Real, flesh-and-blood full- or part-time assistants can be invaluable in any real estate office. However, before you post that ad on Craigslist and start weeding through the hundreds of inappropriate responses by obviously unqualified people to find someone actually capable of performing the tasks you would assign, consider a “virtual assistant.”
A “virtual assistant” is not a digitized cyber-helper that pops up on your computer screen. Rather, it is a team of human assistants that lends a hand as needed via an Internet connection. Dan Ramsey of MyOutDesk, a virtual assistant provider, explains that if you, the realtor, are doing your own paperwork, “you’re an assistant. … What you’re saying is, ‘I’m worth ten bucks an hour.’”
There are a number of firms, such as MyOutDesk and Real Assistant, that contract with realtors to provide virtual assistants on a contractual basis.
A virtual assistant can, among other things:
- enter information into your MLS
- handle contract paperwork
- handle closing transaction tasks
- do some of the logistical work for your marketing efforts, especially with social media and advertising
- handle personal administrative tasks, from buying your wife flowers for her birthday to making sure your car is scheduled for inspection
You might be interested in a virtual assistant with specific skills, such as Web design and development, brochure layout, graphics design, document management, or handling intranet logistics.
The upshot is that a virtual assistant can do many of the tasks that a human employee can, and in some instances perform more tasks than any one employee. The cost can also be significantly lower than what is required to pay a human assistant. Like anything else, a VA’s time and cost would be made more effective with an organized approach to keep the VA busy doing useful services during their time working on your behalf.
Ultimately, you have to decide if your time is better spent doing the tasks you could pay a real or a virtual assistant to do, and whether the hiring of either one is more cost-effective. Only you can make that decision. But now you have something new to consider!