No work day is the same when you’re a real estate agent. Depending on the day and time, an agent could be showing a property at an open house, meeting with a new client, or driving between listings to get everything checked off the list. In turn, it’s easy to put administrative work on the back burner, especially when the market is hot.
That’s where virtual assistants (VAs) come in. VAs can help busy Realtors save time and energy. A real estate agent can delegate administrative tasks to a VA and free up time to invest in client relationships and business expansion.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is an individual hired to perform a set of administrative tasks for a set price. Unlike a traditional executive assistant, who is often on a company’s payroll, virtual assistants are often contract workers with hourly rates or predetermined project scopes.
In an uncertain job market, people often turn to part-time or gig work to supplement their income. According to freelancing platform Upwork, virtual assistants charge anywhere from $10 to $20 on average. These costs vary based on their level of expertise, scope of work, and previous experience.
A virtual assistant can take hours of work from a busy real estate agent’s day. Here are 6 reasons to hire a virtual assistant.
1. Virtual assistants help manage your time
Like traditional executive assistants, virtual assistants help manage their employer’s time. You can hire a VA to manage your daily schedule and book appointments with internal partners and external vendors, like photographers, stagers, and contractors.
Virtual assistants performing time management duties don’t need any special skills or expertise, they just need to be organized. College students or recent graduates looking to increase their earning potential would make great virtual assistants for time management and scheduling. Be sure to hire a virtual assistant you trust, though, since they will have access to your calendar and other potentially sensitive personal information.
Think about what you could do with the time you would typically spend on administrative tasks. By offloading a certain number of hours each week, you could pursue opportunities to capture more of the real estate market in your area and grow your firm’s portfolio.
2. Virtual assistants are cost-efficient
Most virtual assistants are contract-based workers who charge an hourly rate or fixed prices for a set period. This saves you or your real estate firm money on payroll taxes, health insurance, and other costs associated with hiring full-time staff.
Contract-based work also allows the flexibility to hire based on need and workload. Every realtor has a busy season when they might need some extra administrative help, but it may not make sense to pay for that help full-time when work slows down. This cost-effective hiring model means you as the realtor can hang onto more of your commission check as you work more efficiently.
3. Virtual assistants can help market and promote listings
For every new listing, there’s a lengthy checklist of marketing activities that have to happen to sell for the highest possible price. When it feels like there are too many marketing calendars to manage, a virtual assistant can step in to execute marketing tactics for listings hitting the market.
A virtual assistant with marketing experience can use that expertise to streamline and improve your marketing plans and create templates for pieces of marketing collateral. They can also provide copywriting support for brochures, emails, and online listings.
4. Virtual assistants help manage client relationships
A virtual assistant can be an asset when managing multiple clients at once. Acting as your professional representative, they can provide high-touch customer service and support when your listing portfolio grows.
Though nothing beats one-to-one communication with a client, your virtual assistant can set up phone calls and virtual meetings with clients to make sure listings are moving forward as planned.
Depending on your scope of work, VAs can also answer urgent client questions on your behalf. You can also task your virtual assistant with customer-related data entry, such as making sure customer contact information is up-to-date in your company’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
5. Virtual assistants can offer tech support
The real estate industry isn’t always the first to adopt cutting-edge technology. Most real estate companies rely on a suite of tech platforms that work together to ensure data integrity and keep things running smoothly. A virtual assistant can supplement with day-to-day tech support to make sure all systems are integrated the way they should be.
This could include activities like MLS data entry or website updates, but the right tech-savvy virtual assistant could also help automate time-consuming processes or even identify new tools the business could benefit from.
6. Virtual assistants can help manage the books
After a long day of showing homes or managing listings, the last thing you want to do is tackle the pile of receipts you’ve accumulated that you need to expense. An organized virtual assistant can help keep track of expense reporting to save you time.
You could also delegate petty cash management or other day-to-day budgetary needs to a virtual assistant with bookkeeping or budgeting experience. While no substitute for an accountant, a virtual assistant can help make sure all financial information is consolidated and easy to find when tax season rolls around.
Virtual assistants can also help by researching local real estate trends around listing prices and commission rates in your region. If you’re expecting a VA to take on in-depth accounting projects, you can also expect to pay more for that expertise.
Virtual assistants save time for busy real estate agents
Growing a real estate business requires real estate savvy and effective delegation. Hiring a virtual assistant lets realtors hand off tasks on their terms and trust that they’re in good hands. Virtual assistants can perform strictly administrative work, like scheduling and data entry, or more specialized work, like accounting support.
The wide range of work support offered by virtual assistants makes them an appealing solution for busy realtors who could use a few hours back each week.
Luke Babich is co-founder of Clever Real Estate.