6 Things to Know Before Outsourcing to a Real Estate Virtual Assistant

There is no doubt that outsourcing to a real estate Virtual Assistant will reap a multitude of benefits for your agency. It is a low cost, sustainable option that will contribute to your productivity, enhance the quality of work and provide your business more flexibility.

But before hiring a real estate Virtual Assistant, here are 6 things you should know and consider:

1. Are You Ready to Work With a Virtual Assistant?

 

It seems to be an obvious question. As a real estate agent you need help. You have to delegate some tasks so you can have more time to attend to the core functions of the business.

But working with a Virtual Assistant is a different experience. You will have to do without shared space collaboration and adjust to working with someone in the virtual world.

Despite the availability of software programs that allow you to monitor and track the performance of the VA, it could be a process that might take some time to get used to.

The hardest part for agents is to relinquish control over the tasks they used to manage. It’s a matter of getting over your fears, doubts and self- limiting beliefs. Trust is a quality that takes time to grow and mature. It all begins by outsourcing the first few tasks to your real estate Virtual Assistant.

 

2. What Tasks Are You Going to Outsource?

 

In real estate, the 3 key areas of responsibility that you need to outsource are the following:

Administrative Work – With so many meetings to attend to, calls and inquiries coming in via phone or e-mail, documents and contracts to review the available time you have in a day can easily be pulled in many directions.

Among the administrative work that you should outsource to a real estate Virtual Assistant are as follows:

 

  • Appointment Setting
  • Calendar Management
  • E-mail Management
  • Phone Handling
  • Listing Research
  • Lead Research
  • Data Entry
  • CRM Management
  • Filing and Documentation
  • Preparation of Various Reports

 

Marketing and Sales – The real estate industry has become very competitive because more people are transitioning to a career as a professional agent.

As demand for property in Australia continues to rise, property prices continue to test or surpass historical highs. One deal could mean a lucrative payday for an agent.

Marketing plays a big role in a competitive industry. You can use various marketing techniques to enhance your online presence, generate leads, expand your network and land big sales opportunities.

You can outsource the following marketing duties to your real estate Virtual Assistant:

 

  • SEO
  • Website Management
  • Social Media Marketing
  • E-mail Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Content Writing
  • Design and Preparation of Graphics for Marketing Collaterals
  • Preparation and Distribution of Press Releases

 

Specialized Work Tasks – In the real estate business there are tasks that are specialized because you need to designate them to people with the required proficiency, training and level of experience.

  • Back Office Work – These are supportive in nature and help your business run smoothly. Examples are Accounting, IT Management and Human Resources Management.
  • Sales – Once your marketing efforts have yielded a substantial number of leads, it would be time for your sales people to take over.You need to hire a Virtual Assistant with experience dealing with prospective clients in real estate. They are experts in moving them through the sales funnel.
  • Customer Service – There is a saying that “The sale does not end once the customer pays”. This is true in real estate. You should always touch base with your clients because they can generate repeat business for you.
    Virtual assistants can be instructed to send them frequent e-mails on new listings and at the same time remain available should your clients have questions or need clarification.

 

If you remain unsure of the tasks you want to outsource, start out with administrative work. Once you gain more confidence, you can slowly delegate other responsibilities.

But do not overwork your VA as it will affect her productivity. If needed, hire another Virtual Assistant to handle other tasks.

3. What Skills Are You Looking For in a Virtual Assistant?

 

There are 2 types of skills that you should consider when qualifying a candidate for Virtual Assistant work:

Hard Skills – These are the requisite proficiencies for the job. Among these are the following:

 

  • Computers
  • Navigating the Internet
  • E-mail Management
  • Spreadsheet Programs
  • Word Processing Programs
  • Project Management Programs
  • File Sharing Programs
  • Excellent Communication
  • Great Writing Ability

 

Soft Skills – These are the personality behavioral traits or attributes that define the work attitude of the candidate. Among the most desirable soft skills are the following:

 

  • Leadership
  • Punctual
  • Expert in Time Management
  • Meticulous
  • Disciplined
  • Resourceful
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Creative Thinking

 

By identifying the hard and soft skills that you want in your real estate Virtual Assistant, it will be easier to come up with the qualifying guidelines and the parameters of your search.

 

4. How Will You Work With Your Virtual Assistant?

 

Before you start looking for candidates, you should have a system in place that will manage your working arrangement with real estate VA. A system should have the following frameworks and processes in place:

 

  • Project Management Solution
  • File Sharing Solution
  • Time Tracking Solution
  • Communication Flow
  • Report Generation Flow
  • Schedule of Weekly Meetings
  • Schedule of Performance Evaluation
  • Work Rules and Regulations

 

Having a system in place will minimize the incidence of mistakes and introduce better efficiency in the overall work flow.

 

5. Where Will You Look for Your Real Estate VA?

 

The obvious first place to look for candidates is the Internet. Among the creditable sources are:

  • Online job communities
  • Social media networks
  • Online virtual assistance agencies

When vetting prospective candidates, keep in mind the following:

  • Review their online profile; look for references, reviews and testimonies from clients.
  • Conduct due diligence work; perform a Google search and check their social media accounts. Find out what they post and share in social media.

You may also consider asking your contacts or those in your network for their recommendations.

 

6. How Will You Qualify Your Real Estate VA?

 

Once your job post has attracted a good number of applicants, filter the most qualified based on their resume and other submitted documents. Create a short list of candidates and run them through a selection process that includes:

 

  • Interview – Based on their resume; learn more about their background and try to uncover their personalities.
  • Practical Test – Put them through simple tests that touch on organization, spreadsheet preparation, phone handling, calendar management, e-mail management and Internet navigation.
  • Paid Test Period – Have each candidate work with you for 2 hours and evaluate their performance.

 

Hire the candidate whom you feel most comfortable working with. Make sure the arrangement is covered by a contract.

Always keep in mind that the real estate Virtual Assistant is there to lend support whenever she can. She is not a miracle worker; hiring a VA will not ensure the success of your agency.

But you can be rest assured your level of productivity will rise exponentially. It will take some time to get your VA up to speed and established in your business. Stay with it and be patient. Hiring a real estate Virtual Assistant will be the best decision you can make for your agency.

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