brokerage outsourcing

A Real Estate Broker’s Guide To Outsourcing

Your real estate business is growing. Your properties are selling like hotcakes, and there’s no sign of your success stopping anytime soon. Everything sounds good, until your schedule goes tighter and tighter by day, and sooner or later, you find managing your real estate business becoming a nightmare every day.

Successful real estate professionals who used to experience the same hassle can agree on one thing: since they’ve embraced the idea of outsourcing, they’ve enjoyed a major increase in efficiency and productivity with their business’ performance.

A 2012 survey conducted by Cushman and Wakefield found four factors that influence a real estate agent or broker’s decision to outsource.

These factors include (1) the leverage to enjoy improved efficiency without spending too much, (2)having more time to focus on important business matters, (3) having an expert take care of specific aspects of your business such as marketing, customer relations, lead generation and more; and (4) being exposed to emerging trends and practices in fields and industries connected to real estate, such as technology.

  • Leverage of enjoying increased efficiency at a cost lower than hiring an in-house staff
  • More time to focus on important business matters
  • Expertise of professionals on specific aspects of your business, such as marketing, customer relations, lead generation and more
  • Exposure to emerging trends and practices in fields and industries connected to real estate, such as technology

Do I Really Need To Outsource For My Real Estate Business?

Being a buyer’s advocate requires a lot of labor – guiding your client every step of the way to make the right property investment.. Some may find themselves involuntarily neglecting other important duties in running their real estate business. For instance, organizing files on sold and for-sale properties is often not seen as a priority. It can wait. But the longer tasks like this get put off the harder they are to do and the more the start to affect a broker’s ability to stay organized.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind: you don’t need to do anything on your own. Just because you’re running your own real estate business doesn’t mean all duties fall on your shoulders.

Some might argue, “why would I need to pay someone else to do something I can learn by myself?” They think outsourcing is an unnecessary expense.

Well, here’s the thing: you’re time is the most valuable thing that you have. And even if you are a quick learner, it takes time to learn to do tasks well. So how do you know when you need to hire someone for help? Usually if you keep asking yourself, “do I need to hire someone,” you usually do. If you spend most of your time doing administration work, find yourself always behind schedule or are getting complaints from your staff that they “have too much on their plate,” then you are a great candidate for outsourcing.

How To Identify Which Tasks Need Outsourcing?

The biggest piece of advice is to start with a list. List every task you do in your business on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. This helps you identify which tasks you’re struggling with that you could indicate in your job post. Plus, it helps you determine how frequently you’ll be needing the freelancer/VA’s help – are you going to hire someone on a short-term or long-term basis?

Categorize your tasks by urgency.

Once you’ve listed everything, categorize these tasks into three:

  • Tasks You Must Do – things only you can and must accomplish (open house, client meetings, property inspections, and other high-value tasks in a real estate business
  • Tasks You Can Do – things you can accomplish on your own that won’t take much of your time
  • Tasks You Can’t Do – things you’re having a hard time doing or beyond your expertise

Who to Hire?

The most important and crucial part of outsourcing is choosing the right person for the job. You have to consider if they have the skills, knowledge and specializations fit for the job.

Generally, there are three types of talents you can hire: a freelancer, virtual assistant, and/or a middleman.

Freelancer

Freelancers are a good option because they work independently, on a “per job” basis. If you’re thinking of outsourcing a task that needs to be done for just once or a couple of times, freelancers are your best bet. For instance, you need to run some Facebook and Google ads to advertise your open house event. In this case, you could easily hire an ad expert to do the job for you. Plus, if you like their work you can always negotiate a recurring service. Most freelancers appreciate a consistent revenue stream.

Virtual Assistant

If you’re thinking of outsourcing long-term tasks in your real estate business but don’t want to hire an in-house staff, a virtual assistant is your best bet. For instance, you can hire a virtual assistant to manage the administrative tasks of your business, including answering emails and phone calls, appointment setting with your buyers or sellers, posting ads, and handling social media accounts to name a few.

Many VAs are located in regions where labor is quite affordable so they are often a great value. Since they are already competent in most administrative tasks, you won’t need to train them as much as you would with a new in-house staff.

Middlemen

If you want to skip the hassle of looking around the net for the right hire altogether, consider getting in touch with a middleman. A middleman is basically a service or a platform that will help you with your overall outsourcing needs and requirements. Their services mainly revolve around finding and matching you with the right freelancer or VA. Your middleman could also provide you with additional insights, strategies and plans to further enhance your outsourcing.

Where to Hire Someone?

Technology has really helped connect the business world with freelancers. Plenty of online freelance and VA sites exist. Here are some of the freelancing, VA and middleman sites you can check out when outsourcing the tasks of your real estate business:

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Onlinejobs.ph
  • Staffvirtual
  • Outsource Accelerator
  • Fiverr (Advisable for project-based tasks)
  • Peopleperhour
  • Toptal
  • Craigslist (there are job posts here too!)
  • Vasumo

When Creating Your Job Post or Description

Find the right person for a job is critical and it all starts with a job title. Here’s a smart hack you can try when creating your job post: start backwards. First, go over the tasks you’ll be needing help with. Then, proceed with listing all your requirements for the job: do you want someone with a background in real estate, someone with experience working with a real estate agency, the skills the candidate should meet? Now it will be a lot easier to come up with a job title.

After Your Job Post Goes Live

Once your job post is live, expect a pool of applicants submitting their proposals and application letters. At this stage, you should be prepared to assess every candidate thoroughly until you’re left with one or a few promising candidates.To make this process less intimidating, be sure to prepare an assessment checklist, from the years of experience you’re looking for, the knowledge of the applicant with the real estate industry, credentials and sample works (if applicable) down to attitude and characteristics.

What Tools Should I Use to Manage and Maximize Your Outsource?

To properly manage your hired freelancer/assistant, maximize their productivity and ensure stable communication, take note of these tools, apps, and softwares:

Time Tracking Software

You want to make sure you’re getting your penny’s worth from your freelancer or VA. It’s like their working under supervision, but without you doing the actual work. Screenshots of their work would be taken at random times, so you’ll have proof if they’re doing the job, and how long it took them.

Some of the most-trusted time tracking software are:

  • Hubstaff
  • Time Doctor
  • Time Tracker by eBillity
  • Toggl
  • Timecamp

Project and Task Management Software

Organization of tasks, files, and documents are essential as well in the real estate business. Since you are dealing with someone outside of your organization, these are highly recommended. To organize the monitoring tasks and projects, check out these tools:

  • Basecamp
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Teamwork
  • Proofhub

Outsourcing for your real estate business is like property investment. It takes careful planning and consideration, but once you get the gist of it, it becomes the best thing you wish you’ve learned soon enough. It can be scary to invest in something for the first time. But like any investment goes, there’s no way you can determine which one works best for you until you try it for yourself. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of trial and error. Would this service work for you? Will this person deliver the outcome you’re expecting? Only one way to find out: try and observe.

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