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The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Virtual Assistant

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A virtual assistant (VA) is a remote employee who handles a variety of administrative tasks for you such as scheduling appointments, making phone calls, doing client research, updating databases and emails, and posting on your social media pages.

Can a virtual assistant do everything for a real estate agent?

Many states have restrictions on what VAs can and cannot do. 1

For example, in California a VA can do these tasks (among others):

  • If they are local, they can go to open houses and assist licensees by placing signs, greeting the public and providing factual information.
  • Provide factual information to others from writings prepared by the licensee.
  • Make or conduct comparative market analysis.

But cannot do these tasks (among others):  

  • Show or exhibit property.
  • Discuss terms or conditions of a possible sale.
  • Attempt to induce the prospective client to use the services of the broker regarding a specific property, transaction, or products during cold calls.

In each state the statues and regulations are different and may often change, therefore it is imperative you check with your state licensing board on any updates before hiring a VA.

How do you find a real estate VA?

  • Ask around. There may be an experienced VA who works or has worked for another agent and is looking to gain some more hours.
  • Others who may be interested in this type of job may be retirees or stay-at-home parents.
  • There are numerous websites that offer to match you with a VA such as upwork.com and guru.com.  
  • You may find other candidates or post job openings on traditional employment websites such as LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter.

This position will be critical to your business; a VA will have access to your most sensitive and proprietary information. So be sure to do your due diligence in checking references.

The Pros of Using a Virtual Assistant

Cost Savings

Most VAs are paid hourly or by project and work remotely, so you do not have associated costs such as insurance, overhead, supplies etc.

Helps You Stay Organized

A VA can organize your emails into coded folders so you know which ones to respond to first. They can also assist with scheduling, billing and database entry.  

Improved Customer Service

A VA can research problems and send follow-up emails to your clients on your behalf in a timely manner. They can also regularly post on social media, so that you stay top-of-mind.

If they are local, they can also provide support by purchasing client gifts and attending client events.  

Increased Productivity

Having a skilled VA to take care of your routine and/or mundane tasks will give you more time to concentrate on what is most important to you. That will allow you to scale your business and will also give you more personal free time.  

A VA who has exceptional skills in an area that you are not as strong in, such as Excel or social media posting, will also free up much of your time.   

Flexibility

You can assign tasks to your VA on your schedule. 

The Cons of Using a Virtual Assistant

Lack of In-Person Connections

Many VAs are based out of the country so there are no opportunities for in-person connections. There may also be language, cultural and time-delay barriers.

Additional Training May Be Needed at First

 This is especially true if you have a proprietary system or a system the VA is not familiar with yet.

Risk of Data Security Breach

It is imperative that you do your due diligence when hiring a VA. Additionally, be sure to have measures in place to prevent sensitive data from being accessed by people you do not trust.

Possible Lack of Commitment

It’s a leap of faith to hire anyone and that is certainly true of a part-time freelancer who may be based in another country. A VA may say they are happy with the arrangement you have with them but could also quickly, without warning, decide it is not for them.

Whether you hire a local person to help you or go with a remote assistant, training and ongoing communication will be key to ensuring a successful working relationship. For more tips on how to grow your business, sign up for a free Business Consultation with one of our expert Business Consultants at buffiniandcompany.com/bc. We’ve got you!

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