Can a virtual assistant step into the world of real estate with no experience and build a profitable and long-term business?
Can the VA step in and save the day by giving a real estate agent back their life and sanity? Absolutely!
In this post, we’ll hear from Diane Sweeney who took her interest in real estate and turned it into a very successful virtual assistant business despite coming from a completely different professional background and having zero experience.
[Diane and her client, Dan Frank, have also just co-created a real estate assistant training course for VAs where they’ve shared the systems and processes they put together to build Dan’s business and give him back control of his time.]
Take it away, Diane!
A little over three years ago, I found myself doing some serious soul searching. After a career as a registered nurse followed by a decision to become a stay-at-home mom to an incredible baby boy, I knew that I wanted to fulfill my desire to do work I was passionate about.
I’ve always had a passion for helping people, but I knew that a career in nursing wasn’t where I wanted to be anymore. This kind of work also wouldn’t provide me with the flexibility I wanted to continue to be the best mom I could be to my little man.
Enter real estate!
Real estate had always sparked my interest and it kept popping into my head when I was considering viable careers. So I decided to take the leap and pursue it further by studying for my real estate license.
Side note: Having a real estate license or a “passion” for real estate aren’t required to become a successful real estate virtual assistant.
During that time, I also began doing research on Craigslist and local job boards for real estate positions – lo and behold I found a position for a real estate assistant, something I didn’t even know existed. I’d never come across any “real estate assistant training” or had even heard of that being a possibility.
That’s how I met Dan Frank three years ago, and we’re still working together.
Why Dan (and All Real Estate Agents) Needed a Virtual Assistant
When I met Dan, he had already been working in the field of real estate field for four years. Prior to that, he had followed his childhood love of flying and had been an airline pilot.
Similar to my own story, after becoming a parent Dan decided to pursue a career in real estate so that he could enjoy the flexibility and availability for his family.
Dan’s career as a real estate agent took off fast! So before he knew it, he found that he “literally couldn’t digest the amount of business I had churning” (his words!).
Dan quickly discovered that he wasn’t experiencing the flexibility he’d been looking for with real estate because, ironically, his business was doing so well. As a result, he was missing precious time with his family and that thing we like to call “work-life balance”.
At the time Dan and I started working together, he was scrambling in his growing business to close deals, generate leads and explore new marketing opportunities.
There are a lot of moving parts with real estate and it’s definitely a lot for one person to handle!
What I learned as my working relationship with Dan evolved is that because real estate agents are essentially independent contractors and work for themselves, there aren’t industry standards or standard operating procedures (SOPs) when it comes to running their businesses. As a result, agents don’t usually have systems and processes in place to keep business organized and growing.
Following up with leads and past clients is crucial to the growth of any business, but as a result of this lack of systems, Dan couldn’t keep up with this aspect of the business.
The name of the game for lead generation in real estate these days is social media. Most agents are either too busy to establish and maintain a presence, lack the knowledge to do so, or aren’t even aware of how important it is for the growth of their business.
A real estate agent also needs to prioritize how their time is spent – maximizing tasks such as showing properties and generating leads, not managing paperwork and their inboxes.
As a real estate agent sells more properties, demands on their time and availability increase. The pace of trying to manage client contact combined with all the other moving parts that make up a successful real estate business would be exhausting for anyone.
In Dan’s case (which is pretty much every agents’ case), he had been taking care of things himself day in and day out for four years when we met. The idea of teaching someone to do what he’d been doing was overwhelming for him at first. And he had definitely been experiencing these “pain points” – lack of systems, dealing with social media presence, struggling with follow up, being able to prioritize the right tasks and dealing with burnout from such an intense pace.
As we found our work flow together, Dan and I were able to put systems in place to streamline processes and offload tasks to me so that he could be freed up to sell more houses and build his business. And, most importantly, get him his life back.
Interested in helping realtors grow their businesses?
Our Real Estate Virtual Assistant course teaches you what real estate agents are looking for and how to best serve the needs of their businesses.
An in-depth course created by a licensed real estate agent and his virtual assistant.
The Four Main Ways I Helped Dan Build His Real Estate Business
I found that in the course of a day in real estate, a lot of different things would just “pop up” such as dealing with clients, managing transactions (an intricate process with a lot of moving parts) and monitoring email.
One of my main goals of getting into this whole adventure had been to have a flexible lifestyle. So one of the ways I managed to stay on top of things – while still having the schedule I wanted – was being clear with Dan about when I was available. To do this, I shared a calendar with Dan so he’d know when he could delegate things to me. This last little tidbit really did wonders for our working relationship and streamlined things for both of us.
I wanted to become as efficient as possible in my work with Dan, so I created a structure for my day that ensured that my tasks were taken care of and that I was available for what might come up.
1. Email Management
I start my day by managing Dan’s email, responding to anything urgent from clients and answering any questions from him. There’s also a lot of other email that goes along with real estate transactions that requires sorting, responding or forwarding, depending on the situation.
If I start my day dealing with the “urgent stuff” then I’m freed up to take care of other things throughout the day, including more incoming emails.
2. Social Media Management
I follow up my email management time with managing Dan’s social media accounts.
As I mentioned earlier, most agents either don’t have the time, knowledge or desire to deal with social media. They need to be connecting with clients, showing houses and selling them, not hanging out on Facebook scheduling posts or creating ads.
3. Transaction Management
This is the biggest, most time-consuming task that real estate agents need help with and where a system or workflow is often missing. Some agents even contract out to agencies to handle this part of real estate since there’s a lot of paperwork and pieces to coordinate.
Dan and I created a workflow for this crucial piece of his business and this has completely streamlined a process that can be very overwhelming to many agents. There’s paperwork to be signed, appointments to schedule, people to coordinate, and a lot of other pieces to pull together. Fortunately, it can become completely manageable if you implement the right systems.
4. Listing Preparation
As a real estate assistant, I found that I could also help my client with listing preparation – preparing a house listing so it can sell.
There are a lot of boxes to check (17 on our checklist!) so this can be another time-consuming part of real estate that pulls agents away from client contact and showing homes. We also created a workflow for this process, and it’s one of the tasks I make time for during my work day after managing email and social media.
Where We Are Today
During the three years of our working relationship, Dan has been able to scale his business and get back to enjoying what he’s good at. His biggest “win” though, has been having a life again!
As for me, I’ve loved every minute of building this business with Dan. Becoming a real estate virtual assistant was definitely the best decision ever!
I’ve been able to:
- Work from wherever I want to;
- Work whenever I want to;
- Decide if I want to work part time or full time;
- Learn a ton working in an industry I enjoy;
- See the possibilities for my own future. I’ve even sold eight houses!
Where Can I Get Real Estate Assistant Training?
You don’t need to be passionate about real estate to be an awesome and successful real estate virtual assistant. You don’t need any experience or real estate “education” or background either.
What you do need is a willingness to learn and the right mindset. Decide if this is your “thing”, set your mind to it and don’t stop until you get it!
What will definitely help you build a successful, sustainable real estate virtual assistant business faster is some skill-specific training. By the time a real estate agent needs a VA, he or she is likely way too busy to teach someone what they do “from the ground up”.
Starting off on the right foot and stepping in with some specific tools and training under your belt will not only help you find clients easily, but it will also enable you to step in with more confidence and begin knocking their socks off right away.
Getting some real estate assistant training will also help take the guesswork out of setting up your business, like how much you should charge and how to deal with taxes for example. Someone else has already figured that out, so take advantage and get your business up and running in no time.
And if you’re an agent and you’ve reached that threshold where you’re finding your work-life balance is out of whack? First of all, congratulations! Second of all, it’s time to prioritize your time and get back to what you’re good at and enjoy – selling homes and creating happy clients.
Finding the right virtual assistant who can sail in and put some systems in place will not only take your business from overwhelming chaos to streamlined nirvana, but will also make your life fun and enjoyable again. That’s a win for everyone!
My last piece(s) of advice: Go for it! Don’t feel like you have to know everything about everything to get started, you really don’t. You can absolutely step into a new real estate virtual assistant business with some skills and knowledge under your belt, no experience, a strong willingness to learn, the right attitude — and you can totally succeed.
This can be a great “learn as you go” experience once you get that first client. You just never know where your decision to take the plunge and go for it will lead you!
Ready to Start Your Real Estate Virtual Assistant Business (or Find a VA?)
How about you? Do you see the potential?
It’s a pretty incredible time to become a real estate VA. With eight-five percent of realtors not having an assistant and handling all their administrative tasks themselves, according to the National Association of Realtors. And the ones who do have one? They’re doing most of the business out there!
Why not you? Why not now?