Do You Need to Hire an Assistant?

Do You Need to Hire an Assistant?

By John Giffen

As published in Inman News on October 9, 2020

As a productive real estate agent, you probably spend between ten to twelve hours each day working on and in your business. If you are at a point where you feel your real estate business might not be growing the way it should because your daily tasks are overwhelming you, then it might be time to consider hiring an assistant. To keep your business moving forward, you need to determine what administrative duties you could delegate to someone else. By doing so, you will have more time to focus on the revenue generating segment of your business, which includes prospecting, interacting with clients and leads, and closing your transactions. Also, an assistant can free up your schedule so you can have more personal and family time.

A good and reliable assistant can handle many tasks for you and your clients. Some of their responsibilities can include posting to your social media sites, assisting in preparing buyer and listing presentations, managing your marketing efforts, and handling your transaction paperwork. If they hold a real estate license, they can do even more for you. Licensed assistants can manage incoming leads, show property for you, host open houses, and complete transaction paperwork.

Should You Hire an Assistant?

How do you know if it’s time to hire an assistant? I recommend you consider hiring an assistant (preferably one who is licensed) when you are closing between two to four deals each month or at least twenty-five consistently over a twelve-month period. Another clue that you need assistance is that you are becomingly increasingly more frustrated and exhausted by trying to keep everything organized and getting your work completed and on time. This type of stress and anxiety can impact how you come across to your clients, peers, and family.

One late afternoon, I walked by the office of one of my top agents, Alex, and noticed he was holding his head in his hands. “It looks like you’re having a tough day,” I said. He said, “Yes, and I am up to my ears in paperwork!” After we spoke for a few minutes, I encouraged him to consider getting someone to assist him with paperwork and organizing his contract-to-close process. He took me up on my advice and a couple of weeks later had a part-time assistant helping him with listing and contract paperwork. Alex’s stress level was reduced, and he seemed so much happier to turn the paperwork duties over to someone else.

If you are unsure if you need an assistant, begin tracking all of your daily activities for the next month. You may be surprised at the amount of work you are currently doing. From the list you create, you should be able to determine what activities an assistant could oversee. These activities should be incorporated into the assistant’s job description. Another benefit of this exercise is seeing what in your business you might be able to streamline or eliminate.

Preparing to Hire an Assistant

Before hiring an assistant, make sure your real estate business is in order. Review the following to determine if the time is right to bring an assistant on board:

• You must know the financial situation of your business concerning its profit and loss. Can your business plan and budget support another person right now? If it can, you need to establish the salary or hourly rate you will pay the assistant. If you are not sure what the compensation should be, ask other agents in your firm who employ assistants.

• Create a written job description outlining the duties and responsibilities of the assistant. Without a detailed job description, you will not effectively assimilate an assistant into your business and ensure he or she is doing what you need for them to do each day.

• Be willing to delegate some of your daily duties and responsibilities to someone else. This can be difficult for someone who likes to be in control — especially Type-A personalities. If you cannot let go of some of the work you are doing now, it might not be the right time for you to hire someone.

• Set aside time in your schedule each day during the first month or two to train an assistant. You cannot “throw them in the deep end and expect them to swim.” You will need to plan an organized training schedule, so you know what to cover with them each day. A properly trained assistant makes for a happy and long-term employee!

• Your lead generation and customer relationship management systems should be in place, so you can quickly explain how it works and transfer the responsibility over to your assistant.

• You must be proficient in all the forms and documents you use in your business. This includes listing and sales contract paperwork and brokerage forms. You need to be able to explain all the forms you use in your transactions and why they are used.

• Be aware of what an unlicensed assistant can and cannot do. Most state real estate commissions have a specific list of the “dos and don’ts” for an assistant who does not hold a real estate license. I suggest you hire an assistant who is already licensed or someone who will be licensed soon after they begin working for you.

• You must be willing to terminate the assistant if they do not work out. Firing employees has been the hardest thing I’ve done as a manager. Don’t let someone stay on board if they are not doing what you need them to do for you. Send them on their way and find a replacement.

The decision to hire or not hire an assistant is up to you. However, as you work with more prospects and clients and close more transactions, you will discover you cannot get to everything you need to accomplish during the day. An assistant can be the best thing you can do for your business so that you can take it to the next level.

John Giffen is Director of Broker Operations for Benchmark Realty, LLC in Franklin, Tennessee.  He is the author of “Do You Have a Minute? An Award-Winning Real Estate Managing Broker Reveals Keys for Industry Success.” and host of the Broker Insights Podcast available on all major podcast platforms.

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