Starting your own real estate agency or being a real estate agent is a lucrative prospect that provides long-term financial security, respect, and promises of great wealth. The downside lies in the fact that it’s arduous labor, with a lot of red tapes and paperwork required. It’s actually quite easy for one to get lost in all of it. Fortunately, with the help of a virtual assistant, you might be able to get ahead of the curve.
A virtual assistant is a remote worker acting as your assistant. They can respond to emails, run your social media accounts, schedule your appointments, and even interact with your clients. In the field of real estate, they can make a huge difference by reducing your workload (in menial tasks) and allowing you to focus on core responsibilities.
So, how do you find a great virtual assistant? First of all, you’re looking for someone with adequate education, skills in tools that you will need for data entry, schedule management, and bookkeeping. Ideally, you would look for someone with previous experience in the field of your interest (in this case, real estate).
With all of this in mind and without further ado, here are a couple of ways in which a real estate virtual assistant can help you grow your real estate business.
Calendar Management and Appointment Setting
Calendar management is a far more complex task than it first appears to be. Even with the right calendar management tool or a physical organizer, it’s not that easy to keep your eye on everything.
For instance, in order to assign a valid working order, you need to pay much closer attention to your calendar priority management. One of the ways to do so is to use the Eisenhower matrix. Here, you would create four categories:
- Not urgent
- Less important
Naturally, urgent important tasks go first, while not urgent less important tasks go last. While setting this up is something that theoretically wouldn’t take that much of your time, what happens when your schedule needs to be shuffled, and tasks moved? What if there are new tasks? The answer is simple, you reset the matrix and try organizing items in these categories once again.
Needless to say, this would take a lot of time. However, having a virtual assistant who originally organized your schedule to do this in your stead would be far more convenient. Later on, it would be a lot easier for them to reorganize your schedule, make new appointments, and keep you notified. Sure, an app with a notification system can also be quite effective, but it’s easier to ignore than an actual assistant.
When the time comes to invest in an actual calendar management system, you’ll have a person who has spent some time on this task. This means that you will have an avid advisor on which tool to invest in.
Accounting and Basic Bookkeeping
Remember that as a real estate agent or buyer’s agent, you don’t necessarily need someone with real estate skills. After all, you want someone who can complement the skills you’re missing or lagging behind in, not someone who can do the tasks you’re already proficient at.
Needless to say, when it comes to your books, you want to have a proper accountant (accounting services). One of the options you want to consider is looking for a specialized virtual bookkeeper service. Once you get accustomed to your virtual assistant, this form of collaboration will feel natural.
The benefits of virtual bookkeeping are quite numerous. For instance:
- You get to keep your books up-to-date
- Your financial reporting is more accurate
- The financial flexibility of your enterprise is improved
- The cost-saving feature is drastically increased
- The model itself is quite scalable
Some of the basic tasks like bill payment and invoice generation aren’t that troublesome even for someone without previous experience in this field. The problem is that, as a real estate professional, you have your to-do list already filled. With such a busy schedule, it’s easy to see how one could make a slip.
Also, remember that keeping financial records may keep you safe in a scenario where you’re facing an audit. While specialized, cloud-based tools may be of assistance here, it’s even safer to have someone look after it.
Proofreading and Transcription
You would be surprised to learn how many documents an average real estate agent receives on a weekly basis. The task of going through all of these documents, composing responses to them, and proofreading it all can take hours. These are hours that you could spend doing one of your core tasks. Therefore, hiring a virtual assistant to take over this responsibility wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Outreach alone requires you to produce a lot of content. Now, you want some of these emails to be personalized, which means that you can’t just copy-paste your generic foot-in-the-door email. Making a typo, a grammatical error, or even worse, a semantic error would paint you in a negative light. Fortunately, having an assistant who can proofread it before sending it makes all of these troubles go away.
We also shouldn’t ignore the importance of transcription in real estate. Transcribing reports like real estate evaluation/appraisal, home inspection, etc., can drastically facilitate your real estate process. Remember, dictated reports are simpler, quicker, and more spontaneous. This makes them more trustworthy and accurate.
By having someone to transcribe them, you’re making them more compact for record-keeping and easier to go through. It also makes them data-entry-friendlier and simpler to structure. Combined with the right content management system, you will have all the information you need at your fingertips.
The reason why these tasks should be given to a virtual assistant is that they are menial, tiresome but still essential to your performance (too important to entrust to software).
Quicker Access to Sales Prospects
While the real estate agent needs to be the one to close the deals, a skilled virtual assistant shouldn’t have a problem searching for sales prospects, securing sales calls, and making appointments. Even in real estate, there’s such a thing known as customer lifecycle. A skilled real estate virtual assistant can build these prospects up and conduct follow-up calls.
The field itself is quite competitive, which is why having an extra pair of eyes to tap into seller leads that your competition hasn’t used is such a massive advantage. These leads also need to be reviewed and validated so that you don’t waste your time, resources, and effort pursuing them. You can only cover so much ground on your own, and the longer you wait, the greater the chance one of your competitors will discover them and reach out to them.
Then again, overworking yourself in order to find as many clients can backfire. Time is a valuable resource, and getting burned out is common in this industry. A skilled virtual assistant may not be able to prevent this, but they can surely lower the odds of this happening.
Previously, we’ve mentioned a customer lifecycle. All the people you work with need to be entered into your client database. This database needs to be updated, validated (from time to time), and properly managed. This should be just one of the many tasks of your real estate virtual assistant.
Tending to Your Contact Options
People need to be able to reach out to you, and an email or a message isn’t always the best solution to this particular problem. While chatbots are becoming ever more sophisticated, the truth is that your clients want to have a human on the other end of the line. If they send a message, they want it to be responded to by an actual person. If they call, they want to hear a human voice on the other end of the line. It’s that simple.
The more they commit, the more they expect out of the customer service. In real estate, where properties are evaluated with tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes even millions), the last thing they want is to leave a message on the answering machine.
However, just having someone to respond is not enough. You also want someone attentive and empathetic. You want someone who can actively listen and reassure them or offer a solution. Previously, we mentioned that a virtual assistant is someone who handles your appointments. If they do need an appointment, they want someone who can book it right away.
You want to be available 24/7, and having a virtual assistant can help you out with this. Now, if you really want to cover the evening hours (you see this as a priority), you could easily hire someone from a different time zone. This way, you would solve this issue for good.
Tending to Your Social Media Presence
Real estate social media marketing is incredibly important. Promoting properties that you’re selling on platforms like Instagram and Facebook can attract a lot of attention. This is also an excellent way for you to stay in touch with your target audience. Still, this work takes a lot of time.
For instance, one of the ways to increase the appeal of the property that you’re selling is to actually promote the town/neighborhood that the property is in. For this, you need someone to take the photos and carefully write these social media posts. Some of these tasks you can do yourself, while the rest, as well as posting and social media posting schedule, can be entrusted to your virtual assistant.
Educating your buyers through conversations and sharing the latest relevant studies will also impact your bottom line. One of the most organic ways to do so would be to introduce something like posting a “real estate fact of the day” on your social media profile. By talking about industry averages (property sizes, values, etc.), you can make the properties that you are selling appear more appealing.
Over the course of the evolution of your social media presence, you will encounter comments (both good and bad). The key thing is that you respond promptly and courteously to them. Sometimes, a positive response to a negative comment can result in a total change of heart. Even if the person is not a potential buyer, they may positively impact your social media reach/visibility.
Help With Marketing
Marketing is essential for your success in real estate, which is why you may need some help. Sure, in the 21st century, it’s all about digital marketing, but even old-school marketing methods like postcard printing are still quite effective. Needless to say, this is a lot of work, and it might be a good idea to have someone who will share these responsibilities with you.
You need a decent website, as well as an active real estate blog. Maintenance of these two online forms alone can be quite difficult (on top of all your other responsibilities). In the introduction, we’ve mentioned responding to emails as one of the core tasks of a virtual assistant. Well, how about running a full-fledged email marketing campaign?
Once you and your assistant get comfortable enough, you can even try experiential marketing, like attempts at guerilla marketing, etc. Organizing printing, negotiating collaboration with the local community regarding various events, and some basic networking can be done by your assistant. Even if you choose to do all (or most) of it on your own, just knowing that you have the option to delegate some of these tasks can be quite reassuring.
In the end, it’s important that you understand one thing – you don’t have to appoint all of the above-listed tasks to your virtual assistant. If anything, by dumping all of this on them, they’ll be way over their head, burn out and be much less effective. As always, it’s up to you to choose which tasks you’ll keep and which of them you’ll appoint to them. Eventually, you can hire another person to help you out and start expanding your team. The key point is that you shouldn’t do it all on your own, and hiring a virtual assistant can be a saving grace.