Main menu
Questions?  Contact Us

Comparison Shopper's Guide: Hiring A Real Estate Virtual Assistant

View This Document As A PDF Now

(Right click & select "Save Link As" to save for offline viewing.)

REAL ESTATE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT HIRING GUIDE

Setting The Foundation: Defining Your Business Goals

First off, before you can hire real estate virtual assistants, you’ll need to define your business goals.

You need to be clear on what you’re trying to accomplish. What are your most pressing business objectives, for which you might be turning to outsourcing & virtual assistants?

For instance, are you trying to…

  • Generate more leads?
  • Drive traffic to your listings?
  • Close more sales?
  • Slash payroll & employee benefit costs?
  • Locate potential acquisitions?
  • Improve operational efficiency?
  • Rekindle relationships with past clients?
  • Delegate research & data entry tasks?
  • Provide support to your clients (or tenants)?

Ultimately, your ability to be clear and concise in this goal setting phase is going to be the foundation upon which your Virtual Assistant deployment is anchored.

If your foundation is not crisp, clear-cut, and sturdy, your hiring, training, and management of your Virtual Assistant will either be unsuccessful or significantly over-priced (in terms of money, time, and energy you have to invest).

NOTE: This is the exact reason why we require a REVAS-Style Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Approved by our Training Manager, before a new Client can work with our Virtual Assistants.

Your REVAS-Style SOP is a detailed, step-by-step document that provides an exact working manual for your Virtual Assistant to follow, ensuring you achieve your stated business goals.

Even if you don’t hire REVAS, we highly recommend using a systematic REVAS-Style SOP to guide the work on every task you outsource to Virtual Assistants.

[Click here to see examples of REVAS-Style SOPs on our website…]

The good news is, you probably already understand these business goals better than any one.

That’s because they are all about your day-to-day life working in & on your company … and don’t need to have anything to do with your Virtual Assistant yet!

Setting your business goals is entirely separate from the actual outsourcing.

This is a key point, because by setting your initial goals in the familiar context of your own business, you needn’t worry about the logistics just yet. Rather than get caught up in the details, you can focus on the most important criteria for outsourcing:

What exactly is it you want most out of your business right now?

Outsourcing is best understood as a tool to meet these business goals.

If you ever have trouble defining or articulating your business goals, focus on your deeper lifestyle goals that drive them.

Why did you get into your business in the first place?

Why are you in it today?

What is most important to you about your business?

Once you have these in mind, it’s time to consider:

The Most Important Question To Ask Before Hiring A Virtual Assistant

“Which activities in my business do not require someone’s physical presence?”

Sounds simple, but your ability to break it down as specifically and clearly as possible is the most critical factor of success or failure with your Virtual Assistants.

The best thing about real estate outsourcing is that the task-list is generally very obvious and straightforward.

That’s because there are certain activities that blatantly, unavoidably require someone’s physical presence.

Hosting an open house?

Closing a contract?

Attending conferences & events?

Somebody has to be there, in the flesh. There’s just no way around it. You can’t outsource that to somebody in India…

In some cases, you not only have to be there in the flesh, but also licensed, insured, bonded, or more, just to legally complete the task.

And that’s not to say you can’t “outsource” these to local independent contractors, but for the sake of our discussion, a “Virtual Assistant” is only someone who:

Doesn’t work on-site with you, and…

Isn’t employed by your company.

In that sense, the list of potential tasks which you can outsource, or delegate to a Virtual Assistant, is nearly limitless.

However, as someone who’s helped to implement Virtual Assistant & outsourcing campaigns for a variety of real estate companies, here are some…

COMMON REAL ESTATE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT TASKS

  • Graphic design (including layout & formatting for printed materials)
  • Classified ad / MLS posting & updates
  • Website design (for company sites, MLS compatibility, and single property sites)
  • Copywriting (for ads, sales letters, brochures, flyers, websites, telemarketing scripts, and more)
  • Search engine marketing (PPC campaign management, SEO link building)
  • Social media marketing
  • Telemarketing / inbound call receiving
  • CRM software administration & support
  • Research (including comparables reporting, lead list building, and information verification)
  • Data entry / record keeping (including basic small business bookkeeping)
  • Miscellaneous personal assistant / secretarial tasks
  • Whatever else you can imagine that doesn’t require someone’s physical presence…

For a more complete list of Real Estate Virtual Assistant Tasks, download the 180+ page encyclopedic:

REVAS Service & Pricing Menu.

Access it directly here.

Whether you use that list above for ideas, or come up with your task list from scratch, you’ll need to be specific about this if you want to ensure success when hiring a Virtual Assistant.

You need to envision the task list from start-to-finish, and you need to set the criteria for success in a way an 8 year old could understand.

If you’re working with us at REVAS, we require a systematic, step-by-step Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), that must be Approved by our Training Managers, before your Virtual Assistant can get started.

This is related to our specialized ‘Process-Based, Not People-Based™’ approach to everything we do.

Once you have clearly established your business goal, and come up with a precise outline of your required Virtual Assistant tasks to meet that goal, you are {finally} ready to begin…

Finding And Hiring Real Estate Virtual Assistants

Finding & hiring the right real estate virtual assistant is all about succeeding in three important tasks:

· Attracting The Right Candidates

(stating your requirements where the right candidates are most likely to see it)

· Interviewing For The Best Candidate(s)

(narrowing down the field to find the VAs for the job)

· Hiring The Best For A Test Period

(during which you carefully monitor performance to determine potential sustainability)

To succeed in these tasks, you have many options.

Ultimately, we’ll be sticking to web-based options, but you can also take the same ideas I’ll talk about for Craigslist or Upwork and post them in your local newspaper’s classified section.

In that sense, keep in mind that you’ll be reliant on the interface & audience of the sites you choose to post your “help wanted” ads. Here are some guidelines & options…

THE BEST PLACE TO HIRE REAL ESTATE VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS

Real Estate Virtual Assistant Services [REVAS]

Ok, of course we’re biased toward ourselves.

We strongly believe that Real Estate Virtual Assistant Services ( REVAS for short) is your best possible option when it comes to real estate automation & outsourcing.

We’re not a perfect fit for everyone.

We’re not the cheapest (though we do beat most on price).

We’re not the easiest to get along with (though we do have fun and create a supportive, family environment).

We are the foremost expert on what it takes to outsource & automate your real estate business, freeing more time and growing your income.

We have proven processes, and direct experience working hands-on with thousands of systems in hundreds of real estate companies from around the world.

Our team is comprised of both US-based and Overseas Virtual Assistants who all have experience working on real estate related tasks & campaigns.

REVAS packages range from 20 – 160+ work hours per month.

Our prices for Overseas VAs range from $6.87 per hour (or less) to $12 per hour.

Our US-based VAs range from $18 per hour (or less) to $24 per hour.

Some more unique advantages that set us apart include:

REVAS provides Fully-Managed Virtual Assistants.

While most Virtual Assistant companies basically pair you up with a person and say:

“Good luck.”

At REVAS, we take a much more hands-on approach to managing & delivering your Virtual Assistant services.

Our ‘Fully-Managed’ solution means that we don’t only assign your Virtual Assistant.

We have Training Managers & Intake Managers who are your added points of contact, in charge of training your Virtual Assistant, monitoring your campaign, implementing changes & modifications, and helping with improvements.

With us, you get not only a Virtual Assistant, but an expert management team constantly evolving better systems & procedures.

11 BENEFITS OF USING REVAS VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS

#1. No more Recruiting, Interviewing, and Onboarding.

Even for Overseas VAs, it costs us (at minimum) $250 - $600+ in hard cost & man hours per new hire, when you factor in:

  • Advertising the position,
  • Reviewing resumes,
  • Interviewing candidates,
  • Checking references,
  • Onboarding paperwork (for US-based only), and
  • Initial training & team introductions.

Plus, these have to be done every time a new hire is needed.

If your new hire is no longer able to work for you, because they found a better offer elsewhere, or because they got hit by a bus, no matter what:

You get to spend this hard cost of money & time, every time you hire.

With REVAS, you never have to lift a finger. Recruiting, Hiring, and Onboarding are 100% handled by us.

Even if a specific VA who was working on your campaign needs to be replaced, we'll do so rapidly, following our mature & proven recruitment process, at no cost to you and with very little delay or interruption on your work.

#2. No need to Manage, Train, and Track your VAs.

At REVAS, you'll receive daily End Of Shift (EOS) reports from your Virtual Assistant automatically. This will include daily hours worked, tasks accomplished, and a simple, narrative work summary for the shift.

We strictly enforce a day-to-day work discipline, and fire anyone who is not dependable (Core Value #7), so you hopefully never even encounter this type of bad apple (as you inevitably will when hiring direct).

Every REVAS Client can depend on our Intake Managers and Training Managers to help oversee & track your Virtual Assistant(s) so you don't have to worry about it.

You can be as involved as you want to be. We'll make sure your campaign is running on track & your VAs are on task every single shift.

Most REVAS Clients rarely (if ever) even speak to their Virtual Assistants, because with your daily EOS Reports, and the occasional brief chat with your Training Manager, you'll know exactly what's going on and be able to achieve & track results without any effort.

#3. Skip the Payroll, Taxes, and Int'l Wire Transfers.

REVAS is a US-based corporation, who you can pay by Credit Card (or Paypal or check or money order, pretty much however you want).

You don't have to worry about our W-2s or IRS Withholdings (for US-based VAs), nor do you have to worry about potentially incurring the hefty 30% Foreign Persons Tax or the costs of international wire transfers & shifting exchange rates (for Overseas VAs).

All REVAS Virtual Assistants are employed directly by our company, mostly full-time, and have their payroll, tax paperwork, time cards, and funds transfers sorted.

These are headaches you'll never have to worry about again if your team goes all Virtual. And even if you still maintain a US-based, local, on-site team of W-2 employees or W-9 contractors, delegating more & more work to REVAS will keep your tax filings & fees simple and cheap.

#4. Never stress about keeping your VA(s) constantly busy.

Hourly employees need hours to work, or they don't get paid.

Unless you're totally heartless, you probably care about your employees lives and don't want them to go hungry.

Even if you lack all empathy, it's easy to see from a purely pragmatic standpoint:

You can't keep good hourly employees if you don't give them hours & tasks to work.

At REVAS, we have the demand from hundreds of Clients' pulling from the same pool of Virtual Assistants, so we can juggle VAs' work hours on changing schedules & workloads much more easily than any one individual real estate business could.

It's what we do!

Plus, part-time direct-hire employees end up costing significantly more in hidden costs than just their actual wages.

If you've spent much time hiring (and replacing) part-time employees, US-based or Overseas, you've already experienced the high turnover rate first-hand. Even if you give them as many hours as possible, they might eventually leave for something more full-time & permanent.

Add that to the cost of Recruiting, Hiring, and Training replacements, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

By working with REVAS, you never have to worry about losing or replacing your Virtual Assistant due to a few slow months, or a long holiday vacation. Since we always work Process-Based, Not People-Based™, and have a considerable talent pool from which to draw, you can rest assured you'll have your VA(s) happy & ready to work, whether you need to cut back to only 20 hours per month, or add another 200+ hours.

#5. Outsource the unpleasant job of firing.

The 5th headache you'll avoid by working with REVAS is the unpleasant task of firing employees.

While a certain percentage of bosses revel in the chance to send a team member packing (and in some extreme cases we're all probably happy to finally pull that trigger)...

Firing a sub-par employee is usually a difficult, procrastinated task that happens much later than it should have.

Plus, if you've ever had a firing or layoff go poorly, you probably to this day can still remember the stress of the situation. It's never pleasant letting someone go, especially if you'd rather not.

But sometimes an employee must go, regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, for you to run a more successful, profitable company.

By working with REVAS, you'll never have to worry about firing when it comes to your Virtual Assistant(s).

Simply let your Training Manager know that your Virtual Assistant is not working out, and we'll handle the rest.

Plus, we'll get them replaced for you with another VA at no additional cost, and with no effort from your end. Never worry about the stress of feeling stuck with the wrong employee again; outsource it!

#6. Build a more scalable, automated business.

One of the biggest benefits of strategically building your Virtual Assistant back-office is a more scalable, automated business.

By using a more Virtual team, focusing on a Process-Based, Not People-Based™ approach, you'll be creating a modular, compartmentalized company that practically runs itself.

Plus, it will be easier to weather the storm of changing times, since no particular component of your business is irreplaceable.

Working with our Virtual Assistants in your business is like having an extra set of eyes & a whole team of industry-experts at your beck and call. The REVAS management team is always here, always working on ways to make your experience better.

Our #1 Core Value is "Obsess over Client success," so the longer we work together, the more help we'll be. The greatest assets we bring to the table are our experience & proven processes, all of which are geared toward building you a more efficient, growth-focused business.

#7. Maximize your own output by delegating menial tasks.

As you get more confident & comfortable working with your Virtual Assistant(s), you'll also start to see more opportunities to delegate work off your plate.

Even one hour per day freed from your schedule ends up as about 200 - 250 extra hours per year. In other words:

Every hour of daily work you delegate to your VA is like an extra full-time month & a half you've created for yourself.

While it's tempting to simply use your Virtual Assistant to go from working 40 hours per week down to 35 hours, while still collecting the same pay... there's a much smarter (and more commonly adopted option).

You keep working the same amount, but focus on the work that actually brings your biggest checks, and delegate the rest.

By delegating all non-essentials to your US-based and Overseas Virtual Assistant team, you can spend your days strictly on revenue generating activities. Grow your income substantially by spending your time making money, not on chasing down paperwork or doing menial administrative tasks.

#8. Improve efficiency with more systematic processes.

It's hopefully no secret by now that we require clear, step-by-step, 'REVAS-Style' Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Approved by our Training Manager, before you can be assigned one of our Virtual Assistants.

This naturally has to do with our Process-Based, Not People-Based approach, which was arrived at not by chance, but by massive trial and error.

We've seen every possible approach to delegating work with Virtual Assistants. The only approach that works consistently, that is easy to track, measure, and manage, and that therefore can be continuously optimized & improved over time, is one that follows systematic, step-by-step processes.

With REVAS, we're not only obsessing over your success: we're fully invested in the success of hundreds of real estate Clients just like yourself, and everyone's growth & experience helps everyone else.

We're privvy to behind-the-scenes knowledge from companies ranging from the largest incumbents in the industry, to nimble one-man-operations leveraging innovative tactics to tilt the playing field to their advantage.

Working with REVAS as your Virtual Assistant provider, our knowledge becomes your knowledge. What we've learned over years of working with hundreds of real estate companies is put to work in your business when you hire us as your back-office partner.

#9. Provide 24x7 Support without answering a single call.

By working with a company like REVAS, you can get access to both Hourly and On-Demand Virtual Assistants.

With On-Demand Virtual Assistants, you'll have someone US-based, available 24x7, even on holidays, for an extremely cheap, per-minute rate, to answer all your inbound calls.

If you wanted to hire direct Virtual Assistants for 24x7 coverage, you're looking at 3 full-time employees, working 3 shifts on a round-the-clock rotation. That's about 720 work hours per month, which even at $3.50 per hour for extremely cheap Overseas VAs comes out to >$2,500 / month!

With REVAS, you can provide 24x7 Support, picking up all inbound calls you receive at all hours of day or night, for a low monthly fee ranging from <$100 - $400 per month where you're only billed for the actual minutes we spend on the live calls.

This is definitely a service you'll only find with a reputable, fully established, managed Virtual Assistant back-office, and not something that is replicable via direct hire (without paying 10x as much).

#10. Working Process-Based, Not People-Based™

As part of our Fully-Managed approach, we have developed a system that works universally by working with hundreds of real estate business owners.

That system revolves around our motto:

Process-Based, Not People-Based.

That means for us, the Prcoess (a systematic, step-by-step Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP) comes first.

While people come & go, a Process remains.

This is especially critical when it comes to outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant who will never meet you face-to-face.

Working Process-Based, Not People-Based, we’ll ensure your results by following this proven process-based, systematic approach.

Learn More: Working Process-Based, Not People-Based™

#11. Get Direct Access To REVAS CEO, Marshall Hatfield.

Not only will you benefit from our experience & collection of systematic SOPs.

At REVAS, you can hire our CEO directly for paid Consulting Sessions, wherein he’ll help pinpoint your highest ROI opportunities.

Hatfield’s experience is based on nearly a decade in real estate outsourcing & automation.

As CEO & Founder of REVAS, he has behind-the-scenes access to hundreds of the nations top real estate brands. He’s written on the topic of real estate outsourcing more than anyone on the planet, and is a foremost expert on the subjects of real estate automation, outsourcing, marketing, and process improvement.

Learn More: Private Consulting with REVAS CEO, Marshall Hatfield

#11. Effortless ‘Done For You’ Process Development Services.

As part of our Process-Based, Not People-Based approach:

REVAS requires systematic, step-by-step Standard Operating Procedures before you can work with our Virtual Assistants.

We’ve found over the years that the only way to guarantee success with outsourcing is by focusing on the Process first, Person second.

Sometimes, real estate business owners aren’t interested in investing time & energy on developing your own detailed, 10 – 20+ page Standard Operating Procedures.

REVAS can build new SOPs for you, ranging from simple process streamlining, to setting up new systems & software, to telemarketing campaign planning & script writing.

Learn More: ‘Done For You’ Real Estate Process Development

COMPARING REVAS TO…

MyOutDesk

MyOutDesk, or MOD, is one of the older Real Estate Virtual Assistant service providers.

Founded in 2008, they are strictly focused on pairing you with a Virtual Assistant. They are not providing a fully managed Virtual Asssitant solution like REVAS.

At MOD, the entire back-office team is located in the Philippines (all Overseas). The company is well known among employees in the BPO industry there, and they maintain a large team of relatively high-quality, Philippines-based Virtual Assistants.

One of their greatest strengths is their quality training materials which all MOD Virtual Assistants are exposed to.

Their prices range from $10 to $12 per hour for these Overseas-only Virtual Assistants, with a minimum monthly package of 80 work hours ($947 / mo).

TaskBullet

TaskBullet is not a “Real Estate Only” Virtual Assistant company, though Real Estate VAs are one of their most popular offerings.

Similar to MyOutDesk, TaskBullet Virtual Assistants are all located in the Philippines (Overseas only).

Also similar to MyOutDesk, TaskBullet will focus on pairing you with a Virtual Assistant to handle your work, not necessarily providing a fully managed solution like REVAS.

TaskBullet pricing ranges from $6 - $10 per work hour, with packages ranging from 20 work hours ($200) to 240 work hours ($1,440).

This means one of TaskBullet’s great advantages, is if you purchase 240+ work hours at a time, you can get some of the cheapest Virtual Assistant rates besides direct-hiring freelancers on Upwork.

Are you planning on buying 240+ work hours from TaskBullet?

We might be willing to match, or beat, their price!

Contact REVAS first.

Real Support Inc

RealSupportInc is most likely the oldest company specializing in providing Real Estate Virtual Assistants.

Founded in 2000, this Chicago-based firm works strictly with on-site, US-based Virtual Assistants at their brick-and-mortar offices.

Their main focus is on real estate marketing tasks, and they offer a wide variety of solutions for Real Estate Agents & Brokerages looking to outsource a portion of their Marketing and Administrative tasks to an all-US-based team.

With a relatively high level of service quality, they are also one of the most expensive Real Estate Virtual Assistant service providers in the industry.

Upwork

Upwork is the result of the merger between Elance.com and oDesk.com.

This site is more of a jobs marketplace than a Virtual Assistant provider.

By far, the biggest advantage of hiring through Upwork:

Price.

You will be able to most likely find the lowest cost Freelancers / Independent Contractors through Upwork, that you will find anywhere.

The biggest downside, is that now by working through Upwork, you will take on all the extra responsibilities of being the direct employer & manager of your new Virtual Team. This means now you’ll need to take into account things like:

  • Recruiting.
  • Job Descriptions.
  • Interviewing.
  • Hiring.
  • Onboarding.
  • Staff Training.
  • Virtual Assistant Monitoring.
  • Management.
  • Firing.
  • Lost VA Replacement.
  • Etc…

While Upwork is cheap, you’ll definitely pay for the small cost savings in time, energy, and added chaos.

Craigslist

Craigslist is the most popular classified site in the world (the 110th largest site worldwide, and 15th in the US according to Alexa).

But did you know it is also a great place to potentially hire your next Real Estate Virtual Assistant?

Craigslist can be one of your best options to hire a US-based Real Estate Virtual Assistant (if that’s what you need), because you can actually target any specific city where you’d like to hire someone.

This is especially helpful if you live in a more affluent area of the country (like New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc) … because you can then post your job ad in a much less affluent area of the country (like Albuquerque, Louisville, or Memphis).

As long as you don’t run afoul of their spam filter (by posting exact duplicate ads to multiple cities, so create variations), you can actually post your “help wanted” ad in the Jobs section of several locations around the country (or even around the world) at once.

A few cities cost money to post jobs ads (details here). The rest are free.

When posting your ad in multiple cities, make sure you specify that this is a remote / virtual working arrangement, and check the box that says it is “Ok to telecommute”.

It is even possible to recruit & hire Virtual Assistants from Overseas using Craigslist, but keep in mind:

If you direct-hire Overseas employees, the international wire transfers & tax law responsibility now falls on your shoulders.

When you are working with sites like Upwork, or when you hire a company like Real Estate Virtual Assistant Services (REVAS), you’re simply paying a US-based company like any other service provider or sub-contractor.

When you directly hire a worker who lives in a foreign country (as in, through Craigslist, by posting in the list of cities below), you first need to consult your accountant about IRS Tax Withholding on Payments to Foreign Persons, particularly Form 1042-S.

That said, if you are looking for good Real Estate Virtual Assistants from abroad, using Craigslist, try posting in the Jobs sections for:

These are all cities where you should be able to find Virtual Assistants who are accustomed to working with similar companies in the US, UK, or Australia. You’ll be able to find good English speakers, with access to fast internet & quality VOIP lines.

The key, whether you’re posting in Louisville, KY or Bangalore, India, is to make sure you do a quality job of Attracting, Interviewing, and Hiring the right Virtual Assistant.

No Matter What You Do…

SHOP AROUND!

Do your web searches. Post your Jobs ads.

Speak to someone at our office.

And shop around.

Outsourcing & automating your business is not easy.

If it was, everyone would already be doing it, working 10 hour work weeks, with double their current income.

Instead, it is a race:

To stay ahead of the pack with innovative, efficient systems for generating sales for your business.

With this Comparison Shopping information at your fingertips, you’ll be a more informed consumer no matter where you hire your Real Estate Virtual Assistants.

Your best bet is to try a few different options, and see what works the best in terms of ROI, because at the end of the day it’s all about the bottom line.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us through the site and one of our outsourcing experts will help out in any way we can.

Good luck!