All hands on deck may have been an expression that grew out of seafaring and naval experiences, but it has come to be used in all sorts of different ways when someone or something needs all the help it can get when it comes to finding a success. Real estate agents will only be making a living from working as a realtor when they are having clients sell and buy home through them, and that is not an easy thing to do to a sufficient extent. Effective and ongoing lead generation strategy is key, but sometimes even that is not enough
The amount of realtors working in any are of the country will exceed the volume of business to be had there, and we need to keep in mind that it will always be that only a small percentage of the people in any given area will be in the position to buy or sell a home at any given time. A dearth of clients to be had is an ongoing and unavoidable reality in this business, and so all that is left for you to do is work to securing as many of those leads as possible for yourself.
Newer approaches to real estate agent leads have made that much more doable than was the case for previous generations of agents. The Internet has been hugely advantageous in that regard, and so many agents are now opting to pursue real estate lead generation through paid leads like the ones we provide here at Real Estate Leads.
It is likely that most agents will be able to manage and pursue their leads on their own, but in the event that’s not the case then making use of a virtual assistant may be helpful, and that’s what we’re going to look at with this blog entry.
Defining Virtual Assistant
It’s fairly common for realtors to not able to squeeze everything they need to do into the number of available hours in a week. This can spill over into managing your real estate lead generation too, and especially if you have a bulk of warm but not-hot leads where more is required of you for the individual follow-ups with each.
Among others, it’s in these instances that realtors may benefit greatly from having a virtual assistant to both generate leads and manage them to some extent. Clients will expect their agents to be available to them at all times of the day to handle contracts, submit and accept bids, answer incoming calls, and do much more and it sometimes becomes a lot of one person to handle. Agents may quickly become exhausted by doing this on their own.
A virtual assistant in this instance with lead generations manages everyday company tasks like cold contacting, lead generation, tracking finances, website building, marketing, and database maintenance. Most often they will operate remotely and offer knowledge so agents can focus on their essential duties and with this aim focusing on the more immediate and pressing parts of converting real estate leads into clients.
Realtor Virtual Assistant Advantages
Virtual assistants will primarily be involved in taking care of all the menial tasks that would otherwise be eating up a lot of time in a day that would be better spent on actions with more productive and profitable outcomes. And a big part of the advantage of this with real estate agent leads is that they are a more cost-effective option in comparison to hiring someone on as a paid employee who is part of your real estate team.
That’s because virtual assistants typically bill based on the number of hours worked. A virtual real estate assistant’s cost is also often tax deductible, as compared to an in-house hire and employee that may come with tax obligations and the need to offer them perks. There are also usually more options with how they work for you / work best for you. The fact they will be working remote offers a lot of immediate advantages to the realtor who is employing them.
For starters you are not constrained to interviewing candidates only in your city or even the Province where you are working as a real estate agent. You may also want to consider talent pools abroad that may offer their services at reasonable costs, and employers can also use virtual assistants for jobs or projects requiring specialized skill sets.
Flexibility is a big plus here too, especially when paired with the options made possible with the development of technology. There are plenty of real estate virtual assistants who will like the idea of not having to commute or operate within rigid work-hour restrictions that they would if they were in an office or working in an immediate 1st-person capacity.
Real Estate Virtual Assistant Disadvantages
Most realtors will prefer a virtual assistant who comes with a basic knowledge of the area and market in which the realtors is actively working as an agent, and this is especially true for effective real estate lead generation. If they are an early point of indirect contact it won’t be beneficial if they can’t answer inquiries that are very locale-specific about the property that is on the market. Or homes those people have an interest in possibly buying.
The only way to counter that is to look closer to home for your real estate virtual assistant. Either that of spend money to have them become up-to-speed on the area and the local real estate market. The absence of their physical presence could be a problem too, and especially if your real estate virtual assistant is working from a different time zone. Sure, tools like Skype and Zoom are great for facilitating remote communication, but coordinating and working with someone who is not physically present may still be a problem. Especially when an emergency or prompt responses are required.
You’ll also need to be more wary of the level of trust you have with this person. Working with a real estate virtual assistant working remotely can make this process more difficult. It usually will not be realistic to monitor assistants to ensure they are working during the stated hours or aren’t otherwise engaged when you’re paying them to work with you and contribute to your lead generation strategy. Constructing procedures may be beneficial to build this sense of trust and make it so that there is less of a need for supervising and ‘checking in’ with them.
Consider as well that it is not possible for virtual real estate assistants to receive in-person training. What will often be required here are innovative workarounds that ensure the assistant successfully carries out duties and projects. Fortunately modern technology makes it possible for anyone to now easily record video training sessions and share computer screens. In rarer instances there may some extent of a language bearer between you and the assistant.
While many virtual assistants may be fluent in English, misunderstandings can arise due to cultural differences, corporate practices, or smaller factors that come from their different experiences. Realtors need to put good effort into communicating clearly, and there may also be a need to use inclusive language depending on certain scenarios.
Paying a Virtual Assistant
Most real estate virtual assistant will be independent contractors or freelancers, and the average hourly wage for them in Canada will be in the vicinity of $25 per hour. In some instances you may find ones that are willing to work for slightly less as they see the work as an introduction to a career that they may choose to pursue in the future, but these type of people are not common.
Plus with virtual assistants there may be many prospects for growth and higher income based on skill level, location, and years of experience. To get an idea of what you might need to pay for a real estate virtual assistant who will help to contribute to and manage lead generation you can see what they are being paid through work outsourcing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. These are good platforms for finding a solid freelancer and competitive rates for their work.
Next, there are numerous websites to help connect employers and virtual assistants that you may want to consider as well. Upwork in particular is also really good for finding virtual assistants willing to work and learn with entry-level pay rates, especially when they can assume the role without real estate-specific talents already being something they have. The marketplace MyTasker specializes in offering virtual assistants from other countries, and for individuals looking for foreign assistants who have real estate training, websites like MyOutDesk give users access to a thorough and smart vetting process.
You will be best served here by understanding the activities you need assistance with and a means of analyzing whether or not the assistant is likely to be able to complete them before you move further towards hiring them as your real estate lead assistant. It is important to be able to evaluate and sort through potential applicants. You should also pay close attention to a freelancer’s past employment history, credentials, and skills when examining their profile.
Review testimonials and the ratings if any that they have received from prior clients. It is also perfectly alright to ask them to complete a test task so that you can review how they work and whether or not the way complete it will line up with how you tend to work in real estate and whether or not you and the assistant will be compatible with each other.
Also ask around their availability, time zone, and communication style when interviewing prospective real estate virtual assistants who are able to work with real estate agent leads. Focusing intently on all of the specifics of the assignment with required tools and software, payment arrangements, and anything else that you foresee them needing to be proficient with.
From there you can establish clear goals, benchmarks, and a communication plan. Before signing a contract, ensure you and the other party agree on the work’s parameters, deadlines, and payment arrangements. And working with a virtual real estate assistant is a continuous process where you will check in frequently and provide feedback to ensure the job reaches your standards and that problems are resolved promptly.
Standard Assistant Duties
These are the step an agent will need go through when locating and hiring a virtual assistant on Upwork or another comparable website:
- Register profile on the platform and create account
- Use pertinent keywords and search criteria – location, hourly rate, and expertise, to find virtual assistants
- Look through the profiles and portfolios of the freelancers to best match them with your current needs
- Offer freelancers that interest you an invitation or contact them with Upwork’s DM messaging feature
- Ask questions and review the job’s intricacies as you interview freelancers
- After identifying the top candidate you can then extend a formal job offer to them
- Contracts may be signed, goals can be set, and payments can be made via the platform’s built-in system
Analyzing the freelancer’s profile and portfolio carefully is always helpful for determining whether they fit your needs well. Be aware that Upwork and similar sites can have a sizable pool of smart and experienced virtual assistants, and so it makes sense to take your time and go through them deliberately and thoroughly so you increase your chances of eventually working with the best one.
Business Growth Tasks for a Virtual Real Estate Assistant
Virtual assistants will likely be kept quite busy if there’s a solid customer base for them to be working with. They should be capable of doing a variety of jobs, and business growth tasks like the ones we detail below here is something you can expect of them. Most of them should be proficient with using real estate lead generation software, and using it with a focus on improving the quality of client relationships as well as completing other essential task.
This may include:
- Automated valuation
- Email campaigns
- SMS marketing
- Facebook advertising
- Email campaigns, correspondence, and answering calls
- Lead follow-ups
- Mobile-friendly landing page management
- Market research activities
- Scheduling of meetings, appointments, and inspections
- Relevant system data entry
- Improving customer satisfaction
- Promoting smooth transactions
- Communications made on the agents’ behalf
- Performing online marketing tasks
- Organizing costing gifts
- Writing real estate marketing collateral
It is true that high school diploma or equivalent is generally required, but virtual real estate assistants are not required to have a formal education. Many people enroll in real estate courses at a community college or vocational school to become sufficiently prepared to start working as a real estate virtual assistant
In some instances, realtors who have their assistant working for the brokerage as a whole may give new hires administrative experience and on-the-job training, and having this understanding of real estate processes will increase their marketability. You may also recommend that they regularly browse the MLS listings to learn how they are presented, and connect with real estate agents to learn about VA opportunities. And of course a dependable internet connection is a must.
Here are companies that offer real estate virtual assistants:
- Fancy Hands
- Belay Solutions
These top virtual assistant websites give you access to an account manager who can aid you in finding a VA who is the most ideal fit your working preferences, personality, and also maybe in the type of real estate or properties that you specialize in. In that sense businesses of all sorts have discovered that most of their clients prefer experienced VAs with college degrees to fresh graduates. Choose a supplier here that will give flexible and reasonable offerings and prices to suit your realtor business operating budget.
Hiring a virtual real estate assistant can be a very smart choice for any realtor who is putting a real focus on converting greater numbers of real estate leads into clients. That is lead generation at its best, and when your assistant is capable with the latest software to take your business to the next level there can be real results here.
If you want to expand your real estate business, hiring a virtual assistant can be a smart first step in your growth strategy. This can then let your focus your time and energy on activities that generate revenue by assigning tasks and projects to them, and if they are showing themselves to be very capable then these can include administrative and specialized responsibilities.
A few advantages of using virtual assistants for real estate are price, adaptability, and access to a bigger hiring pool, and weighing potential pros and cons is going to be a part of this for any realtor who is considering any such a hire for the first time. Realtors should carefully weigh potential pros and cons, as it would be with any executive decision made in any other corporation. There’s much to gain from having a real estate lead virtual assistant, but adhering to best practices all the way through the discovery and hiring process is definitely very important. You want to get this right the first time.