Administrative assistants are the unsung heroes of the real estate industry. Of every industry, really.
Without assistants, there would be too many missed appointments, too much misplaced paperwork, and absolutely zero order to the day. Every business would be forever stunted, unable to grow without the organizational savvy and unfaltering proficiency of these individuals.
They run the world from the behind the scenes.
And they are essential to scaling your real estate business.
In the Realvolve webinar Growing Pains: How To Grow & Scale Your Real Estate Business, three real estate hiring experts weighed in on best practices for hiring an administrative assistant.
Keith Roy, a team leader with RE/MAX Select Realty, hired his first assistant 12 years ago. Based in Vancouver, he spends the winter months in Hawaii while his administrative assistant takes care of the business back in British Columbia.
He kicked things off by sharing some of the signs that indicate an agent is ready to hire an assistant.
You're ready to hire a real estate assistant if...
- You have multiple To Do lists because you keep moving tasks from one list to another.
- Your business is going through peaks and valleys of busyness—for example, you might have 6 closings in May, but 0 in June, then 5 closings in July, but only 1 in August, and so on. (This happens when you get so busy handling numerous transactions that you don't have time to fill your pipeline with new prospects.)
- You get too many phone calls from your managing broker saying you missed paperwork or didn't file something properly.
- You're consistently closing 25-30 deals on your own, and you want to get to 50-75.
- You're so busy that you don't have time for dollar-productive tasks anymore (things like prospecting, asking for referrals, and getting face-time with your clients).
8 Tips For Hiring A Real Estate Assistant
1) Start the hiring process during a slow month.
"Don't hire under duress," says Keith. Take a look at a typical year in your business. For most agents, spring is the busiest time of year, and the slow season begins somewhere around the winter holidays. Figure out when you'll have a solid 90-day stretch of slow days, and dedicate that time to hiring and training an assistant. By the time busy season rolls around, your assistant will be ready to rock.
2) Write the job description with a highlighter.
Start by using Keith's "and then what?" method to write out all of your processes.
You have a system for the way you do things, right? You get a listing appointment—"and then what?"—you send over the pre-listing package—"and then what?"—you create the CMA—"and then what?"—
You get the idea.
Once everything you do in your business has been written down, grab a highlighter and highlight everything that someone else could do. That's your job description for your administrative assistant.
3) Delve into the underground network of assistants.
"Assistants tend to know other assistants," says Keith. So reach out to every assistant you can find—not just your colleagues' real estate assistants, but also your accountant's assistant, your lawyer's assistant, your dentist's assistant.
Keep in mind that you're not looking for someone with a real estate license. As Keith reminds us, "The assistant job is not a real estate job. It's an assistant job."
4) Hire from a large talent pool.
"The quality is in the quantity," says Kelly White, executive VP of T3 Talent.
Kelly likes to round up as many potential hires as possible, so she uses LinkedIn and Facebook to contact 25 to 50 people she knows. She asks the same question every time: "Who do you know who might be a good fit for this role?"
When she gets a name, she immediately reaches out to the candidate to set up an interview.
5) Use your prospecting skills.
You're a real estate agent, which means you're a pro at calling a long list of people. And as Kelly points out, calling people and asking them if they know anyone who might be interested in an admin job is A LOT easier than cold-calling for clients.
Keith suggests creating a BombBomb video that you can send via email to your clients, vendors, and other contacts. In the video, talk about what a great year you've had, how your business is growing, and the big news that you're hiring an assistant. Not only will you get some candidates for the talent pool, but this is also a great opportunity to nudge your past clients and let them know how well you're doing.
6) Determine a fair salary based on your GCI.
Keith determines salary based on several factors, one of which is his annual gross commission income (GCI). He allocates 10% of GCI for administration costs (running the lead generation system, sending out mailers, calling the tech company for support, etc.) and 10% of GCI for servicing deals (dropping off signs, meeting the photographer to unlock the door, coordinating home staging, etc.).
So, depending on the duties of the assistant, if you bring in $200K GCI each year, you'll be paying an assistant somewhere between $20-$40K.
Other factors to consider when determining an assistant's salary include:
- Local benchmarks - Ask around to learn what other assistants are being paid, or check out Glassdoor.
- Cost of living in your city
- Employee's experience level
7) Invest in training (and plan on it taking 90 days)
If you've already have a lot of your processes in writing, you're in luck. That will make it all the easier to train your new admin.
A little behind in documenting your systems? Create a screen recording every time you show your admin something new. They'll have videos to go back to for reference, and you'll build up a training video library that will be beneficial for all future assistants you might hire.
Kelly advises that you create a loose 90-day plan to get them trained, and that you schedule a 30-minute session each day to meet with them for one-on-one training.
8) Hire someone you can trust.
Because, as award-winning real estate speaker and consultant Valerie Garcia points out, "If you have to micromanage, you're essentially doubling your work. You haven't lessened your load."
How Realvolve makes it easier to hire & train an assistant
The right technology makes a huge difference in how efficiently you can onboard your new assistant.
If you're a Realvolve user, you know how amazing it is to have your entire process documented and automated in workflows. Assign your New Listing Workflow to your assistant, and bam—they get a daily To Do list of everything that needs to be accomplished for all of your open listings. Each task has a description of what needs to be done, and as your assistant goes down the list and completes tasks, the next step in the workflow is activated.
Workflows allow you to quickly train your new employee and almost immediately delegate tasks to them. And as they become more and more proficient at Realvolve, they'll find even more ways to use the platform to help grow your business.
And even if they suddenly put in their two weeks notice, you won't need to panic. Everything will be in place for the next assistant to come on board and get to work.
Learn more about Realvolve and discover how you can use workflows to automate your business, delegate tasks to your assistant, and build the real estate business of your dreams.