Ten Things a Real Estate Professional Can Do in a “Down” Economy #7

December 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Robin's Ruminations

#7 Work with a Partner (seventh in a series)

blogicon1You may be able to do more business, more efficiently, if you work alongside someone else.  Now could be the perfect time to consider forming a partnership of some kind.

A partnership offers each party some benefit that would be unavailable to the individual.  Benefits might include complementing one’s strengths (such as getting listings vs. marketing listings) or sharing resources (such as a professional assistant or a website).  Usually, a formal agreement is involved, to protect all of the parties.

Of course, a good online system might be considered a partner, of sorts.  But, for this post, I’m talking about flesh-and-blood, human partners.

CAVEATS: The laws in your state may prohibit the formation of real estate partnerships or Teams, and your Broker may have specific rules governing the formation of partnerships or Teams within his/her company.  Check!

I’m suggesting three options for your consideration:

  • Hire a Virtual Assistant
  • Work with a Buddy
  • Join a Team

Let’s look at each, in turn.

Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)

A virtual assistant (VA) can be your right-hand business helper.  But, unlike traditional assistants, you don’t have to provide office space, a desk, a computer, or a phone for this person.

A VA can do a variety of administrative and marketing tasks for you, including

  • Running your drip-marketing campaigns
  • Updating your website(s)
  • Posting your listings
  • Managing your calendar
  • Maintaining your contact list
  • and many others.

(Of course, not being a licensed REALTOR®, a VA cannot deal directly with the public in any real estate capacity.)  Imagine how much more time you would have to work with customers and clients, and to write blog posts, if you had a VA!

Rates for VA work will vary, but are reasonable.  Best of all, the VA is not salaried, so you pay only when you actually have work for the VA to do.

Many VAs specialize in real estate.  Look for one who has taken the trouble to earn NAR’s  REPA (Real Estate Professional Assistant) certification.  And, be sure you ask for—and check—references.

Work with a Buddy

If you’re really good at only half the job (great working with sellers, for example, but no patience for buyers), then partnering with another REALTOR® who is your complement (great working with buyers, but no flair for sellers) may be the way to go.

The keys to making this kind of partnership work are two:

  • Selecting the right partner
  • Completing a formal partnership agreement.

The first key, selecting the right partner, may seem obvious.  But it’s important that you analyze your strengths and weaknesses very carefully.  Select a partner who is strong where you are weak; do not select someone who is just like you!

The second key, completing a formal partnership agreement, is imperative, to protect both of you.  In this agreement, set out the precise terms of your partnership, with respect to task assignments, working hours, timelines, resource utilization, productivity expectations, and revenue sharing—and any other parameters that fit your situation.  Also specify under what conditions the partnership may be dissolved—either explicitly or implicitly—and what happens to current listings and in-progress transactions at that time.  It would be a good idea to have an attorney review the agreement, to ensure that the language is appropriate and to help identify anything you might have overlooked.

Being this formal need not put a damper on the partnership.  Rather, if both parties clearly understand and agree about who does what, then you won’t get in each other’s way.  However, should one party fail to live up to the agreement, then the partnership can be dissolved, without confusion or legal repercussions.

Join a Team

Real estate Teams have existed for decades.  Typically, a Team is led by a top-producing REALTOR®, and consists of the REALTOR and one or more assistants.  One or more of the assistants may also be a REALTOR.

CAVEAT: State real estate laws clearly define the limits of unlicensed real estate assistants.  Know the laws in your state!

The roles of the various members of a Team are clearly defined, and may include a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Entering and maintaining MLS data
  • Managing customer communications
  • Marketing listings
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Prospecting (REALTORS only)
  • Working with buyers (REALTORS only)
  • Maintaining website(s)
  • Writing blogs and other PR communications
  • Maintaining a social media presence.

Does being part of a Team appeal to you?  Consider joining an existing Team in your company.  Before approaching the Team Leader, again review your strengths and weaknesses:  what can you offer the Team that it may not already have?  Prepare a concise proposal for the Team Leader’s consideration, and schedule a conversation.

If you are a top-producing REALTOR, who is going crazy trying to do everything yourself, this may be the time to form your own Team.  As for a simple partnership, putting everything in writing is essential.  I recommend that you consult with your Broker, who may already have prepared Team guidelines.  Also, talk with one or more Team Leaders, and take note of any advice they have on how to run a successful Team.

Whichever of these routes you choose to follow, monitor your productivity closely, and adjust roles and timelines to achieve the greatest benefit to your career.

Previous post:  #6  Implement One New Technique, Every Month
Forthcoming post:  #8  Create an Innovative Prospecting Plan for Your Target Market

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