Maybe your real estate business is at a point where you think of delegating some major tasks to someone in-house but you may not know where to begin quite yet.
One option for real estate professionals to get many tasks off their plate is to hire a licensed real estate assistant at the right moment.
But what does a licensed real estate assistant actually do?
If the real estate assistant is licensed, she or he can take on all kinds of different tasks of a real estate office including the ones that require more responsibility and where they can even represent the respective realtor or broker.
The emphasis above is on hiring one at the right moment.
Therefore, this article is not only comparing what licensed and unlicensed real estate assistants can do, but also covering how to become one, the typical annual costs, what you need to have in place before you start hiring, and how to know when to hire one.
What Is a Licensed Real Estate Assistant and What Are Their Typical Tasks?
As the name already implies, licensed real estate assistants assist other real estate professionals in their daily tasks, such as administrative ones.
In contrast to unlicensed real estate assistants, a licensed one has more responsibilities. For example, they can assist in closings unsupervised and also in open houses.
A Comparison of 14 Tasks a Licensed Real Estate Assistant is Allowed to Do vs. An Unlicensed One
To make the point clearer between the tasks allowed for a licensed real estate assistant and an unlicensed one, you will find a table below in which I compare both.
Before that, I would like to make sure that this is not legal advice. The aim is to give you general information that can’t be considered and relied upon as legal guidance.
You may want to consult the respective laws of your state before making any decisions.
|Allowed Tasks of a Licensed Real Estate Assistant||Allowed Tasks of an Unlicensed Real Estate Assistant|
|Preparing legal documents (e.g. sales and listing contracts)||Not allowed to do, since real estate specific knowledge is necessary|
|Answering customer questions||Not allowed due to additional liability|
|Offering opinions or advice||Not allowed|
|Interpreting documents in the case of a client having questions||Not allowed|
|Distribution of information without the supervision of a broker or agent (e.g. updating an MLS listing).||Only allowed if well-enough supervised, and if the information itself was prepared by a licensed person.|
|Obtaining personal or property information from a client.||Obtaining documents, data and details for a new listing, without talking to the client about it.|
|Delivering financial and title documents (e.g. contracts, etc.).||Can only deliver financial and title documents if the documents are already signed, or approved. Can’t answer any questions about them.|
|Attending a closing unsupervised.||Only possible to attend a closing if the responsible person is present.|
|Is allowed to sound and act like a licensed agent.||Is not allowed to sound or act like a licensed agent.|
|Prospecting over the phone||In a limited manner|
|Represent the real estate agent/broker in open houses and discussing or negotiating offers.||Can only assist the open house if the responsible agent is present. Can only provide prepared printed material.|
|Writing ads for different marketing channels without the approval or supervision of the responsible agent or broker.||Can only write ads for different marketing channels if supervised and approved by the responsible agent or broker.|
|Placing and removing real estate signs.||Placing and removing real estate signs.|
|Ordering services or repairs for a property.||Ordering services or repairs for a property, only under the supervision of the responsible broker or agent.|
As you can see from the table above, basically everything an unlicensed real estate assistant can do, can be done by a licensed one, but not vice versa.
There are a lot fewer tasks an unlicensed real estate assistant is allowed to do compared to a licensed one.
What a licensed or unlicensed real estate assistant can and cannot do depends on the state you are operating in.
Here you can find the State Statues of the National Association of Realtors, where you can find out what is possible in your individual state.
As a rule of thumb, if the task of the respective real estate assistant can in some shape or form incriminate you with clients, partners, and deals and represents a higher responsibility and risk, it’s usually a task an unlicensed real estate assistant can’t and shouldn’t do.
Below, you will find some interesting opinions from real estate pros about unlicensed real estate assistants (source):
“I wouldn’t bother with it. In Texas, the unlicensed assistant is basically relegated to being a paper pusher in the office.
We received an update from TAR a couple of weeks ago that said, due to a recent ruling, unlicensed assistants can’t even open the door for a prospect to view a property.”
“An unlicensed assistant is just an assistant to the agent. Not an investor looking to perform licensable acts. An assistant can basically inform the public of facts only.
They cannot market, access the MLS, or perform and real estate services.”
How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Assistant
According to one of the leading recruiting platforms ZipRecruiter, you will need to earn an associate degree or certificate in business or real estate studies to become a real estate assistant.
The coursework an aspiring real estate assistant should focus on is real estate, property management, and administrative support.
Each state has different requirements for a real estate licensure, and a state-mandated exam must be completed.
Additionally, you will need to apply for a licensure to become licensed as a real estate assistant.
Which Marketing Tasks a Licensed Real Estate Assistant Can Help You With?
Since my focus is on performance and data-based real estate marketing, I need to take an extra look at which marketing tasks a licensed real estate assistant can help you with as a real estate professional.
From the above table of tasks a licensed real estate assistant can do, we can already identify four real estate marketing-related tasks, which are:
- Prospecting over the phone
- Carrying out open houses
- Writing ads for different marketing channels you or your real estate broker is using to generate leads.
- Placing and removing real estate signs.
But actually, your licensed real estate assistant is not limited only to these tasks.
It all depends on the marketing channels you actually use and focus on to generate leads.
So, the sky’s the limit.
Much will also depend on the marketing skills the respective assistant will bring to the table, and if these skills align with the marketing methods that already bring you results.
But not only that.
If the real estate assistant has great skills in other marketing methods and a proven track record, she or he may be even of help to scale or grow your real estate business further using marketing channels you haven’t used yet.
Let’s say you have already a well-oiled marketing machine bringing you in leads from cold calling potential sellers, and have never done PPC advertising via Google Search Ads.
Now, if the assistant has great skills in both cold calling, but also a track record in PPC advertising via Google Search Ads, you may have an opportunity to branch out your marketing campaigns to new channels.
The Typical Costs of a Licensed Real Estate Assistant
To not get into potential legal trouble, you want to hire licensed real estate assistants.
The hourly rate is between $19 and $25.
Let’s keep this information in mind, because it will be important in the next section.
Before Hiring a Licensed Real Estate Assistant, You Should Have These Three Things in Place
In my article about how you can automate your real estate business, I already discussed the typical real estate business processes.
So, before you hire a licensed real estate assistant, you might want to have these processes already defined and tested.
This includes that you already know which marketing methods work for you and you know your costs per acquisition and even the costs involved to generate one real estate closing (costs per real estate closing).
Real estate business areas in which you might want to think about when determining and identifying your processes include:
- Customer Communication, Follow-ups, and Appointment Setting
- Running Real Estate Marketing Campaigns
- Accounting and Finances
- Property Management
- Property Inspections
You want to define the processes in these different real estate business areas in something called an operations manual.
Here, you describe in a detailed way the different steps involved to carry out different tasks of the respective processes.
It’s a bit like programming software.
This will come in handy during the hiring and the training process of your licensed real estate assistant.
Having an oiled marketing machine that produces reliable results requires that you have done enough testing in the past with different marketing methods and channels.
Producing reliable results also means that the real estate revenue you generate is at a stable level.
This would be the last requirement you will need before you think of hiring a licensed real estate assistant, since you will have to pay a stable salary on a month-by-month basis.
How to Know When to Hire?
There are some soft indicators and some hard ones that can give you clues that it might be the moment to start the hiring process.
Here are the soft indicators:
- You start turning down new clients (buyers and sellers).
- Because you are stuck in daily business operations, your business isn’t growing and hits a plateau (this is related to the previous indicator).
- You start getting more and more complaints from clients.
- You found new additional income streams that you can start to exploit.
- Daily financials, bookkeeping, and other paperwork start to accumulate because of the lack of time.
- The service quality you offer starts to decline.
- When you are asked when you had the last vacation or break, you can’t remember anymore.
- You lack a particularly important skillset that you need to adapt to new market conditions (e.g. adapting your business to new tech developments, marketing methods, etc.).
- It is easier to reach you by smoke signals or a message in a bottle than by other means such as email, phone, or messenger.
- If you had a freelancer for other little tasks and now need more than one for even more tasks.
Now, there are also hard indicators that involve more numbers and a little math to determine when to hire in general and in our case a licensed real estate assistant that will have an annual salary of between $40,167 and $52,488.
The math-based approach starts with the end in mind.
First, you will need to determine what percentage of the revenue you make per year you take out to pay yourself a salary so you meet your needs and then some.
If you have a gross revenue of about $60,000 after expenses, you will need 100% to pay yourself.
It will be pretty much impossible to hire someone with a $52,488 salary.
A good rule of thumb and without you having to cut drastically what you pay yourself is to have a gross annual revenue of at least two or even three times in place of what the future employee is going to cost per year.
In the case of a licensed real estate assistant, this would mean an annual gross revenue between $120,501 and $157,464.
There is another simple formula, that breaks it down by the hour.
For example, if you can pay yourself $180 an hour by what you are doing, and the employee would cost $18 per hour, it’s definitely worthwhile.
Actually, this is already worthwhile when you make 3x times more than $18 per hour (e.g. $54).
Because of the opportunity costs.
If you need to invest your $54-hours in minor or low-value tasks, you won’t be able to use the same time for high-value ones, such as, for example, negotiating a deal over the phone.
That’s the bad thing with time – once spent, you can’t bring it back.
Again, it all depends on your level of comfort. If you can cut the salary you pay yourself drastically, you may be able to hire earlier.
Once your licensed real estate assistant is hired, you can then measure her or his results by keeping an eye on how much more revenue was generated after one year.
You could then calculate the difference of the revenue generated before and after the hire and divide this additional gross revenue by the number of employees you hired.
Let’s look at an example.
If you generated $120,501 before hiring one licensed real estate assistant, and one year after the hire you managed to generate $200,000 per year the difference will be $79,499.
This number divided by one employee would be again $79,499.
By the way, this simple key performance indicator for small businesses is called revenue per employee.
In a much larger business, you would have to take yourself out of the equation, once you are basically not directly involved in revenue-generating activities anymore.
When considering hiring a real estate assistant, I would go for a licensed one because you will have much more flexibility with tasks they can and are allowed to do in the context of real estate transactions.
They will also be able to assist you in all different types of real estate marketing tasks.
Before hiring one though, you should have the financial means (a stable revenue), an operations manual of your business processes and established marketing methods in place that bring in stable results.
So, hiring a real estate assistant is rather something for real estate businesses that are about to come out of the early start-up phase.
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