Real estate agents have a lot on their “to do” lists every day, so it only makes sense to employ the help of an assistant or, in many cases, to outsource some responsibilities. We asked a couple leading real estate professionals to share their advice on what to outsource (or not) and how to manage outsourcing.
Abide by Local Laws
Michael Kelczewski of Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, who is licensed in Pennsylvania and Delaware, has seen this topic brought up time and time again. With multiple state licenses under his belt, his advice is to make sure to abide by local laws.
“Many aspects an assistant would conduct could be restricted to licensees,” Michael cautions. “For instance, in my states of practice, dissemination of real estate information must be undertaken by a fully licensed individual.”
Because of the sensitive information real estate agents handle for which they are liable, he recommends assistance from a licensed assistant as opposed to a virtual assistant. One area that such a person can help with is direct real estate inquiries. A licensed assistant ensures that client data is never compromised.
In addition, in order to decrease the headache of on-boarding requirements, he only hires experienced individuals. Proper and thorough training of a technological system is all that is needed in this case for the assistant to integrate seamlessly with processes and the rest of the team. To determine ROI from his delegation, he measures volume and profit trends among his team.
What Michael does outsource without hesitation is marketing, such as graphic design work and brochures. In the near future, he plans to outsource listing coordination to help free up his own time for client relations.
Monitor Your Outsourced Activities
It can be easy to have a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to outsourcing certain responsibilities in a real estate business. Real estate investor Brian Davis, however, advises agents to keep a close and frequent eye on the success of outsourced work, such as marketing campaigns.
“If realtors work with a marketing firm, they should insist on regular (weekly or monthly) reports showing effectiveness and ROI,” said Brian. “Realtors should stay in close contact with all marketing professionals and pay close attention to performance and analytics. They can then continually tweak and adapt their marketing campaigns and strategy.”
While real estate agents and small businesses generally should manage their overall marketing strategy, individual components can be outsourced.Paperwork, bookkeeping and accounting are all good candidates to be outsourced, says Brian.
Just as important as what to outsource and how to manage it, according to Brian, is what not to outsource.
“Perhaps the most important activity that real estate agents undertake is networking. This cannot be outsourced – if anything, realtors should double down on their networking efforts and outsource nearly everything else.”
Brian says that the first four to five meetings with new clients should not be conducted by anyone other than the agent of record. The assistant, once the real estate agent has shown adequate face time, can then coordinate future (but not all) meetings at showings or other meetings. And, if there is one meeting that an agent should always show up to instead of another team member, it is at settlement.
Showing enough in-person attention builds trust with the client and helps fuel referrals or repeat business.