Hiring a virtual assistant can help free up your time as a real estate wholesaler, so that you can focus on what you do best: closing deals.
Not only does this give you a leg up on your competition, but by being laser-focused on only revenue-generating tasks, you maximize your profit with every close.
In this article, I’ll walk you through:
- -What a virtual assistant is
- -What tasks they can perform for your business
- -Tips on what to look out for when hiring one
- -Criteria to consider during the hiring process
- -Important questions to ask them
- -Where to find a virtual assistant
- -How much you should pay them
Let’s get started.
If you’ve been in the real estate wholesaling business for any length of time, you’ll know a few things:
- It’s complex.
- There’s a lot of cool, fun stuff but there is also a lot of boring administrative stuff.
- You have to stay on top of this stuff all the time.
Not all of the tasks that you have to stay on top of will make you money.
Negotiating and making offers to sellers, signing contracts, and striking deals with cash buyers or other investors, are tasks that will directly make you money.
Other tasks, while necessary for running a successful wholesaling business, are indirect tasks that can suck a lot of time from your day.
So, if you’re a stressed-out, ambitious wholesaler, what are you supposed to do?
Obviously, there isn’t a way to add another 10 hours to your day so that you get more done, and stop feeling like your work is controlling you instead of you controlling your work.
There’s also no way to clone yourself…
Or is there?
Virtual Assistants (VA’s) as a Solution
A virtual assistant is that extra pair of hands that can take some of those indirect tasks of wholesaling off of yours.
Any task that is routine and reoccurring can be handed over to a virtual assistant. It should be possible to complete those tasks with a laptop and an internet connection, and this is what makes a virtual assistant “virtual.”
The beauty of the gig economy is that there are people out there who have the necessary skills and abilities to get things done for you.
You might pay them per hour or per task, but over time they can become a valuable member of your team.
A virtual assistant can be like operating software that runs in the background keeping your wholesaling business functioning and profitable.
What Real Estate Tasks Can Your Virtual Assistant Do?
There is really no limit to the kinds of tasks that you can delegate to a virtual assistant.
Start with the tasks that you find annoying or boring, tasks that you find repetitive and a time-suck, or tasks that you aren’t particularly good at. Not all of us are administrative or organizational wizards.
Here is a list of tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant:
Core Real Estate Related Tasks
- Identifying potential properties and motivated sellers
- Running analysis and comps on properties
- Building and maintaining lists of cash buyers
- Building and maintaining lists of private lenders
- Fielding incoming emails and phone calls
- Setting appointments and managing your calendar
- Cold calling and pre-qualifying leads
- Property marketing, posting listings to Craigslist, Facebook, and other networks
- Social media management
- Doing updates on your business website e.g., adding and updating properties, posting new blog articles
- Preparing newsletters, blog articles, email blasts, etc.
- Sending text campaigns to blast out properties under contract
- Tracking marketing campaigns
- Preparing routine paperwork from offer to contract to closing
- Tasks related to bookkeeping, invoices, and payables
- Anything else you can think of
Before You Hire a Virtual Assistant
There are three tasks that I suggest you do, to be sure you find the right person, someone who can make a critical difference to your wholesaling business. You must give some initial thought to what you want to be done, and how you want it done.
#1 Decide what you need to be done.
In the previous paragraph, I gave you some ideas of the kinds of tasks that you can delegate.
Go through this list, and also reflect on other tasks that keep you busy, to pinpoint the tasks that you want to hand off to a virtual assistant.
Also consider if the tasks that you want done are long-term or short-term tasks, and approximately how long each task would take.
#2 Decide what tasks can be done virtually.
You always have the option to hire someone who works with you in an office and this might eventually become necessary as your business expands.
You may eventually need someone to take on in-person meetings or collect and drop off papers and documents at lawyers, buyers, sellers, and other contacts around town.
For a virtual assistant, however, you need to identify the tasks that are location-independent.
#3 Make detailed instructions for each task.
A virtual assistant may not be from your area or even from the United States. In the beginning, they will not know your business or how you operate. You will need to give clear instructions.
Before you’ve even started the process of hiring a virtual assistant, take the time to document the tasks that you plan to delegate.
As you go about your day, write down step-by-step instructions for doing those tasks.
For example, if you plan to ask a virtual assistant to prepare and send email responses, perhaps go through your email history and compile a selection of response templates.
Think about typical phone calls that you want your virtual assistant to manage, such as when calling a prospective lead to set up an appointment.
Creating a checklist of the information you need your virtual assistant to obtain will require a lot of effort on your part but ultimately save you a lot of time.
Documenting systems and processes for your business will enable you to train your virtual assistant (and any future virtual assistants) quickly and easily, and get the results you need.
Even better, create a video outlining the process from beginning to end. A software that records your screen is perfect for training purposes.
There are many available. Two I use are Storyxpress and Berrycast.
Where to Find a Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Now that you’ve done all the preparation to hire a virtual assistant, it’s time to do just that.
The first question you might have is, where can you find a virtual assistant for a real estate wholesaling business?
And are there people out there who want to take on your boring “busywork”?
To answer the first, your new virtual assistant could be living next door, or they could be living halfway around the world.
To answer your second question, most definitely yes.
Real estate is a popular and attractive field and is a growing niche in the gig economy. Chances are, you’ll even find someone who already has knowledge and experience of the tasks you want to outsource to them.
Here are ideas of places where you can find a virtual assistant:
Word-of-mouth and referrals
Don’t underestimate the old-fashioned way of finding a virtual assistant. If you belong to a network of real estate investors and real estate professionals, they might have leads for you.
Craigslist, Facebook, and other gig-economy sites
Since Craigslist first became a part of our lives, there are now many more websites where people can look for gigs, and find people looking for gigs. Use sites like these to connect with potential virtual assistants anywhere in the world.
One level of sophistication above the generally free gig-economy websites are freelancing websites. Three common freelancing websites are Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork.
A potential downside of these types of services is that they will charge something, usually taking a percentage of the money you pay your virtual assistant and also charging you a fee for using the service.
The big advantage of these websites is that you can connect with 1000s of willing, experienced, and knowledgeable freelancers all over the world who want your business.
Also, you can see reviews from their other clients to get an idea of the quality of their work.
Virtual Assistant Brokers
Finally, there are niche websites that pre-screen and sometimes even do basic training of virtual assistants.
The broker functions as an intermediary, handling various aspects of the employment relationship.
Some charge you a base rate for a certain number of hours per month and then charge according to the additional hours you use. Others just do the initial introduction, and you handle everything from there.
REI/kit has partnered with Property MOB Virtual Assistant services to train and certify their VAs on the REI/kit CRM platform.
How Do You Choose the Right Virtual Assistant for Your Business?
By now, you’ve started looking for a virtual assistant and you’ll need to go through some sort of selection process to find the right real estate virtual assistant for you and your business.
Even though you might never meet your virtual assistant in person, it’s important to mention that (a) you are hiring a person and (b) that person will be a part of the success of your real estate wholesaling business.
When hiring a virtual assistant expert on a freelance website, all you need to do is to create a free account on the website and draft a detailed job description.
The job description should clearly outline the type of expertise needed, the project timeline, and the available budget. This is where your list of detailed projects and tasks will come in handy.
Once you upload the job description, you will receive numerous responses from virtual assistants.
You will then interview the candidates you have qualified, who have expressed interest in the job offer.
What to look for in a virtual assistant
In your selection process, you can consider evaluating the following aspects:
Your virtual assistant will need to communicate with you on a regular basis and potentially with your clients and business leads during their work.
Take the time to test applicants in different ways to gauge how they communicate.
For example, ask them some questions by email to see if they can write clear responses.
Speak to them on the phone to understand their grasp of your language and if they can reasonably answer questions.
Ability to follow instructions
Since you’ve already mapped out some tasks, you might want to give applicants a defined task and a deadline to complete it to see how they do.
You can learn a lot by observing how someone approaches a task, how they request clarifications if they don’t understand something, and whether they’re able to find appropriate solutions to a challenge.
If you are looking for a virtual assistant that can take on more sophisticated tasks, such as scouting for properties, cold calling potential sellers and buyers, or preparing more complex documents, you may need your virtual assistant to have some pre-existing knowledge of real estate investing and wholesaling.
It might also be helpful if they understand the software that you typically use in your business.
In line with communication skills above, you may want to test the virtual assistant by sharing your cold call script, and mimic being a seller on the line, if that is an activity that you would now or in the future want them to perform.
For each aspect of your evaluation, consider asking your interviewee to rate their skill level from 1-5, with 1 meaning having little experience, and 5 meaning being very experienced.
Questions to ask a potential virtual assistant during the hiring process
Do you work hourly or on a per-project basis?
If hourly, make sure that you know the approximate number of hours that it would take you to perform a task, so that you can benchmark the assistant’s performance.
Do you have other clients that you work with on a regular basis?
It’s important to keep in mind that in the gig economy, workers can have many different clients and may not be available exclusively to you.
Are you available for long-term projects?
Along the same lines as above, if the virtual assistant is available on a regular basis, can they commit to a long-term project.
Do you have sample work for me to review?
If they will be doing marketing or any other type of work requiring creatives or writing, make sure to ask them for examples.
Are you available during my normal business hours?
Make sure that your virtual assistant will be awake and ready to work during the hours that you need them.
Are you already trained on xyz software?
If you use software like DropBox, DocuSign, and so on, ensure that the virtual assistant understands how to use them.
How stable is your internet connection and access to the internet?
Internet stability, speed, and availability for Zoom calls and other work channels should be discussed, especially if a VA in another country.
Additional items to check:
Observe any reviews given to the freelancer on the freelancing website where you found them.
A Note on Off-Shoring
A topic that will often come up when you use freelancing websites is not just outsourcing, but also off-shoring. In other words, hiring a virtual assistant from outside the United States.
There are several reasons why you might consider finding a virtual assistant from another country, but the main one is lower cost.
Living costs vary from country to country and what can be considered poor payment in one country, might be considered a very good salary in another.
Since most of us would not want to exploit anyone, I would recommend you do some research to ensure that what you are paying is fair and reasonable.
There are many countries where English is spoken, and where people are well-educated and capable of the work that you need done.
How Much Should You Pay A Virtual Assistant?
A different way of asking this question is, what you are willing to pay for a high-quality assistant that will help you grow your business?
I’m not asking this question to guilt you into paying more than you need to, but consider that payment is an important incentive for why people work.
Hiring a virtual assistant can be purely transactional. If you are choosing to delegate tasks that have no client contact and which require little decision-making, then yes, you can hire someone who is a machine that you give instruction to and get a defined product in return.
This option is likely cheaper and more arms-length, but you can get more than this.
You can instead view hiring a virtual assistant as an investment in your business. A person with whom you can build a working relationship. Someone who will grow with your business and who can take on more complex tasks over time as trust grows.
This might cost a bit more initially, but might generate a value-add for your business now and into the future.
It’s important to be realistic about rates for virtual assistants.
Those in the United States more often than not will have higher rates than those outside of the United States.
In addition, VA’s with technical knowledge will charge more than those who do routine or repetitive tasks, regardless of where they are located.
Of course, the more you are willing to pay, the higher your expectations should be, but they should also be commensurate with going rates in that particular country or with that particular task.
Pricing for Virtual Assistants
The old adage that “you get what you pay for” does apply to virtual assistants, but the international aspect makes it a bit more tricky to gauge what you’re getting for your money.
In general, you can expect to start finding capable VA’s at $5.00 per hour for a virtual assistant located internationally, such as in the Philippines.
This is about the sweet spot among many countries, and going below this you’ll often find issues with communication barriers, not being skilled enough, or they simply will not be committed to the project because the pay is low enough to lose.
Above $5.00 per hour you will find considerably more talented virtual assistants.
Particularly between $10.00 and $50.00 per hour you should be able to find a person who fits your detailed niche and job specifications well.
Trust the Process
The process of finding a virtual assistant is not a one-and-done. You’ll likely need to interview quite a few before finding one that you would like to hire. Your hiring guidelines will also tighten up with each new person that you interview, and you’ll be able to pinpoint any potential issues with new candidates much faster.
In this article, you learned how you can spend less time on non income-producing tasks as a real estate wholesaler, by hiring a virtual assistant. You also read tips and helpful strategies that will aid you in finding and hiring a virtual assistant for your wholesaling business, from identifying tasks that you can delegate, to questions you must ask before you choose.
Adding your Virtual Assistants as team members is easy in REI/kit, whether you have a person adding blog posts to your REI/kit website for motivated sellers, or working your leads in our powerful CRM.
Click here to find out more: REIkit Real Estate Wholesaling Software