Are you considering hiring a real estate assistant? Unsure whether you even need one? In this article, we’ll cover some real estate assistant responsibilities, talk about the training they have, and what they have in common with transaction coordinators. We’ll touch on how to hire an assistant or transaction coordinator (TC) and discuss what to look for when selecting a TC service.
To close out this article, we’ll make our case for why Close Concierge is the best transaction coordinator service. Keep reading to find out more!
Do I Need An Assistant?
Being a real estate agent is extremely rewarding, but it’s also exhausting and time-consuming. You want help with your business, but how will you know when it’s time to hire someone? You don’t want to pay someone to assist you if there aren’t enough tasks for them to complete!
Top-performing agents can use the extra time boost that assistants can provide. At the very least, you should close 20-25 transactions a year to warrant hiring an assistant. That’s abou 2 transactions a month – so if you’re closing deals more often than that, you could benefit from adding one to your team. You’d be better equipped to pay for a TC too if you close that many transactions a year.
Not sure if you need an assistant? You can give yourself a month or so to mull it over and consider what tasks you could outsource to an assistant. Write down all the things an assistant could feasibly help with, and then track your time spent on each task. At the end of the month, tally it up and see how much time you spend on tasks you could get an assistant to do. (Not sure what they do, exactly? That’s what the next section is for!)
What Does a Real Estate Assistant Do?
A real estate assistant gives you a break from performing the more tedious duties you need to do as an agent. Instead of being bogged down by answering emails, printing flyers, etc., you can hone in on what you do best: spending face time with customers!
Here are some of the tasks an assistant can help you perform:
- Responding to emails
- Scheduling appointments
- Arranging closing gifts
- Delivering documents to clients
- Putting out signs
- Placing lockboxes
- Creating brochures
- Taking and editing pictures
- Managing the MLS and other real estate software
- Checking signatures and organizing documents
Nearly anything you can imagine beyond contract-related tasks*, an assistant can do. That said, virtual assistants are a bit more limited because they work miles away from the agents they’re assisting. They’re unable to do many of the items on the above list: they can’t put out signs, place lockboxes, edit photos, etc as virtual real estate assistants.
*For the purpose of this article, we are mainly focusing on unlicensed assistants. A licensed assistant could do virtually anything you’d do.
Qualities to Look for in an Assistant
A TC or an assistant has to have many of the same characteristics that you do as a real estate agent. These include the following traits:
- A detail-oriented personality. The world of real estate has many moving parts, and it’s easy to get lost in them. To be a successful agent, TC, or assistant, you need to pay attention to small details most would overlook.
- Stellar customer service. As a real estate professional, it’s crucial to make a good impression. Great assistants/TCs have a magnetic personality and dealing with people (even at a stressful time like during the home-buying process) comes easily to them.
- Professional communication skills. An assistant or TC needs to be a good verbal communicator, but they should also be a proficient written communicator. Paying attention to tone and delivery is important. Note: they should check talk-to-text messages before sending them to ensure they’re clear and accurate.
- Great at multitasking and staying organized. At a given moment, you could be working on several deals at once. Your assistant should be able to keep important information at the ready and filed where it’s needed.
- An ability to see the big picture. Details are great, but if a transaction coordinator or assistant gets so caught up in the details that they don’t see the looming deadline coming up, they’re not doing their job properly.
- Superb time management skills. Deadlines can be stressful, so you’ll need to find a person who can get the job done within a specific time frame. Otherwise, your clients could miss out on their dream home – and you could lose valuable customers and jeopardize your real estate license.
What Training Does an Assistant Have?
In another article, we covered what real estate assistant training usually looks like, but in this section, we’ll summarize a couple of the training programs an agent’s assistant might go through.
Icenhower Coaching and Consulting
Icenhower training features in-depth videos, written modules, an audiobook/ebook, and the option to earn a Certified Administrative Manager certification. There are nine modules total, dealing with the following topics:
- Course Intro
- Understanding Job Roles
- Administrative Manager Course
- Listing Manager Course
- Transaction Coordinator Course
- Marketing Director Course
- Sphere of Influence
- Creating a User Experience
- Course Conclusion/Summary
REA University training involves 10 modules, and you can receive a Professional Real Estate Assistant Certification. The online university was founded by Pam Ivey, an experienced real estate assistant. Here are the courses they cover:
- Introduction to Real Estate Assistance
- Risk Management in Real Estate
- Real Estate Technology
- Real Estate Direct Marketing, etc.
- Social Media for Real Estate
- Lead Generation and Management
- Listing Coordination
- Transaction Coordination and Management
- Email Marketing for Real Estate
How Are They Like Transaction Coordinators?
There’s a lot of overlap between a real estate transaction coordinator and an assistant.
They’re both real estate professionals who help the agent they’re working with. Having local real estate knowledge is important for each job and the two use technology to perform their transaction coordination and management duties. Both can be in-person or virtual, licensed or unlicensed, and there are online services you can go through to find a TC or assistant.
However, real estate assistants do some things beyond what a transaction coordinator does.
Here are some of the tasks real estate assistants perform that a transaction coordinator wouldn’t do:
- Preparing marketing materials. A real estate assistant can take photos of a home, use software to format and print out flyers and create brochures for prospective buyers.
- Social media outreach. An assistant can prepare social media updates, interact with prospects (as long as it’s within their purview), and prepare images for updates.
- Handling listings. Real estate assistants help with adding listings into the MLS, updating posts with photos of the property, etc.
Beyond that, there’s not much difference between what a real estate transaction coordinator and an assistant do. The real difference is where their focus is.
Transaction Coordinators Are Experts at Transactions
Transaction coordinators focus only on the transaction process. This may seem like a drawback at first, but it’s actually a benefit. A real estate assistant’s focus is split among several different duties, but a TC’s only job is to make sure the transaction process goes off without a hitch.
Most real estate agents enjoy client-facing work and performing the various tasks involved in the job. Taking photos of listings or creating marketing materials isn’t a big deal to them – in fact, many agents enjoy that part of the job. The real drudgery for agents is working to ensure that deadlines are met, maintaining compliance with local, state, and national real estate laws, and handling general paperwork.
Lucky for you, all these duties are things that transaction coordinators can do! And since they’re all part of the job, you’re more likely to find someone who is diligent about ensuring the transaction goes smoothly for you and your customers.
Why is this important? Imagine you’ve got an assistant who’s passionate about marketing. They’d likely create fantastic flyers for you, but since transaction coordination isn’t something that they’re excited about, your transactions will be so-so. They may even suffer if your assistant is spending so much time on marketing that they’re not staying on top of deadlines and looking ahead to ensure potential roadblocks are handled.
For real estate agents who want help with their transaction coordination process more than anything, the best choice is always going to be a transaction coordinator. Plus, they’re generally less expensive than an assistant, so that means more cash in your pocket!
How to Hire an Assistant or TC
We’ve created an article especially for hiring a transaction coordinator that contains many of the tips you’ll see here in greater detail. That said, there are a few extra things we’d advise you to think about before you hire an assistant.
Here are some things to think about when hiring an assistant or TC:
- What are your needs? Are you looking for someone to help virtually or in person? Licensed or unlicensed? (Most tasks can be performed by an unlicensed assistant/TC.) Do you need marketing help or would you prefer a transaction expert? Consider this before you hire someone.
- How will you find them? If you plan to choose the virtual route (which is ideal due to the larger pool of applicants), you can go through a freelancer or an online service.
- If you go through a freelancer, how will you select one? Unfortunately, freelancers sometimes lie about their experience in an attempt to make a quick buck. So how will you vet them? What will the interviewing process look like, and what job sites will you post the opening on? (For help with writing listings, check out our other article.)
- What qualities/qualifications are you looking for? Think about personality traits, experience (in the job and with the software you’ll use).
- How much will you pay them? In-person employees are substantially more expensive than virtual ones. Most freelancers or TC services charge $400 per transaction, but when it comes to virtual assistants, they may be paid hourly, weekly, monthly, or per project. General virtual assistants with an hourly rate of $8-$12 make an annual salary of $18,720 on average. That comes out to about $1,560 a month.
Which TC Service is the Best?
If you need more help with transactions but don’t want to pay the added cost of having a real estate assistant, you may find a TC service more to your liking. Although you won’t have to interview anyone, you will need to think about which TC service to go through.
Most transaction coordinator services charge per project, and the average cost is $400. The low cost is great for anyone who closes one deal a month, as long as none of their deals fall through and are not dual-agency transactions. But if you’re still reading, chances are that you have 20-25 transactions a month: more than the average agent.
Unfortunately, top-performing agents who go through a TC service find that their needs aren’t being met. Here are the primary complaints high-functioning agents have against TC services:
- It’s too easy to rack up fees. If a deal falls through or the agent is acting on behalf of both the buyer and the seller, most TC services charge fees. For agents that close two or more deals a month, these fees can become a thorn in the side.
- They never know how much to pay. With most TC services, there is no guarantee of what the agent will owe. Since they’re paid per project and fees go up based on a number of factors, the amount owed can vary from month to month.
- Poor service. Here are some online complaints we found: “My files were abandoned… there is no dedication from the TC’s,” “Service level has decreased substantially… I will not use (it) again. (The TC) stopped giving me excellent service and fast responses.”
We’ve got a solution to these problems.
Close Concierge: Flat Fees and Motivated TCs!
With Close Concierge, you won’t rack up fees because we charge a flat fee of $1,000 a month for our service. No guessing what your charge will be like each month, hoping you’ve calculated it correctly. No double-checking bills to make sure they’re not overcharging you. Just one fee that won’t go up. You’ll know what to expect, so you can focus on what you should be doing: finding more customers and lining up contracts!
When it comes to service, Close Concierge is the cream of the crop. We carefully select our employees, making sure that they have the industry knowledge required for the job. Most TC services hire their TCs as 1099 “employees,” without the benefits and security a full-time job would provide. We do it differently.
We treat our employees with the utmost respect so you can enjoy the perks of having a TC who’s personally invested in making your real estate business run smoothly. Our employees get excellent pay (more than double the market salary), profit-sharing, fantastic benefits, paid leave, and a vote on all hiring decisions. We do this to make sure you get the quality service you deserve – and it works!
Want to learn more about how a Close Concierge TC can help your real estate business thrive? Schedule a demo with our team!