Real Estate Marketing

Six Helpful Tools Your Virtual Assistant Can Use For Your Real Estate Business

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Marketing, Real Estate Investing Basics
51 Articles Written

I have worked with virtual assistants (both abroad as well as in my local city) for two years now and my experiences have varied widely.  Unfortunately, I’ve had more negative experiences than positive, but today I want to focus on the positive.

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(Note: if you want to learn from my not so good experiences, check out a previous post 4 Key Lessons I Learned From My Rotten Virtual Assistant Experience)

Today I’d like to share some tools that have been essential to work effectively with a virtual assistant primarily for my real estate investing business.

DropboxDropbox: Dropbox is an awesome free tool which allows for online back-up, syncing, and file sharing.  My assistant and I use the file sharing feature which makes it super easy to share important documents like marketing materials, digital signature files, contracts, and more (Cost: FREE).

Google DocsGoogle Docs:  Google Docs provides a free online word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and form service and makes collaboration a cinch.  One of my favorite uses of Google Docs is the forms.  My assistant is able to easily enter lead data and not have to fool around with spreadsheets.  We can also use spreadsheets with project plans and she can provide status updates in real-time (Cost: FREE).

jingJing: Jing has been a lifesaver for me because it allows me to quickly create videos to train my assistant on various things I need her to do.  For example, I needed her to look up specific data in the public records and record it in a spreadsheet.  It was a simple enough task, but the fact that I could do a screen capture and show her exactly how to look up the data I needed was invaluable because it answered any questions or possible confusion that she’d have about the task. Jing is free and the only limitation worth mentioning is that the video must be less than 5 minutes long (Cost: FREE).

SkypeSkype:  This one goes without saying, but Skype is fantastic.  It allows us to have quick chats, phone calls, and video calls with ease.  For a small fee you can have a Skype subscription and make calls to telephones from Skype and have voicemail, so my assistant is able to handle phone calls as often as I need her to with no concerns about long distance charges or using up cell phone minutes.  By the way, if you need to record your Skype conversation, there are free tools like MP3 Skype Recorder. (Cost: Free for basic use, $2.99/month for unlimited U.S. and Canada)

Stamps.com:  If your assistant is handling direct mail campaigns for you, it may be worth investing in a Stamps.com account so that your assistant can save his or her time (and your money) by printing postage stamps online.  You’ll also receive discounts on postage and have online tracking of your postage spending for your business (Cost: $15.99 for small business/single user account).

TimeTradeTimeTrade.com:  I stumbled upon this tool when I was setting up an appointment with another business owner I met at an event.  It’s an online appointment scheduler with automatic reminder and Outlook & Google Calendar integration.  You can simply provide people with your own personal URL so that they can set an appointment based on your calendar availability.  This actually means that you can handle appointments without an assistant, but the truth of the matter is that some people don’t want (or won’t) use this tool to confirm appointments with you, so your assistant may have to schedule some of them.  If you’re setting up a lot of appointments with Realtors, sellers, buyers, or pretty much anyone else, you can use a tool like TimeTrade and it will save you quite a bit of time (Cost: one-time charge of $29.95).

These are just a handful of tools that have been very helpful for our businesses and in working with virtual assistants. I’d love to hear about tools that some of you have used that have been major time, money, or grief savers!

Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in sunny South Florida. On her blog, GoodFaithInvesting.com, she provides helpful tips and an inside look at her...
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    Anonymous
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Very beautifully explained all the six steps by you and i really appreciate your effort in putting this thing up so that many more people may get waare of this good news.
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    You’re very welcome…thanks for the feedback!
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    You’re very welcome…thanks for the feedback!
    Terence
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Shae, why stamps.com and click2mail?
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Hi Terence, we use both actually…click2mail.com only for postcards…. stamps.com for letters. You can do letters with click2mail.com also but the letters look too “official” and I do handwritten envelopes.
    Jeet Sangha Investor from bakersfield, CA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    does your va directly send the mail from stamps.com or you have print the envelopes then send it yourself?
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Hi Terence, we use both actually…click2mail.com only for postcards…. stamps.com for letters. You can do letters with click2mail.com also but the letters look too “official” and I do handwritten envelopes.
    Ken Flaspohler
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Instead of skype which I feel is a little cumbersome, or at least was, I use google chat for google people, like it much better than skype, for international tho, skype is probably the better way.
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Hi Ken, I agree that Skype isn’t a perfect solution, but it works pretty well and my assistant swears by it!
    J. Lamar Ferren
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Shae, You’re the best! I just checked out Time Trade and it was exactly what I was looking for. Much better than what I currently have and much more professional and user friendly. Thanks for this post as well. -JL
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    So glad to hear that, JL! I think it’s awesome and you get way more value than the price.
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    So glad to hear that, JL! I think it’s awesome and you get way more value than the price.
    Neil Uttamsingh
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Hi Shae, I agree with ‘Anonymous’. This was a very well constructed post, and well thought out. “Jing” sounds like a very interesting tool. I am going to check it out. Thanks for the tip! Regards, Neil.
    Neil Uttamsingh
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Hi Shae, I agree with ‘Anonymous’. This was a very well constructed post, and well thought out. “Jing” sounds like a very interesting tool. I am going to check it out. Thanks for the tip! Regards, Neil.
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Thanks Neil! I think you’ll love Jing. I use it frequently….super easy and when you couple it up with screencast.com, you can share the videos with a click of a mouse.
    Rain
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Great article! I currently work as a VA for a real-estate wholesaler and 1 company that is into real estate auction. I’ll check out timetrade! Seems worth checking out! Many thanks!
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Thanks Rain and happy to help!
    Brooks C
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Great post Shae! I just got directed to this article by a forum post. What has been your best source of finding VA’s? My favorite so far has been oDesk — and it’s mostly because of the layout of the website — there seem to be talented people everywhere!
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Odesk is definitely a good one…I’ve also have found people through elance.com and guru.com. Like you said, there’s talented people everywhere!
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Odesk is definitely a good one…I’ve also have found people through elance.com and guru.com. Like you said, there’s talented people everywhere! Reply Report comment
    Holly
    Replied almost 9 years ago
    I absolutely love Dropbox and I am thrilled they have an iPhone App. It was pretty awesome to look at an excel spreadsheet on my iPhone. Has anyone tried Evernote, I have heard a lot of good things about them but haven’t tried it yet. Are there other tools you all have found successful to work with your virtual assistants? BTW – I am doing a survey to ask questions and compile of real estate investors who use virtual assistants, including questions relating to what tools people use. If you are interested in participating let me know and I would be happy to send you the link to participate. 🙂
    Kevin
    Replied about 8 years ago
    I agree. Dropbox makes everything so much easier with my interns. I can update files in my dropbox folder and my interns can always have the updated version. There is no need to email files back and forth like I used to before I discovered Dropbox. The only thing I’m somewhat worried about is one of my interns accidentally changing or deleting one of my files that I have saved in the Dropbox folder. I backup my files but how would I know if one of my interns modified a file? Anybody have any input on this?
    Shae Bynes
    Replied about 8 years ago
    You can make your entire files read-only if you don’t want them to be modified at all (or make them in PDF format)…and there are also ways to protect just some of the text within a file (or cells if in an Excel spreadsheet). I’m referring to MS Office documents and the Help documentation can help you out with that.
    Kevin
    Replied about 8 years ago
    Awesome. The read-only is what I was looking for. Thanks a bunch!
    Shae Bynes
    Replied almost 9 years ago
    Holly, I LOVE Evernote! I use it all the time…really helps me to organize all the random (yet very useful) information I get on the internet.
    Kevin
    Replied about 8 years ago
    I agree. Dropbox makes everything so much easier with my interns. I can update files in my dropbox folder and my interns can always have the updated version. There is no need to email files back and forth like I used to before I discovered Dropbox. The only thing I’m somewhat worried about is one of my interns accidentally changing or deleting one of my files that I have saved in the Dropbox folder. I backup my files but how would I know if one of my interns modified a file? Anybody have any input on this?
    Dennis Marshall
    Replied over 8 years ago
    I see that this post is a little old but there’s one key tool missing.. I use Google Voice along with Skype. It’s great because it allows you to separate your personal life from your business life and you can get quite a few phone numbers. Right now, I have 3. One for my personal use to call sellers and buyers, one for buyers to call my assistant and another for sellers to call my assistant. My personal one I have routed to my cell phone. That way I can make calls using my google voice number, right from my cell phone. THey have the app for android and iphones. It also allows you to text so if you want to add another aspect to your business, you can tell your buyer or sellers, to text your info..
    Kevin
    Replied about 8 years ago
    Google Voice is great! I tried switching to Skype once and it was a nightmare. I would have to call my voicemail evertime I had a new voicemail. With Google voice, the messages get transcribed and emailed to you immediately (although they are not transcribed perfectly, they suffice.) You can listen to the mp3 file or read the email. You can also listen to or read them immediately on your phone with the Droid app. Although Google Voice does not have numbers for every area code, they do have all the major ones I believe. And best of all, its FREE!
    Shae Bynes
    Replied about 8 years ago
    I agree…I don’t even think Google Voice was available to the public at the time of this post, but I’ve been using it for awhile now and it’s great (well, except for the transcribing which is rarely intelligible).
    Abdur
    Replied almost 7 years ago
    I’ve been working as a Va on odesk for last 3 years. And i can see how repidly the demand for Va’s is increasing. As a va I love to us dropbox and gdoc. For chat and voice I think along with skype gtalk is an great software. Thank you for your great information.
    Sonia Goopta
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Any real estate business must be in need of a proper time management strategy so as to keep things alright in the smooth operation of the business. I am intensively impressed with these tools being mentioned. Along with this one more tool as well I would like to include here, the cloud based hours tracking software and applications from Replicon which could manage the time and keep track of it in order to reach out to the maximum level of productivity. The easy compatibility of the tool to work with the android as well as the iOS version gives ultimate and efficient output.
    Mariane
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Hi Shae. These tools are very handy and you made a very informative discussion about them. Good read! Keep posting this kind of article.
    Kalonji Mitchell Investor from Chicago, IL
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great post. I plan to outsource and needed some tools. I appreciate the suggestions.
    Kalonji Mitchell Investor from Chicago, IL
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great post. I plan to outsource and needed some tools. I appreciate the suggestions.