As a real estate agent, there were times you were bringing in only one or two transactions a month. But now that you’re bagging deals almost every week, things are starting to get a little hectic. As you struggle to multitask, there’s no better time to consider hiring a virtual assistant (VA).
You see, one of the reasons you got into real estate is probably your desire to work smart, not just hard. And despite your natural passion for the business, the hustle and bustle can take a toll on you quickly, such that you’re missing family time and the opportunity to live truly. And there’s no better way to earn even while working less than by leveraging real estate virtual assistant services.
But it can be difficult to know how to go about the hiring process, what real estate virtual assistants offer your business, or how the relationship works at all. These and more are what we cover in this article.
But first, the basics. What is a virtual assistant?
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a professional who works remotely to assist business owners by taking up some administrative tasks. Basically, a virtual assistant can help you free up time by handling your emails, business phone calls, social media, listings, client queries, managing your calendar, scheduling appointments, etc. In short, they do everything an executive assistant can do remotely.
Imagine how much time you’d be left with to spend with family, do some self-care, and indulge in other interests. Your business gets to run non-stop without your constant involvement. Indeed, you can consider your VA your success side-kick.
What is a virtual assistant for real estate?
For the sake of clarity, this article is exclusively on virtual assistants, not inside sales agents (ISAs) who are licensed real estate professionals. Virtual assistants for real estate do not require any real estate license and do not prepare contracts or handle transactions; they typically assist with less specialized tasks.
Furthermore, real estate virtual assistants are more accessible to real estate professionals and are much more affordable than hiring an ISA or personal assistant.
A real estate virtual assistant can be your right hand by providing support for diverse tasks like lead generation, property listings, data entry, database management, and setting appointments. They can also help with the remote aspect of property management.
All of these are time-consuming tasks most real estate professionals face. But why handle it all or hire in-house staff when someone on the other side of the globe can comfortably manage things remotely? That will boost your efficiency since you’d only focus on the most vital part of your business: transacting with clients.
Without a doubt, a real estate virtual assistant can be a great asset for your business as you grow.
Best Real Estate virtual assistant services and companies
Now that you know how a real estate virtual assistant helps your business, it’s important to identify the best companies to hire a VA from.
Here are some of the best real estate virtual assistant services and companies for agents to consider:
- Time etc.
If you’re raking in up to $300k in revenue, you’re probably very busy and can afford dedicated experts assisting you. MyOutDesk has an advanced process for selecting the best virtual assistants and training them to become experts in specialized industries, including real estate. So if you’re looking for expert-level help, you’d be sure to get a good bang for your buck at MyOutDesk.
- MyOutDesk offers administrative VAs, inside sales VAs, and support VAs to handle client inquiries.
- Offers specialized support, including real estate virtual assistants
- MyOutDesk is one of the best companies for real estate business process outsourcing
- Recruits Filipino and other offshore VAs
- Implements meticulous screening while hiring virtual assistants
- No per hour or per day payment
Although the company offers a free consultation, the prices are fixed nevertheless.
- Quarterly: $1,988/month ($5,964 billed up front)
- Semi-Annual: $1,848/month ($11,088 billed up front)
- Annual: $1,788/month ($21,456 billed up front)
The price is pretty high. For it to be worth it, you need to be a high-earning agent.
Upwork is arguably the best place for one-off hires. Real estate agents having certain tasks to tick off can quickly source a VA on Upwork without any long-term commitment.
Upwork offers real estate virtual assistants working as freelancers. Unlike MyOutDesk, you can deal directly with your real estate virtual assistant rather than the company itself.
- You post your job description and wait for suitable candidates to apply
- Find VAs from all over the world
- Rating and review system to see what past clients have to say about the freelancer’s service
- You can pay per task or hourly.
- Virtual assistants are independent freelancers rather than staff on the platform.
- Upwork holds your payment in escrow and releases it once you accept that the job has been completed by the VA.
You can always negotiate with the freelancer based on the project scope.
Like Upwork, Fiverr is a freelancing platform where you get affordable virtual assistance for various tasks. Whether you need someone for social media management, sales, and marketing, writing, bookkeeping, or calendar management, you can always find talented VAs on Fiverr. Always check the candidates’ ratings and reviews before hiring since you’re entirely responsible for the hiring process.
- Deal directly with your own virtual assistant
- Rating and review system to see what past clients have to say
- Fiverr holds your payment in escrow and releases it once you accept that the job has been completed by the assistant.
- You can cancel and get a refund if unsatisfied with the virtual assistant’s deliverables.
You can get virtual assistant services for as low as $5/hr on Fiverr is $5, although most freelancers on the platform charge higher. Regardless, the pricing is generally very affordable, and you can always negotiate with your VA.
TaskBullet is a great platform for small/medium scale business owners to find talented VAs. They offer great service at budget-friendly rates. Although the company is based in the US, the VAs are based in the Philippines, making it possible to get quality virtual assistant services at lower costs. This helps you save more money.
- Once you purchase your hours, you get the Basecamp mobile app to keep your tasks and communications organized in one place.
- Delegate tasks to your account manager or dedicated virtual assistant
- VA pulls from the hours in your bucket to perform your delegated tasks
- If there’s any real estate task your VA isn’t skilled to handle, you can take from your hours and delegate the task to another team member.
- You have 90 days to use the hours in your bucket
No monthly billing or long-term commitments
- Starter Bucket = $11/hr billed at $220 for 20 hours of virtual assistant services.
- Light Bucket = $9/hr billed at $540 for 60 hours of virtual assistant services
- Expert Bucket = $6.50/hr billed at $1,560 for 240 hours of virtual assistant services.
If you’re cash-strapped but believe you could do with an assistant, MyTasker is a great platform. Their rates are very affordable as the VAs are based in India.
Their flexible pricing, free trial, and quality service rank it as one of the best virtual assistant services any business owner should consider.
- Offers a host of virtual assistant services, from digital marketing to IT support and everything in between.
- An account manager to help you find the best-fit candidate.
- The virtual assistants work in-house from a central location under supervision, ensuring they’re organized and accountable.
- Whatever virtual assistant you choose will be a vetted expert assured of having insight into your industry.
- However, your VA won’t get the freedom and flexibility a remote VA needs to thrive.
There are monthly, full-time, and pay-as-you-go plans. The monthly plan starts at $140/10hrs/month.
A full-time virtual assistant costs $1,200 per month.
Pay-as-you-go costs $18/hr.
#6) Time etc.
Time etc. gives you access to US-based virtual assistants offering a wide array of services, including real estate-focused. To maintain quality and high standards, the company only recruits virtual assistants with years of experience.
Time etc. has become so reputable that Google and Facebook use it. Undoubtedly, it is one of the top platforms for real estate agents to acquire quality virtual assistant services.
- Time etc. gives you a dedicated virtual assistant who will learn the ropes of your unique real estate business and work with you long term.
- A customer manager on the platform gives you a list of the best virtual assistants according to your needs.
- Although the virtual assistants are US-based, many of them are bilingual
- You can pay monthly
- A mobile app to manage things on the go
- Best for long-term relationships rather than one-off tasks.
- 10 hours for $290/month ($29/hour)
- 20 hours for $560/month ($28/hour)
- 40 hours for $1080/month ($27/hour)
- 60 hours for $1560/month ($26/hour)
What does a real estate virtual assistant do?
The services provided by a virtual assistant are as extensive as remote work goes. A real estate virtual assistant can handle a wide range of administrative tasks like graphic design, managing social media accounts, taking inbound calls, video editing, listing presentations, and gathering documentation.
A virtual assistant may offer one, two, or even all those services. But there’s one thing you should note: it’s not always best to look for a Jack of all trades. Most agents look for a virtual assistant that can do their marketing, bookkeeping, scheduling, and transaction coordination and can also be a good ISA. Anyone who tries to handle everything is hardly ever efficient in all.
If you want someone who can keep clients extremely happy during calls, a specialized customer service support assistant is probably what to look for. If you want help with sales, a lead nurturing or marketing virtual assistant would be your best bet.
Of course, a real estate virtual assistant can be versatile with various skills. But the key to optimal success in any role is clearly defining what responsibilities and results are expected.
That said, having up to five VAs each administering their area of specialization is fine. A support team of talented VAs can become an integral part of your real estate business.
Here is a list of tasks you can assign to a real estate VA:
1- Calendar management
If there’s one thing common with real estate agents, it’s their busy calendar. Many agents have to meet with different clients at different locations. After fixing a meeting date with one client, it’s not uncommon for another client to want to meet on that date. It becomes challenging to keep up.
A real estate virtual assistant can help find free times for agents to meet with clients. They can also ensure all functions are on the agent’s calendar and days are not double-booked.
2- Assistance with scheduling
This isn’t the same as calendar management, as an agent’s duties aren’t limited to meetings. They also include events where the agent’s presence wouldn’t be required. That includes listing, repair works, inspections, preparing open houses, and home showings.
Such events and tasks would need to be scheduled so that nothing is ignored. For a busy Realtor, forgetting things isn’t uncommon. But a missed repair work wouldn’t make clients happy now, would it? Having a virtual assistant handle your scheduling can help you free up time to focus on executing the important stuff. If you’re a property manager, your real estate VA can help send out bills to tenants as at when due.
3- Managing emails
It’s not appropriate for an assistant to answer all your emails as there are some transaction-related ones they just aren’t qualified to handle. But they could help sort them into filters and respond to the ones they are qualified to. In the end, you wouldn’t have to waste time opening irrelevant or spam emails.
This form of administrative support may be advantageous when you notice you’re spending valuable time on your business emails each night. Excellent communication skills would be desirable if your VA often responded to emails.
Marketing is a vital part of any business but can be time-consuming. Startup real estate professionals can handle their marketing as they aren’t yet overwhelmed with business transactions. But for rising and established agents, having a real estate virtual assistant would be helpful because marketing should never stop.
Your marketing VA can help with the following tasks:
- Updating your real estate business website
- Creating social media ads
- Graphic design
- Creating and scheduling email campaigns
- Sending out follow-up emails
- Tracking marketing analytics
- Vamping up your SEO
5- Helping with Sales
Like marketing, an assistant skilled in sales can become integral to your revenue generation. Here, you’d want to have someone with high English proficiency. Nonetheless, there’s so much tedious stuff you can take out by having a VA, including:
- Researching buyer persona
- CRM management
- Cold calling and emailing
- Lead screening
- Lead nurturing
- Follow up with leads
Most agents try to keep a keen eye on their finances themselves. While it’s a good intention, it can also be time-consuming to note every expense and profit. It makes sense to leave your bookkeeping to a virtual assistant for a little price.
Moreover, having someone dedicated to that task can also help you prevent paying for subscriptions you don’t need just because you forgot to cancel. So while you may think hiring a bookkeeper is an unnecessary cost, you’d actually be saving money.
7- Keeping up with real estate industry market trends
What’s the best selling day in your city? What about rental pricing? Indeed such information would readily be at the back of your head, but there may be some new details and trends that have eluded you.
Regardless of your virtual assistant’s specialization, it makes sense to ask them to research current market trends in your service area from time to time. It’s always helpful to have such information at your fingertips if clients ask.
8- Preparing marketing materials
Virtual assistants who are unskilled in marketing but have some background in graphic design or Adobe Photoshop can help you create marketing materials like listing flyers and infographics.
Many virtual assistant services are rarely expensive and can be indispensable for attracting prospects.
9- Making travel plans
Some real estate professionals get to travel often, especially those servicing several counties or cities. Aside from that, you may also do things like attending conferences to learn current information about the real estate business.
10- Data entry and CRM cleanup
How organized is your CRM? No, you don’t have to leave your customer relations entirely to a virtual assistant as they aren’t qualified to answer all customers’ questions. But perhaps, your real estate VA can offer administrative support for your CRM like:
- Segmenting your clients into homeowners, buyers, sellers, prospects, etc.;
- Removing duplicates from your database;
- Ensuring contact information is updated.
This can help keep your CRM as clean and organized as possible.
Best practices when hiring a real estate virtual assistant
As has been mentioned, it’s not always advisable to search for a Jack of all trades. While finding one is difficult, you’re almost certain that a VA’s optimal efficiency lies in only a limited set of tasks.
Furthermore, you need not search for someone with a real estate license if all you need is help with administrative tasks like those listed above. Of course, you don’t want to delegate tasks that are best suited for an ISA to a virtual assistant. So if you would handle all your real estate transactions and legal documents yourself, any virtual assistant without a real estate license would do.
However, it helps that they have some insight into the real estate industry. That’s why hiring a VA from MyOutDesk would be a sure bet if you can afford the high price. It would also help to acquire real estate VAs with excellent communication skills for roles where your VA often corresponds with clients, such as taking inbound calls.
That said, you’d need software tools to keep the communication lines open with your VA while tracking their productivity. If you’re paying per hour, this is crucial as you don’t want to pay for unproductive hours.
It’s imperative to set clear expectations with your virtual assistant right from the get-go. No matter how skilled VAs are, every business is different, and the needs of the business owner will vary. If you can set clear instructions and expectations, reviewing deliverables will be easier to ensure they align with your needs.
Finally, never hire a VA just because everyone else seems to be doing so. First, set out your business system and processes, see where bottlenecks lie and determine which gaps can be filled by virtual assistant services.
Why virtual assistants are a cost-effective choice
The total cost of managing in-house staff can be overwhelming for startup business owners. Talk about creating an office space for the individual, equipping it, paying employee benefits, and a fixed salary regardless of their monthly output.
Hiring offshore staff is usually more affordable than in-house employees. Not only are local employees more expensive, but they also don’t like to be tied down with meager administrative tasks. Your offshore real estate VA can comfortably and effectively handle those time-consuming admin duties at little cost to you. Great talent at a reasonable price.
Although remote, virtual assistants typically work the same hours as in-house employees. They are there to assist you when needed.
Determining cost-benefits when hiring a real estate VA
There is a huge price disparity when it comes to virtual assistant services. One of the reasons is that different platforms offer their services in varying ways. For example, MyOutDesk, with trained and vetted in-house real estate VAs offering expert-level help, charges a minimum of $1,788/month. As for Upwork and Fiverr offering independent assistants, you can get virtual assistant services for as low as $10/hr.
This is where it becomes necessary to determine what your business essentially needs at that point. Do you require advanced help from a trained real estate VA with years of experience, or can you make do with an independent freelancer that you can quickly hire whenever you need some admin task ticked off?
For example, paying almost $2,000 monthly for data entry and scheduling wouldn’t be beneficial. On the other hand, someone charging $10/hr may not provide services as advanced as you require, like sales or website maintenance.
In essence, you shouldn’t always be on the lookout for the lowest pricing.
Here are some factors to consider besides pricing:
- Experience level
When starting as a real estate agent or property manager, it wouldn’t hurt to seek out a generalist, as long as they have some experience in your area of need. But as you go on, finding an expert in the kind of task you’re looking to outsource is recommended. Indeed, there’ll surely be a price tag to match; but you’ll certainly get commensurate ROI as the VA will be able to tick off advanced tasks and accelerate your growth.
- Local or overseas
US-based VAs usually charge higher fees. But does that mean offshore talents offer less quality? Absolutely not!
There are awesome talents all over the world. Filipino and Indian-based workers typically charge less than in the US due to the exchange rate and lower cost of living.
But of course, there’s a place for everyone. In real estate, having a local VA may be more appropriate when you need someone familiar with the nuances of your service area.
- The job scope
Clear expectations. Results. These are central when determining the cost-benefit of hiring a virtual assistant.
You must know exactly what to delegate before looking for a VA. And the result should be such that it affords you more time to focus on your core competencies.
To gain such clarity, track your time during a typical work day. What task is consuming your precious time but isn’t driving sales? What’s that important thing you struggle to do that’s outside your skill set? These are the kind of distractions you want to outsource to virtual assistants so you can focus on what you do best — making more money.
If you’re just going to delegate some task you could comfortably handle in your free time, then hiring will likely not drive any significant results.
Hiring a real estate virtual assistant can be one of the best decisions you ever make as an agent. Of course, you’ll learn as you go, and you may need to tweak some processes to accommodate the working relationship between you and your VA. But soonest, you’ll see tremendous payoffs that’ll get you wondering how you were ever able to get by without your assistant.
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