Economics is defined as the efficient allocation of scarce resources. If you are managing a lean and tight real estate business, working with a real estate Virtual Assistant will be your best option.
In real estate, one sale can lead to a windfall of profits. But it takes a lot of work to get that one sale through the funnel. Without efficiently allocating your resources, you could find yourself struggling through lean periods.
There are many advantages to hiring a real estate Virtual Assistant. But having one onboard your company is not a guarantee to success. There are also risks involved in working with a VA.
The Pros of outsourcing to a real estate virtual assistant
1. Cost- Efficient Approach to Staffing
Staffing costs can wear down your business. If you hire full-time employees, you are obligated to pay them a salary plus benefits. This means assigning them 8 hour shifts every work day. You also have to re-align your operating budget to accommodate rental space, power, Internet bandwidth and contingencies.
By working with a real estate Virtual Assistant, you do not go through this litany of expenses. You only pay for total hours worked per day and you are not required to assign them 8-hour shifts. Virtual assistants are not entitled to benefits because they are contracted; not employed, by your company.
You can probably hire three virtual assistants for the price of one full-time employee!
2. Immediate Increase in Level of Productivity
According to studies, most people can maintain their focus for 60 to 90 minutes. If you can apply 100% focus for 60 to 90 minutes on each task, you might accomplish 3 to 4 work goals every day.
If you are doing everything yourself, it will not be possible to give 100% focus because there will always be distractions. Agents often find themselves taking calls, stuck in their chairs answering e-mails, preparing presentation materials or updating the MLS.
These are important tasks but they are best delegated to your real estate Virtual Assistant. By assigning administrative and supportive work to your VA, you can have more time to focus on activities that will generate revenue for your business.
3. Improves Probability of Closing Sales
Real estate agents are great in building their networks, establishing contacts and acquiring leads. But they have their shortcomings in converting these prospects into sales. It’s not for a lack of skill; but having insufficient time.
A real estate Virtual Assistant can take over from you after the first few calls to your prospects. Those with prior experience in the real estate industry understand the language.
They know how to keep prospects interested without pressuring them for a sale. Constant communication is important to keep the prospect moving along the sales funnel.
4. Ensures Quality of Work
Virtual assistants are no longer limited to just secretarial work. The profession has evolved to accommodate a variety of skills and competencies.
You can find virtual assistants who can do technical work such as SEO, web design, transcription, graphic design and market research to name a few. Many have undergone further training or acquired certification.
Most of all, they have the time to dedicate to the task and assure you of the quality of work.
5. Keeps the Business Running Smoothly
How many times have you seen the bill from a contractor or supplier just as you were on your way out the door? You probably said to yourself, “I’ll take care of that later”.
But you didn’t and the bill gets buried under a pile of other letters.
A few days later your power gets cut or you lose Internet service. Sometimes it happens at the most inopportune time like when you are in the middle of a Skype call with a client.
When you’ve earmarked a number of tasks for the day, it is easy to overlook other duties and responsibilities. A real estate VA will make sure all your bills are in order and paid on time.
She can send you a reminder 2 days before the due date or give you a payment schedule every start of the week so you’ll know how to manage your cash flow.
6. Provides a Source of Valuable Advice
A Virtual Assistant isn’t just hired help. They can be a source of VA or Valuable Advice. Most virtual assistants came from the regular office world before transitioning to a career as a remote worker.
They have the experience and expertise that could help your business run and function better.
Don’t hesitate to ask them for advice or an opinion. Encourage the Virtual Assistant to be more involved with the business. At the same time, you should keep an open minded about the Virtual Assistant’s input.
7. Relieves Stress
There will come a day where you feel totally run down. You are more fatigued than usual and it is becoming increasingly difficult to arrive at decisions.
When you feel worn out that is the cumulative effect of stress. Your body is telling you to relax and get re-energized.
By having a real estate Virtual Assistant onboard, you can delegate some of your tasks so you can have to time for a short break or a vacation. If you wish, you can schedule once-a-week meetings during your time off to keep you abreast of developments in your business.
The Cons of outsourcing tasks to a real estate virtual assistant
1. Shortcomings of Virtual Collaboration
For agents who have not worked with a Virtual Assistant, it may take some time before they can adjust collaborating with someone who does not share the same space.
Even with the availability of online programs to monitor remote work, it may not be enough for some to be comfortable working with a Virtual Assistant.
2. Dealing with Trust and Control Issues
Agents who have been managing all tasks by themselves may have issues relinquishing control and trusting someone who works behind a computer monitor.
Lack of trust and control issues could exert pressure on the working relationship between you and the Virtual Assistant. It might make the act of delegating tasks more difficult. You might end up with a Virtual Assistant who is under-utilized.
3. Risks of Miscommunication
It is easier to relay instructions to someone who is beside you than to someone whom you cannot see because she is sitting thousands of miles away behind a PC. With shared space collaboration, there is no filter. Communication is much clearer between the sender and the recipient.
When you work with virtual assistants, you have to deal with latency issues. Internet service could be poor or the PC they use has grown unreliable. Some of the best virtual assistants are from the Philippines and India but you will have to deal with the language barrier as well as cultural and social nuances.
4. Difficulties with Industry- Specific Tasks
Unless you hire a Virtual Assistant with experience in the real estate industry, you may have some difficulty having some industry- specific tasks done according to expectation.
These tasks include familiarity with city state legislation on real estate transactions, reviewing contracts and updating the MLS.
You will need to take some time from your schedule to orient or train the VA to get her up to speed on these types of tasks. Then your concern would be on her learning curve. Some may take longer to slope than others.
Like all business development strategies, the best way to find out whether it is worthwhile working with a real estate VA is to give it a try. Start out slow; assign only administrative tasks and evaluate the performance regularly. Add a few more responsibilities as she improves and gains confidence.
Always keep in mind that the Virtual Assistant is not a miracle worker. She will need time to get familiar with the tasks that are assigned to her. But with patience, dedication and a willingness to work together, your collaboration with the real estate Virtual Assistant will take your business to the next level.