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How Rental Property Owners Can Leverage Using A Virtual Assistant

property management

Over the past few years, there has been a major shift in how business is conducted. According to Mashvisor the tenant segment trend is rapidly shifting towards the Gen Z’s and is expected to increase in the next decade from 8 million to over 55 million. Since the COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent in our society, the job requirements have also swiftly transformed from frequent business travel to (almost) everything being done virtually instead.

Along with the upcoming younger generations that are entering the workforce being more digital savvy, our society has seen a big shift in how people prefer to do business. A correlation that is evident from this shift is that more and more people are conducting their operations remotely, from their phones or home offices.

This has created a huge opportunity for rental property owners who want to maximize their time and property management profits. If you haven’t already upgraded your system, processes, tools and/or strategies through the use of virtual assistants, you are missing out on a lot of money.

Let’s take a look to see if rental properties can really hire a VA to do it all.

WHY YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY SERVICE SHOULD CONSIDER GOING VIRTUAL

Mastering resource management is the key to operating an efficient and profitable rental property management organization. The most straightforward way you can achieve this is by integrating VA’s into your company. They are adept in helping you with:

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Collecting rent
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Managing property data
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Advertising your rental properties
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Payment of bills
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Screening prospective tenants
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Responding to lease inquiries and scheduling showings (whether in person or virtual)
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Ensuring your property maintenance is kept up with

It’s no secret that being a landlord or rental property manager isn’t always easy — tenants can be challenging:

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They don’t pay rent on time
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They expect quick response times
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And there is the added challenge of dealing with unexpected costs and repairs

While they don’t have all the answers, VA’s can be an indispensable tools that helps you come up with the right solutions for your business. You’ll be able to go from not knowing what you need to do, to having a plan for success that is highly specific and actionable. That’s why leveraging the power of a virtual assistant is pivotal in helping you succeed in this industry.

The following are just some of the ways in which integrating virtual assistants with your property management team can be incredibly advantageous:

Scale up and improve sales conversion

Lead generation is one of the most important functions of the real estate industry. However, your rental property’s success is highly dependent on actual conversions. A recent survey done by Buildium indicated that 47% of property managers plan to grow the size of their portfolio in the next 12 months. Having a dedicated virtual assistant that can contact local investors, schedule meetings with top performing agents/brokerages and follow up consistently is the key to portfolio growth. Most property managers don’t have time to pull lists, make calls and then consistently maintain contact. A virtual assistant can ensure your calendar is always full of motivated prospect appointments.

By hiring trained real estate virtual assistants it can help to:

  • Conduct local market research
  • Call, text, email or even reach out via social media to prospects
  • Consistently follow-up on possible prospects
  • Manage and confirm appointments, calendars and post-meeting deliverables

Employee cost savings

The labor market is unlike anything most property managers have ever had to deal with. Finding talent is tough, and affording the right talent can be a challenge. By hiring a rental property management VA, you can save upwards of 50% on employee overhead. This can allow you to better maximize you local A+ talent, while hiring a virtual assistant support staff that can take on a lot of the administrative and communication roles that slow every property manager down. Your local employee wins, your business wins and your bank account wins!

Flexibility

Virtual assistants typically work remotely, which means you can conveniently enlist help whenever you need it. They tend to be very knowledgeable about the programs they use and will do things quickly, saving you time in the process. From 24/7 call coverage to jobs that just require a few hours of attention a week, a property management trained virtual assistant can give your company the flexibility it needs to excel.

Specialized expertise

Virtual assistants have expertise in many different fields and are valuable assets to help you take on even the specialized tasks such as:

  • Managing the social media accounts of the business – I.e. dealing with queries, posting promos or posts
  • Providing marketing services to help you get the attention of potential owner leads. Inclusive of your advertising, your reputation, SEO to help you rank higher in searchre to get four by more property owners on the internet
  • Through utilizing a CRM platform, our VA’s are capable of effectively managing and analyzing customer interactions throughout the customers lifecycle
  • Handling the bookkeeping of the business to post financial transactions, review and update statements and reconcile accounts

This allows you to focus on your own strengths and interests while still getting important work done.

Through a combination of timing and experience, VAs can help businesses achieve greater success than ever before.

WHAT ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES CAN VA’S PERFORM FOR YOUR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY?

While many think of virtual assistants as providing administrative and logistical support, the truth is that they can do much more than that. From simple roles to working across multiple departments (even managing a portfolio themselves), the following are areas where you can use a virtual assistant in your rental property management business:

Marketing support.

Another major issue that landlords face is finding new renters after they have lost a tenant or want to expand on their rental portfolio. Marketing is costly, time-consuming and requires knowledge of different strategies.

Virtual assistants with marketing experience are one of the most valuable assets you can have when you’re running a business like this because they can provide assistance in all sorts of ways, including social media engagement, researching potential advertising channels, creating graphics and managing email campaigns.

Rent coordinator.

Finding quality tenants is one of the biggest issues that landlords face. With so many applicants, it can be difficult to choose which tenant will be the best fit for your property. A virtual assistant can help you manage and schedule interviews with potential tenants in addition to taking notes during the interview about each applicant and their rental history. Once you have found suitable tenants, they can assist you in drafting up leases and preparing tenant applications.

 

Maintenance Coordinator.

Your VA can handle maintenance problems so you don’t have to pick up the phone and deal with the tenants building issues right away. For instance, your VA might call the plumber or handyman to fix problems while you’re at work and then report back to you with an update later in the day.

Market research.

Using your VA for research makes it easier to manage your property remotely. For example, if you want to know about neighborhood crime statistics or local schools’ test scores, your VA can pull that information together in one place for you.

Vendor Management

VA’s provide all inclusive support in terms of vendor managements. This covers anything from:

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finding the vendors
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building a preferred vendor list
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vetting the vendors (insurance, filtering for the best reputations, etc)
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schedule contractors for specific dates/times
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send out reminders for when appointments are scheduled and follow up with contractors to make sure everything goes as planned
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billing
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to finally, proof of work of completion.

Without missing a beat, the entire management of vendor process would be handled and managed by our VA’s.

Data entry

If you’re short on time, a VA can help you get more done by entering data into spreadsheets or databases. This is particularly useful when it comes to tracking rental income and expenses, keeping track of warranties or organizing inventory (this is especially important if you have a large inventory). With a proper CRM tool in place, VA’s can assist with new property setups, handling matters related to rental insurance, ensuring compliance with the homeowners associations rules and regulations among other things.

Administrative support

As a rental property company, you’re responsible for numerous things: collecting rent payments; maintaining the property; marketing the unit; dealing with contractors; answering tenant questions; performing maintenance and repairs — the list goes on.

That’s why many rental property owners and managers hire virtual assistants to handle those tasks and much more basic ones like correspondence and invoicing, scheduling appointments and researching. It is also possible to hire VA’s to handle bookkeeping services i.e. bill-paying, bank transfers and creating reports that help you manage your finances.

With the ready availability of virtual assistants and the many roles they can help you accomplish, rental landlords are using them to streamline their business.

HOW DO YOU STREAMLINE YOUR BUSINESS?

If you want to turn your property management business into a successful, profitable venture, you will need to get it ready for the future.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can streamline your business and get it into a “virtual” mode:

  • Support your team with a virtual property management assistant

The rental market is competitive, which means you need to work as efficiently as possible so you can serve more clients. One way to do this is to outsource certain tasks that don’t require a high level of expertise. For example, some property management companies hire virtual assistants who are responsible for creating ads, answering emails and making phone calls. These responsibilities fall outside the realm of what a normal employee would do but are great ways to make sure your cash flow stays healthy while freeing up time for more important tasks.

  • Build a web presence that shows you are able to handle new tenants

There are many prospective renters looking at properties online before they even come into contact with an agent or manager. That’s why it’s so important to have a web presence that lets you take advantage of new tools like software that instantly posts available apartments on Craigslist or Facebook. You can also add a blog to your site so prospective tenants can get to know you and learn about the properties you manage.

  • Construct a scheduling system that creates workflow convenience.

Combining digital tools with regular communication will help make sure nothing gets left undone in between tenant visits and walk-throughs. Create an online calendar system so everyone who will visit the property — from yourself to contractors — has access to upcoming appointments. This way, if there’s an issue that needs immediate attention, you’ll know about it right away. A couple task management tools that could be used to properly distribute and monitor status of tasks are Proofhub, Trello, Wrike or Chanty. Which ever you choose, make sure these systems are integrated with your property management software.

  • Transform your rental services to be virtually led

Can you handle online rent payments, or do you still insist that tenants mail your checks? During this pandemic period especially, digital transformation is evidently the future and laggers to this transformative change would be left behind. Just between 2019 to 2021, there has been a 600% increase in the use of a 360 degree virtual home tour technology. This period of digital acceleration is crucial for businesses to capitalize on new ways to reach their audiences.

The way you handle rent payments will be a reflection of the way your entire business works. People expect things to be done quickly and efficiently these days, and if you can’t deliver that service, your potential tenants will go somewhere else.

  • Incorporate a property management system and process.

There are plenty of options that can help you manage work orders, data entry, and even social media accounts with ease. What’s more important is that you get in the habit of using such a system. Rocket Station hands you curated yet effective systems and processes proven to bring you a streamlined workflow operation.

There are several differences between in-person and online rental property management services, but the biggest one is convenience. People expect things to be done quickly and efficiently these days, and if you can’t deliver that service, your potential tenants will go somewhere else.

TOOLS TO HELP WITH RENTING PROPERTY

Troubleshooting problems with a tenant can require significant time and effort, so it’s important to try and streamline the process as much as possible. By using some of these tools and resources, you can make sure that you’re always prepared for handling any tenant-related issues that may arise around your property.

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Property management software

this allows you to manage all aspects of your rental property business and any associated staff. It will streamline the process so you can spend more time doing what really counts – running your business.

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Tenant background check

online tenant screening services provide reports on prospective tenants based on the information that they provide you in their application form. These reports contain information on previous addresses, rental history, credit history, bankruptcies and more. You can then use this information to assess whether the applicant is a suitable tenant or not. Ideally, you should use a service that also provides advice in relation to your criteria for accepting tenants and what kind of references and documentation you should request from a tenant when they apply for a home.

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Rent collection software

this is another tool that will save you time and effort by automating the collection of rent payments from tenants for example. It will also let you keep track of rent payments in real time as opposed to having to wait until the end of the month or quarter to find out how much rent has been paid into your account.

 

Renting out a property can be a great way to generate rental income while keeping your money invested in alternative assets. However, the process of managing a rental property is more complicated than it initially seems. Using the right software can help you save time and increase your productivity, so that you can spend less time doing busy work and more time growing your business. 

WORKING WITH A VA 

Many business owners who have never employed a VA before are unaware of how our virtual assistants can help streamline their operations. Once you take a deep dive into your business operations, you’ll likely realise that multiple areas of your business could benefit from the support of specialised, qualified and adaptable VA’s. It’ easy to see them as task robots however, they are highly valuable members of your team that are able to skilfully insert themselves into your company’s culture. Over time, your business will begin to experience significant growth if you take advantage of the services that VAs offer.

However, it is best to learn how to work with your virtual assistant. Like any employee, think of it as managing a business relationship rather than outsourcing tasks.

Treating a virtual assistant well has the potential to be one of the best investments you make in your business. If you do it right, the only regret you will have is why you never hired one sooner. With that said, what are the basic requirements for treating a VA well? Simple, just with any other employee in your organization, for a VA to perform at their best, you need to provide the following:

  1. Make It Clear What You Expect From Them

Effectively communicating with remote teams in the new work from home environment  is a must. Of course, you want your VA to know exactly what tasks they’re responsible for. Therefore, a detailed job scope is essential, describing the necessary training plans, standard operating procedures within the company, and a clear candidate profile so that the right VA will be provided. 

With that said, it’s also important that they understand how they can expect to be treated by you. After all, if they’re not feeling appreciated, there’s no motivation for them to continue their hard work on your behalf. In addition, make sure that they feel appreciated for their efforts.

  1. Be Fair With Their Compensation

As with any other employee in any other position of employment, it’s critical that your virtual assistant understands what compensation is expected of them and when it will be provided. For your reference, in the US, average income for virtual assistants is approximately USD 19 per hour, ranging from the low end of USD 7 to the high end of USD 62.

Rocket station provides a standard USD 10 per hour for quality VA’s. In addition, if there are any changes in compensation – whether increases or decreases – make sure that everyone is aware of these changes.

  1. Give regular feedback so they can improve.

Working with someone remotely can make it easy for either party to neglect giving/requesting feedback about how things are going. If you don’t provide regular feedback, your virtual assistant might not know if there’s room for improvement — or what exactly makes them valuable to your business in the first place. We recommend having structured consistent meetings with the VA’s in order to manage expectations of what is required in order have aligned KPI’s/goals. Aside from this, it is beneficial to instill a culture of curiosity within the organization. The more questions that the employees ask, the more knowledgeable and unified their direction will be.

Your VA is a critical member of your business as well as your team, and as such, you will want to retain them for the long-term. This way, you will be able to ensure that your relationship stays on the road to success.

The goal of this article is to provide you with some basic tips to help you reap the maximum benefits of bringing a virtual rental management assistant into your team. If you take it slow, one step at a time, it’s much more doable and manageable than it sounds. And once you have your systems and processes set up and humming along, your company will streamline which would undoubtedly help you with the tough tasks of data entry, importing property management software, and more. Use it as an opportunity to make your life simpler—that’s the best way to use this useful tool.