Why Real Estate Agents Need Assistants Before Teams

Hey there, top-producing real estate agent. Yup, we’re talking to you. We see you doing an amazing job! You’re always going to (or coming from) a closing, you have more leads than you can handle, and your name has become synonymous with real estate in your town. Nice job!

You may be thinking that it’s time for you to start a team. You want to make more money and stress less, right? If that sounds like you, you may be ready to grow your business and hire a few employees. An Inman News article once cited that once you hit 40-50 transactions per year, your production will be capped. If you’ve already hit (or are about to hit) this number, you’re at the point where you need some assistance running your business — because you can really only do so much on your own.

You might read this and think that it’s time to hire a full team, and there are plenty of reasons why you should start thinking about this option. But, what’s the first step? Do you first hire a buyer’s agent? Absolutely not. Do you hire your first marketer? Nope. So what is your first hire?

Your first move in building a team must be to hire an assistant.

If this sounds like starting off small, trust us, it’s not. There aren’t enough hours in the day, and you’re going to need help. That is if you aren’t already crying out for assistance. Before you can start drumming up additional business — or follow through on those outstanding leads — you need help staying organized. In fact, it’s pretty commonplace. Thirteen percent of REALTORS® have at least one personal assistant. These realtors tend to be top performers — they’re able to excel because they have the support. Definitely some food for thought.

So, before you run to your brokerage and look for the perfect teammate in another agent, take this quiz from REALTORS® Magazine to find out if you’re ready for an assistant.

With that said, what exactly will an assistant bring to the table? Here are just a few ways they can alleviate your stress and help you up your real estate game!

You love real estate but hate the paperwork

Imagine how many additional deals you could close if the paperwork part was eliminated. If you could focus only on your clients, their needs, and generating referrals, you could get so much more done in a single day. You could easily double — or even triple — your production.

Here’s exactly what an assistant would help with:

  • Creating and/or managing your budget

  • Managing incoming calls and leads and scheduling appointments

  • Implementing and monitoring marketing programs (writing ads, checking ROI on Facebook campaigns, etc.)

  • Preparing legal documents such as sales contracts or listing contracts. But, of course, always make sure your broker reviews these.

  • Emailing and coordinating your schedule

  • Setting up open houses

  • Creating warm call lists

  • And much more – the sky’s the limit!

Your assistant can set you up with the tools and systems you need

If you don’t have a CRM, you’re not ready to start a team. If you don’t have a transaction management system, you’re not ready to start a team. If you’re not generating leads for yourself, how can you possibly generate leads for your team? Before you hire additional agents, you need to hire an assistant to set you up with these tools and get you moving in the right direction.

To help you get started, here are the tools you’ll need to start building a team, and a few of our favs as recommendations:

1. Team website

2. CRM

3. Transaction management solution

4. Virtual tours and photography setup

5. Lead generation

6. Listing syndication tools

7. e-Form and e-Signature tools

8. Email marketing

9. Market data tools

And much more!

Another agent could bring bedlam

If your work style is all over the place and your desk looks like a bomb was dropped on it, you’re not ready to start a team. Imagine a second agent working in that environment or bringing their own mess to the table. You’re going to double the chaos. It’s not a good way to kick off a team.

By nature of bringing on a second agent, there’s going to be a steep learning curve for the two of you working together. But, with an assistant, this person will adapt to your way of doing things. You may need to micromanage a bit at first, or at the very least onboard them with detailed instructions, but you won’t have to argue about how things should be done.

With an agent as a partner, you may double the business, but you’re also doubling the chaos. Additionally, you don’t want to be in a position where you split money 50/50. You always need one party that has a larger stake and, ultimately, the final word. It’s just better business.

Though the addition of an agent might bring in more business, with all of the craziness, you won’t be positioned to scale. First, hire an assistant to make sure that he/she gets you on track, then build your team with the systems and processes you’ve put in place. The work you put in upfront will futureproof your business from chaos later on and set you up for success in the future.

Are you sold? Great! Now, let’s recruit your first hire!

First things first, always keep in mind that your new assistant is one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Though it’s obviously an expense, it’s also an investment in yourself, your clients, and your business.

Here’s how to find someone:

1. Ask around. The best source of referrals (as we’re sure you know) comes from people within your social or professional circles.

2. Write a job description. Here are a few job description templates:

3. Post the job description:

4. Interview

5. Hire

6. Onboard and set your assistant up for success

Now, build a business!

Now that you have your assistant in place, it’s time to start building your business — not just doing what you’ve been doing, but actually preparing to have a team. Make sure you have a plan laid out – how many transactions you do now, how many you’ll be able to do with the help of your assistant, and then how many you envision yourself closing with another agent (or a whole team) in place.

Stick to your plan and have faith in your new team of two. Following through with your plan will be essential. You now not only have someone you’re looking out for, but you also need to lead the way with certainty.

Get in the habit of planning your day and guiding your assistant with theirs. Make sure you both know what needs to be accomplished, today, tomorrow, and for the rest of the week. By knowing that your assistant is set up for success every day, this will reduce the level of micromanaging you need to do and increase your confidence in your working relationship.

Create accountability. Better yet, create a culture around accountability. We’ve seen many presentations and heard many real estate coaches speak about accountability, but now you actually have someone that not only has your back but can also hold you accountable.

If you don’t see this as a huge opportunity, you should! Write down your goals and track/measure them together. Brian Buffini, one of the most popular real estate coaches out there, suggests having an accountability partner. Here at Updater, we call it an accountability-buddy (try saying that three times fast)! Whatever you call it, listen to Buffini:

Although you’re the one who’s responsible for your business, having an impartial party provides you with advice, accountability, and motivation when you need it most. And, it will help you stay true to what you want to achieve.

Inspiring, no?

Now go on, crush those goals. And, of course, don’t forget to celebrate your new rock star teammate on National Assistant Day!

We’d love to hear how you’re doing with your new assistant – say hello in the comments section below.