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Real Estate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Development

Building Step-by-Step Procedures for Your In-House Team & Virtual Assistants to Follow

Goal:

Building Real Estate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is crucial for achieving 3 main goals:

#1. Build a Systematic Real Estate Business. If everything just exists in your head, you’re highly vulnerable to the Bus Factor. By having everything documented in Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), repetitive Workflows can efficiently run the same way, every time. Plus, by taking this systematized approach, you can more easily adjust & improve your Processes.

#2. Building a Scalable Real Estate Business. With clearly documented step-by-step Procedures, it will be easier to hire & train new employees (as well as Real Estate Virtual Assistants). You’ll need an organized collection of clear SOPs to ensure everyone joining your Team understands how to do their job!

#3. Building a Saleable Real Estate Business. If you ever want to sell your business & retire, you’re going to need to have clearly documented Systems and Processes. Nobody wants to buy a business that’s all in your head: they want the highly valuable Intellectual Property (IP) of proven, step-by-step, easy to follow Procedures!

How It Works:

“I never like to document out a Process until it has occurred the same way at least 3 times.”

The first step in building out a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for your Real Estate Business is going to be clearly understanding the step-by-step Workflow you’re documenting.

Once that is clear enough, building your SOPs will typically fall into 3 main stages:

Stage 1: “Over the Shoulder” Training Video Recording. The best way to start documenting an SOP for a particular Workflow is to simply film yourself doing the work (or someone else who is a subject-matter expert). Usually this comes in the form of a screenshare video, since most Real Estate Workflows these days are occurring “in the cloud.”

  • Tools to Use: Camtasia, Loom, Zoom, OBS Studio

Stage 2: Detailed, Step-by-Step SOP Document. While the Training Video is great, it’s not that easy to reference in real-time. That’s why it’s also important to have a detailed, step-by-step Standard Operating Procedure documented out. The best practice is to not only explain each step in the process in clear, plain language… but also include copious amounts of screenshots & supporting resource links.

  • Tools to Use: Google Docs, Word, Process.st, SweetProcess

Stage 3: Implementation & Optimization of the SOP. Once your Workflow is fully documented in the Standard Operating Procedure, you need to make sure it’s working properly. That means (i) training the Team Member(s) on the Workflow, actually following the SOP, and (ii) tweaking & improving the SOP document, based on real-world feedback.

  • Tools to Use: Real-world effort to Train & Manage, plus Slack, Whatsapp, Jotform, Google Forms, etc (to collect & manage feedback)

If you treat your SOPs as the fundamental building blocks of your Real Estate Business, you will be building a more Systematic, Scalable, Saleable company.

Plus, by treating these SOPs as living documents, that are constantly evolving, you’ll ensure that your company’s documented Systems & Processes are always up-to-date and accurate as per today’s exact day-to-day Workflows.

Pros:

The more SOPs you build in your Real Estate Business, the more Systematic, Scalable, and Saleable your company becomes.

Your business will be more resilient to the “Bus Factor” … never too dependent on what’s inside the heads of only one or two people. By making all your day-to-day operations revolve around clearly delineated & documented Procedures, you are building a real asset, not just a job for yourself & your Team.

This means your business will not only run more smoothly & efficiently: it will also be more valuable should you ever decide to sell the company & retire.

Cons:

There are almost no downsides to building more & better Standard Operating Procedures for your Real Estate Business!

The biggest con, by far, is the effort it will take to set it up. Building detailed, step-by-step Standard Operating Procedures takes a lot of effort.

In the process, you’ll probably realize that you never actually thought through the exact steps in some Workflows you take for granted… but just because you know how to do them yourself, doesn’t mean you’d be able to easily train someone else who lacks your insider’s knowledge.

Therefore, the effort of building SOPs is twofold:

#1. Actually systematizing the Workflow, so it runs the exact same way, step-by-step, every time (or as close to it as possible). You can’t document something that is different every time!

#2. Going through the painstaking process of documenting every little detail in the Workflow, step-by-step, including screenshots & additional resource links.

Other than the downside of this initial effort, and then making sure your SOPs are actually being used & are up-to-date to today’s real-world Workflows in your business, there are no downsides. Building systematic step-by-step Standard Operating Procedures is one of the best investments you can make in your Real Estate Business!

Work Estimate:

Building SOPs can take anywhere from 2 – 10+ Work Hours to complete.

Let’s look at the Work Estimates broken down by the same Stages mentioned above.

Stage 1: “Over the Shoulder” Training Video Recording. Typically, this will take anywhere from 1 – 3 hours. It largely depends on the complexity of the Workflow, and how fancy you want to get in your video production. Very simple Tasks can potentially be recorded in a matter of 20 – 30 minutes, but others will take more explanation & repetitions to become clear (increasing the time necessary to record & edit a proper Training Video).

Stage 2: Detailed, Step-by-Step SOP Document. The best way to do this is simply going through the video, and capturing everything mentioned, step-by-step (with screenshots!). Depending on the length of the video, the number of steps in the Workflow, and the number of different sites that will require logins for screenshots, a complete SOP is usually going to be 15 – 45 pages long (in PDF format) and will take about 3 – 6 Work Hours to complete.

Stage 3: Implementation & Optimization of the SOP. This is really an ongoing task, so it’s hard to estimate the exactly amount of work it will take.

Typically, once your Training Video and SOP Document are complete, you’ll be able to train the related Team Members in just slightly more time than it takes them to watch & digest the video.

Then, for best results, you’ll want to spend at least 2 – 4 hours per month with your Team, reviewing the SOP documentation, comparing it with the actual real-world implementation, and continuing to improve the documented version to better match the real-world best practices.

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