Sometimes in real estate, work can get just so darn busy that you need a little help here and there to keep you sane and organized. As with any other field or industry, a great option is to hire an intern.
Why Hire a Real Estate Intern
Hiring an intern is one of the lowest-cost ways to get help. Interns generally accept little to no pay in order to gain the experience from working with you. However, the price may not be tied to your wallet but your time. Interns expect a structured learning environment, so it’s important to provide as much time to spend with them giving them the skinny on what you do, how you do it and why. But the benefit could be great.
Many interns are in college or newly graduated. Their generation is immersed in social media, so they could develop a great social media campaign for you, taking that off your plate. They can also help develop marketing materials, maintain your website and help you organize your business in areas where you need it the most.
What a Real Estate Intern Does
As mentioned, it’s important to give your intern some structure. Developing a good list of your needs then matching them with quality learning materials and an idea of how you could teach them the ropes in that area is a great start. Some ideas of what an intern can do:
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- Social media marketing
- Newsletter development
- Website maintenance
- Testimonial collection and copywriting or editing
- Proposal development
- Market analyses and reports
- List preparation for prospects or research into where to find such prospects
- Meeting preparation and attendance to take notes
- Organizing contacts and maintaining your database
This is just a short list of things they can do.
Where to Find Interns
Thankfully, the Interweb has provided so many free to low-cost options to post your real estate intern position. Internships.com, for example, is a great, simple site to find great, eager interns. Going to local universities, community colleges and the like have wonderful resources both through online databases and career resource centers in order to connect with current and soon-to-graduate students. Word of mouth has always been a surefire way and can help guarantee a level of quality. Be sure to include on your website, social media and newsletters.
The actual description you use is just as important to help set up expectations for your intern. Include a brief summary of your real estate business, a glimpse into the structure of the internship and a list of the responsibilities expected of the intern. It’s important to include enough detail that would give the intern prospects a good idea of what each responsibility is so they know what you will have them doing, so make sure each one listed is a good sentence or two giving the who, what, where and when details.
How to Structure Your Internship
A fair amount of time is needed in order to give an intern the expected level of learning that an internship dictates. You can’t expect an intern to do the menial tasks of your business and that’s it. You must include very specific learning opportunities for each. That means meeting with the intern often enough during the week to do temp checks, to answer questions they have and to review their work/provide feedback.
Many states and schools also have specific requirements when it comes to internships. In order to avoid any legal headaches, be sure to thoroughly research what those requirements are and find answers to any questions you have before setting up your internship.
A number of great online resources such as those on internships.com or through doing a quick search on “how to structure an internship” can help you outline and define your internship to meet the needs successfully of the intern.
How Long an Internship Can Be
If you hire during the summer, an internship can last from Mid-May to Mid-August. During the school year, the internship can be a few days a week during a semester or quarter, depending on the school the intern is attending. For those who have already graduated, it’s important to define what the timeframe they are willing to work in is so that you don’t have any surprises.
Make sure they commit to that with some sort of agreement. Be clear about the time you need them and how often. Most internships can be anywhere from ten to 20 hours per week. Be sure you have the right amount of work to fill the expected time and create a schedule beforehand.
Having help can be an exciting turn in a real estate business, especially if you are going at it alone. A good intern can help fill that void and give you a great opportunity to give back to the community. Who knows, maybe they’ll turn into your first associate in the near future!