Some people say there is no secret formula for hiring and managing a real estate VA. I would have agreed with them 8 years ago. I owned a real estate business and started outsourcing way back in 2013. I must say at times it was hard work. The reason it was hard work was all the cool stuff that exists today did not back then!
In this article, I will go over a tried and tested success formula for implementing a real estate VA as a realtor or a business owner.
Back to “Outsource” School for Realtors
If you are like me and in the Real Estate Industry, you probably were not much of a scholar but one of the most popular with the opposite gender, making study time slim. Don’t worry I am not talking about going back to the boring school, the one that has nothing to do with making money. By now you have found out that making money is more important than learning quadratics. This school is the new school, in fact, the “Outsource School” that helps you scale through Real Estate Virtual Assistants.
The funny thing is, these days, if you get new software, you will watch all the tutorials you can get on YouTube to get the best out of it. Sadly, people hire a new staff member and do not take the same approach by learning how to get the best out of people. A real estate VA is a human being with thoughts and feelings like any person, so you really must get better yourself at managing people before you get started.
This is something I wish they had back in the day, as education is going to be key. You must learn the following before you even consider getting started.
Before You Hire Your First Real Estate VA
- You need to identify what tasks your real estate VA will complete for you. You must be careful here because you can not outsource your own work. You must start with passing off the repetitive and time consuming, yet easy, tasks first. Start small or you will destroy your new team member from day one.
- A real estate VA needs clarity, and there is no better clarity than writing a very clear Job Description. You must be realistic with this also. You will need to include some hard skills and soft skills. If you are doing this right, all the tasks you are handing off should be easily trainable.
- Before you get started, something you need to realise is that you need SOPs for everything. Not all at once, but you will need to at some point. The easiest way I found to get these out of my head was to first map out the entire workflow using something like LucidChart.
- Do not take any shortcuts. Every time you try to skip documenting before you get started, whatever you are trying to achieve will fall flat on its face every time. So get this in your head “No shortcuts!”
How and Where to Hire a Real Estate VA
This is something that may not seem that important, however, I can tell you it really is. My advice is that, for real estate businesses, if you can go full-time for your day to day grind, then do it! Part-time is ok for specialist skills, however, it is far better from a business and consistency perspective to see the same face every day. When it comes to hiring a full-time real estate VA, there is no better place to get the best for bang for your buck than outsourcing to the Philippines.
Why Hire Filipino Real Estate VAs
Filipinos are hardworking, very intelligent, and super eager to please. For the USA, it fits in perfectly as all Filipinos have English as a second language. This means that there really are very few communication barriers that you are likely to get hiring from other countries. One thing you need to know about the Philippines, though, is that it is a developing country, so the infrastructure is not great.
When hiring a Filipino real estate VA, there are many ways you can go about this. There are many freelance websites that are great to get started. However, from my experience, this is not a long term solution. At some point, you will feel the pain points like I did from staff turnover, power outages, internet intermittence, and my least favourite, getting to know the common family-owned chicken. That is, unless you are willing to pay more than a few dollars per hour to hire someone who has a better work setup. You get what you pay for!
Choosing the Best Real Estate VA
Look for a hiring site or agency that will provide you with infrastructure, HR support, payroll management, mentorship, and oversight for your VA. This way you can focus purely on task allocation, training, and making money. These services may cost you an extra couple of dollars per hour, but I can tell you that it is well worth it to avoid the headaches of hiring on your own!
When choosing a service to work with, one thing I really did not get at the time I first started was what their location has to do with their quality.
Where the Best Filipino Real Estate VAs are Located
I have now been living personally in the Philippines for 5 years. The importance of location is more apparent to me now than it ever has been. I have explored nearly all of the country and the education level in different parts of the country is different. If you are going to choose a service provider to partner with, they should be located in Baguio, Manila, Cebu, or in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. These areas are where the education and English levels are highest, and where the outsourcing industry is most common with large talent pools. This will play a big factor as it is about what you can get your VA to do that counts. The more educated, the easier it will be!
Ok, so now we have covered all the boring stuff — well, at least the stuff I find least exciting. Now we will move on to the fun stuff where I get to introduce you to my most exciting discovery of recent times for business in general. Importantly, though, keeping to the topic of this article, is managing a real estate VA or a team of them.
Introducing ClickUp for Real Estate
I am sure you have used all kinds of different tools in the past. Like I said at the beginning of this article, back when I started a lot of things, a lot of these tools were not available. One of these tools is now the secret weapon for business that I am introducing you to right now: ClickUp. ClickUp is like all of the tools you may have ever used all in one. On their ad that first hooked me was the slogan “One app to replace them all” and I thought that couldn’t be true. However, as you will discover here, it was.
So when I got started using a real estate VA, I really had trouble managing them from day to day and having one consistent tool that I could do everything I need. I have tried everything, and just to name a few, these are some of the tools that I have used but no longer have the need for: Trello, Slack, Loom, BasCamp, Asana, AirTable, Monday, Process Street, Sweet Process, and many more.
I will not go too technical here as I will do that in a follow up article specific to the implementation.
6 Features of ClickUp You Will Love
- Trello Mode | I call this Trello mode because it does everything and more inside of ClickUp. The reason I love this is I used Trello for a long time to manage the Sales and Leasing process for my Real Estate Business. The left to right Kanban Flow style was perfect. EG Listed, to Live, to Under Offer.
- Map Mode | Map mode is crazy as it replicates something that we used to do on a big printed map digitally. I loved to see where all our listings are, all our appraisals, and all the properties we have sold. This was a daily obsession to look at the map and think hmmm where is our next sale coming from. In map mode, you can pull the location of the card into a map, seeing everything and anything you decide. How you use this is up to you. However, I say it has great power in the right hands.
- VA Management | Inside of ClickUp you can actually record your screen and videos straight into a chat or then embed the video wherever you want. Before, you probably used Loom and Google docs or something similar. With ClickUp, you can create videos and process docs right inside the app. You can then even link words or steps in your process to templates. This is very exciting and one of the big reasons hiring and managing a real estate VA is easier than ever.
- Pulse | Pulse is just genius. You can see who is logged in and who is working on what at a glance. So if your VA is not active in Pulse, what are they doing? This will give you full transparency of what your VA and your other team members are doing.
- Goal Setting | In real estate, we are in the game of making money. To do that, we need to stay motivated. Goals is a function in ClickUp where you can set, track, and achieve your goals. Think about this: you have a meeting with one of your agents at the start of the month saying that he will do 13 appraisals, list 7 properties, and sell 5. You can now set and track all of this inside ClickUp.
- Automate it | Automation in business is key as you need to make sure one thing connects to the next seamlessly. You guessed it! ClickUp has this, too. You can customise automations from one thing to the next with ease, but what I really love is that you can automate webhooks. This might be getting too technical now, but this means sending data out to any other program. Wow, the power is crazy!
It is time now to summarise all of this information you have received. There is a lot here, and if I have permission, I will keep writing to make sure I go into detail to help more in all of these areas.
The formula to success with hiring a real estate VA is simple. You must first educate yourself to make sure you are ready with a realistic POV. Secondly, be clear about what it is you are trying to achieve. Thirdly, choose a service partner that is the right fit to make sure your expectations can be delivered. And lastly, become a master of ClickUp as it will really bring everything together.