Virtual assistants aren’t new to real estate. But suddenly, all assistants are virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions, which renders the idea of choosing between ‘virtual’ or not irrelevant. In fact, any assistant you hire should be able to operate remotely as a virtual assistant — pandemic, or not. Working on files from anywhere is the new norm.
If you don’t necessarily agree with that—and if you’re still turning manila folders stuffed with printed documents into your broker—then, there is a much bigger challenge with your business: relevancy. Other than listing appointments, showing houses and inspections, nearly all of real estate work can be done “virtually.” And it’s what the consumer expects.
So, now the question is, “Should I hire an assistant?”
First, ask yourself why you want an assistant. Agents who hire an assistant typically have one of the following mindsets:
Relaxation is self-explanatory. These are agents who want to simply free up more time to take it easy, travel, spend time with friends and family, etc.
Then, there are those interested in growth. These agents want to get more done. They hire assistants to delegate specific tasks so they can focus on new business. Hiring for growth can be complex, and it should be well planned out.
Before you hire an assistant, know your mindset, and plan out your goals.
Then, decide what type of assistant you want to hire first. Here are the types of assistants found in the industry.
Transaction Coordinators – A transaction coordinator is typically the first hire most top-producing agents make. They hyper-focus on getting transactions to the closing table, while the agent gets to work on the next deal in their pipeline.
Transaction coordinators handle the paperwork, schedule activities like inspections and closings, and otherwise ensure all deadlines and requirements in the contract are met. In other words, they handle all non-revenue generating tasks, so the agent can focus on building their business. Ask any top-producing agent, and they’ll tell you their transaction coordinator is really the secret weapon—and the next critical step in achieving growth.
Sales Assistant – Most agents will hire a sales assistant after a transaction coordinator is in place, and when they’re generating enough leads to keep the sales assistant busy. If a sales assistant is hired prior to a transaction coordinator, it means the agent will end up doing transaction coordinator work—which is NOT the best use of an agents’ time.
That said, at some point, an agent who wants more sales will end up hiring a sales assistant for activities like responding to online prospects, warming leads, setting appointments, etc. With the right hire, and—most importantly—with the right systems in place, a sales assistant can help keep sales pipelines full and new business flowing.
General Assistant – Hiring a generalist is seems like the easiest first path but often leads to problems later on. As they say, a jack of all trades is master of none. A generalist, or personal assistant, is typically in place to field all types of random requests for help from agents. From sending postcards to calling on leads to reviewing paperwork for accuracy, and anything else the agent wants to be done.
However, this role doesn’t scale. It’s not specialized, and most agents see errors as a result. Most teams will hire a general assistant, once transaction coordinators and sales assistants are in place. This role is best for supporting the specialists on your team.
Whether any of these assistants are virtual, remote, work from home, or in an office… it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is, agents who are focused on growth need highly specialized talent (regardless if they’re virtual, or not).