required information like price, listing information, property type, and property description, and have them update with any changed information.
14. Property Scraping Information
As many of you know, when negotiating with buyers and sellers, it’s important to gather the listing price for similar properties in the area so you have a frame of reference when trying to decide the dollar amount. This task can be a bit grueling, especially if you’re getting information on more than one property and if you’re diving deeper than surface level (say you want to know property size, property type, local amenities, and more)
This is yet another one of those tasks better suited for an online virtual real estate assistant who can peruse listings and give you the pertinent information.
15. Lead Generation
While they may not promote a property with an open house, a virtual assistant can do a lot for lead generation in the form of market research and outbound calling.
All the detective work surrounding buying/selling analytics, sniffing out surrounding amenities, finding properties with markup potential, cold calling… can be taken up by a VA to massively increase your reach (and also research useful information).
Give them a list of numbers to call and, if they have good speaking experience, take the cold calling off your list of responsibilities entirely. Even though it’s not utilized as much anymore, this is still an excellent way of snagging leads.
16. Email Management
Not pointing any fingers, but there are definitely a lot of us who would benefit from someone coming in and doing a deep clean on our email. Dealing with junk mail and newsletters we forgot to unsubscribe from can be a little daunting. Luckily most virtual assistants are more than happy to go through and organize this for you. Filtering through spam, answering job inquiries, and organizing your inbox, these are tasks many businesses hire VAs for now.
On top of this, you can use them to launch email promotion campaigns to your mailing list. Be sure to give them a bunch of different templates to use and provide all the assets they’ll need to go with messages. You should already establish key information like how often subscribers are emailed, what calls to action to provide, and what to promote before handing this off to the VA. Set them up for success!
There’s a certain human element to real estate. You want to increase your client base, connect with those clients, and eventually close on deals. It’s important to prioritize certain work over other and in doing so, you’ll need to delegate some maintenance tasks. Filing documents, preparing reports, setting up appointments, these are all jobs that, while important, don’t directly lead to an increase in your dollar value. We hope we’ve given you all the information you need to bring on some extra virtual hands and help with this work.virtual assistant