When it comes to hiring staff, you have two options: put out an ad and sift through whatever scraps fall into your net, or invest in powerful analytics and go hunting with precision. It all comes down to which you value more – time or money.
When it comes to hiring offshore real estate staff, you no longer have that choice. Your provider will present you with a shortlist of appropriately qualified people – but it rarely feels like they have been handpicked for you
That’s probably because they haven’t.
We do things differently at Shore Agents. Rather than make you choose from a pool of talented but very different people, we ensure all of our potential recruits have undergone rigorous training before they ever come up for interview.
That’s right. Instead of waiting until after the recruitment process to start to train the perfect real estate virtual assistants, we do it as step number one.
That’s why our specialised offshore staff are more than just real estate VAs; they are Real Estate Super Agents.
Start with the basics
At Shore Agents, we pride ourselves on finding, recruiting and training the most talented people in the Philippines. We provide a great working environment and attractive pay packages, making sure that when you hire one of our real estate VAs, they will be a great employee with real longevity.
One of the ways we succeed is that we don’t make assumptions about anything or anyone. When your business is based somewhere like the Philippines, you learn that some very simple things can be surprisingly difficult.
And that starts by explaining exactly what the real estate industry is.
Think about it. You can hire an amazing VA who is a whiz at spreadsheets. She makes great graphics in Canva and data inputs your rental applications in record time. But take a moment to consider if she really understands what’s involved with buying and selling a home in Australia or New Zealand?
If this seems too basic to you, consider how you first came to learn about the real estate industry. Maybe your parents sold an investment property or you went to your first auction with your uncle. Through many years of reality TV shows, friends and family buying and selling, and a healthy interest in the property market, you developed an understanding of the business.
Someone growing up in the Philippines won’t have had the same experience as you or your local staff. You can’t take it for granted that your brilliant employee actually knows what’s involved in buying and selling a home. It’s not like buying fruit at the market! It’s not even like buying a motorbike or car.
Why do people choose to buy or sell? They need a bigger home or a smaller one. They want to be closer to a better school, or the grandparents, or their work. They might be serial renovators or are just looking for something new. These are all situations that a virtual assistant may never have been in a position to be familiar with.
The same is true of renting. Property management involves having an owner who, usually, has more than one property which they rent out. That very concept could be entirely new to some people! Renting out a whole house to a stranger? Not to a distant cousin? Or, indeed, several distant cousins?
Again, the point is not that offshore employees aren’t smart; they are very well educated and extremely clever. But this is about world experience. We don’t assume that the smartest person to walk into our office knows the basics of real estate.
And that’s why, through our training program, we know that every one of our staff does know much more than the basics of real estate.
Once we make sure our potential recruits fully understand what the real estate industry is, it’s time to start introducing more complicated concepts. Things like valuation, neighbourhood assessments, agent fees, and advertising costs.
Yes, we look at all those elements before we get to the nitty gritty of responding to leads, setting up viewing appointments, or preparing advertising.
If you’ve been researching real estate VAs, you know that they’ll generally take on tasks like social media, responding to emails, managing calendars, bookkeeping, preparing inspections, and countless other essential but time consuming jobs. In order for our Shore Super Agents to be brilliant at their roles, we know that it’s worth investing in them to make them completely well-rounded.
We are not providing a Certificate IV in Property Services. Your real estate super agent will not be qualified to buy and sell homes or manage property. But they will have a good understanding of how and why you run your business the way that you do.
Let’s take valuation as an example. Valuation is a fine art, and we don’t expect our VAs to be able to do the deep research or have the well-honed instinct of your best agents to be able to value a home. But they will understand the concept of relative value and how to compare apples with apples and oranges.
(Not that we’re buying fruit in a market!)
We also don’t shy away from how real estate businesses make money. We take our recruits through the different models that agencies use, what the expected fees are, and why they vary depending on location.
The other side is how investors and property owners make money through buying and selling. Why do some sellers choose to let out their property while waiting for a better offer? How do you calculate a fair rental price? What is a reasonable profit to make on selling a property in today’s market? What are some of the psychological reasons behind how properties are priced?
On the rental side, the role of a property manager is simply non-existent in many countries. A tenant will just pay a deposit, take the keys from the owner, and they both hope for the best. Why do we do things differently in Australia and New Zealand? What are the benefits? Are those benefits worth the additional cost? Let’s face it, many Australians don’t even know what a property manager does and all the small essential tasks they do every day to make a landlord’s life easier. The least you can do is make sure your staff know the value of your PMs and how much work they do.
Some of our competitors are surprised that we take the time to explain the finer details of the real estate business to our potential recruits. But we truly believe that the more deeply our VAs understand the building blocks of the biz, the more value they can provide to your company, and the happier they will be with their roles.
The nitty gritty
Finally, once our recruits fully understand the ins and outs of the real estate business, it’s time to introduce them to the sorts of tasks and roles they will be expected to fill as real estate virtual assistants or full time offshore staff.
Our recruitment process means that we already know our trainees can handle spreadsheets, calendars, data entry, social media management, video editing, bookkeeping, website management, and dozens of other technical skills. This is the point when we ask them to apply their new real estate knowledge to their already excellent practical know-how.
We know a lot about how best to utilise offshore staff in an Australian or New Zealand real estate business. One of the most important aspects is your systems and flow. Basically, how do all of the different parts of your business fit together in the most efficient way possible?
We train and test our recruits on their understanding of the whole real estate process. So that could be, for example, how to move an application through the property management pipeline, or how to prioritise and schedule warm sales leads.
This isn’t just rote learning or tasks for the sake of doing tasks. This is knowledge and experience being put into practice – entirely for the benefit of your real estate business.
Passing and progression
As we already said, this isn’t a Certificate IV in Property Services. This is a supercharged two-day bootcamp to educate our new recruits about this exciting industry. We don’t expect them to know the real estate industry inside and out by the end. But it is a surefire way to skim the cream from the top and not waste time with people who aren’t enthusiastic or teachable.
Do you remember the John West tuna ads from the 1990s? “It’s the fish that John West rejects that makes John West the best.”
Of course, we don’t want to reject anyone. We know that our training program is the best offshore real estate training program in the world. But if any of our recruits doesn’t make 85% in their final grade, they don’t progress on to the next level of practical testing.
What that means for you as a real estate business owner is that when it’s time to work through your shortlist of recruits, you’re not just sorting through the scraps from a widely cast net. Our Super Agents have already been selected based on their talents, and then gone through a crash course in real estate to actually understand your biz. Only then do we vigorously test their practical capacities. And only after that do we present them to you, to decide who is the best fit for your team.
If you’re after the cheapest virtual assistant to help your team, you have literally dozens of options. But if you want the best, most knowledgeable, most versatile, most valuable, and most flexible real estate VA, there’s only one option. You need the most highly trained, handpicked and awesome offshore staff available. You need a Shore Super Agent.