Tips for Hiring a Real Estate Assistant
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
When you opt for a career in real estate, you're not choosing an easy-go-lucky desk job without much to do. Instead, you're signing up for a lot of hustle and hard work. That's an inescapable part of the experience for new real estate agents. However, as you advance in your career, it may be a good idea to offload some of the burden from your shoulders. This is especially true if you'd like to grow your real estate business and your profits.
There's only so far you can stretch as one person. But if you create a team – you and your assistant – you can use teamwork to conquer a lot more than you would be able to do on your own. From answering calls to processing paperwork to creating presentations, there are so many time-consuming activities that your assistant can handle. If you have the budget, it’s always a good idea to hire help.
Below, we’ll discuss how to find and hire the ideal assistant for your real estate business. Let’s get started.
In the introduction, we briefly touched on why you should consider hiring a real estate assistant, but let's take a closer look at the benefits you'll gain:
Here are the top things to look for when hiring a real estate assistant:
Your assistant will help you find true success as a real estate agent if you know what to look for. First, identify the areas that you need help in, whether that’s answering calls, organizing your schedule, helping with marketing, taking photos of the property, or some other need. If you’re looking for more real estate-specific needs, such as meeting with clients, creating CMAs, or preparing contracts, consider hiring a licensed assistant to help you. We’ll discuss more about what a licensed assistant is next.
When looking for an assistant, you can choose between a licensed and an unlicensed assistant, but what’s the difference?
A licensed real estate assistant is a person who's obtained their real estate license but have decided not to actively practice as a salesperson. Because they have their license, they can still operate in the same capacity as a regular real estate salesperson. For example, they can host open houses, do presentations, and answer real estate-related questions.
Then there are unlicensed real estate assistants. These are people who do not have a license and may have little or no knowledge of the real estate industry. However, they may be excellent administrators and can offer a lot of general value. You can hire an unlicensed real estate assistant, but before you do, it's essential that you play by the rules.
Each state has its own laws around hiring licensed vs unlicensed assistants. Let’s look at the specific rules regarding hiring an unlicensed assistant in Massachusetts.
In the commonwealth of Massachusetts, real estate agents are permitted to hire unlicensed assistants. However, the Massachusetts Division of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation has created guidelines on the use of unlicensed assistants. The list of real estate related activities that unlicensed assistants are prohibited from doing include:
In general, your unlicensed real estate assistant cannot act as a licensed broker or salesperson in any capacity, whether directly or indirectly, temporarily, or as an incident to any other transaction. If they do, the assistant may be subject to fines for each violation. You may also be in hot water, too. You are subject to being fined and to license suspension or revocation if your assistant is found violating state real estate laws.
It's in your best interest to be completely sure that your assistant understands what their tasks are and doesn't overstep those boundaries, even accidentally. Identify the tasks that only you can perform and the ones you can hand over to your assistant. In general, an unlicensed real estate assistant can do the following without worry:
However, your real estate assistant should not engage directly with your clients or provide advice on price, negotiation, marketing strategies, and anything that only you as the agent can offer. To keep it simple, an unlicensed assistant cannot provide any information about a property to a buyer, seller, inspector, appraiser, or any other person.
The above information was specific to Massachusetts. Click here for a full list of the state statutes and regulations for hiring unlicensed real estate assistants.
Also keep in mind that this information is subject to change and should not be used as legal advice. Always check with the Massachusetts government to be certain before hiring an unlicensed real estate assistant.
It's easy to delay this hiring decision until some day in the future when you finally cross the imaginary “made it” milestone, but it's a lot better to hire sooner rather than later. Even if you still identify as a new agent, you stand to gain a lot of benefits from hiring an assistant now. Here’s why you should consider hiring an assistant right away:
Are you the type of person who finds it hard to offload smaller tasks to others? While you don’t necessarily need to do so as a new real estate agent, eventually, you’ll need to make the shift, especially if you plan to grow your business. It’s better to become accustomed to working with a capable assistant sooner rather than later when you’re stuck in your ways and too rigid to work successfully with someone else.
Even though you may be new to real estate, it doesn’t mean that assistant you hire will be. Many real estate assistants have invested years, sometimes decades of their lives learning the rules of real estate. They specialize in real estate because it’s a passion and sincere interest for them. So when you’re a new agent, hire an assistant who brings a wealth of experience so that you can learn from them. This is one of those added perks that few people consider.
Here are a few other telltale signs that it's time to hire an assistant:
If any of the above apply, you should seriously consider hiring a real estate assistant. Even if they only work for less than 10 hours a week, that may be enough to alleviate your stress and enable you to focus on higher level activities to grow your business.
Determine if you want to hire an assistant to work in person with you or if you'd like to hire someone virtually. If you opt for a virtual arrangement, you can cast a wider net. However, it may be more comfortable for you to work with someone face to face. That said, you'll need to secure an office space for you and your assistant or a place to regularly meet.
When it comes to posting your job, you have several options, including:
A growing number of real estate agents rely on the help of a team. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 13% of REALTORS® have assistants. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have an assistant, too. Be sure to follow the above tips when hiring an assistant for your real estate business.