Building the back office of your real estate business in the cloud can be a daunting task, but with the help of a skilled real estate virtual assistant you really can create it. It just takes a whole lot of organization and the determination to make it a priority. So what do you need to do to make it work?
Before you begin, take stock of where your office currently is in the organization department and where you want it to be. What I mean by this, is take a look at how you keep things organized now and how you would like for them to be organized. This means taking a look at each of the various parts of your business.
This week we’ll start with the administrative portion of your business. Each of the files listed below will go under the file Administrative or Business Documents. There are a lot of different parts to this, so we’ll cover the most important ones here.
- Accounting – Keep a record of all income and expenses to turn over to your accountant or bookkeeper. I recommend a file with scanned copies of all receipts and they should go into a receipts file with a new sub-folder for each month of the year. Also in your accounting file should be a spreadsheet that keeps track of all income and expenses. You should have a book for each month and a book for the year as well so that you are able to keep track of the bottom line from month to month and overall as well.
- Forms Library – In your forms library there should be folders for real estate forms as well as agent forms and a separate file for office administration documents. In the real estate forms file are all of the contracts, addendums, disclosures, MLS change forms, brokerage checklists for what is needed for each listing and closing, and anything else you can think of for a listing and closing. In the agent forms library should be the initial employment forms your agents fill out when they begin working in your office. This would include their W-9, the agent licensing information sheet, and any other form new agents must fill out before working with you. In the office administration file should be all the forms you use for regular W-2 employees including applications and tax forms.
- Procedures – This will be where you will keep all of your office procedures. This includes all listing procedures, closing procedures, marketing procedures, etc. You should have a document for each of the parts of the business and how to do it so that if you ever change staff or subcontractors you will have this forever. It will eliminate training time when starting over with new support people.
- Office Supplies – If you order your office supplies and have them delivered you should have a checklist set up with each of these items listed on it so that you can easily check off which items need ordered and the quantity of the items you need. It will make ordering quick and easy for your staff. And if you keep it in excel a great assistant can add the item numbers, the price per item, and set it up to tally the total for you so that you know exactly what kind of expense you should expect. This will eliminate the need for her to get approval as you already saw the total and are able to adjust as necessary. Or she can fill it out and let you know when it’s ready for viewing for your approval. In addition to the checklist there should be a master document which has the website and phone number for where you get the materials you typically order, and any passwords or pins that are needed to complete the orders.
- Letter Library – Every office should have a letter library. In this library will be letters that you send out to current clients, past clients, and those under contract as well. I recommend naming the letters according to the occasion and when it is to be executed. For instance, once a new listing is taken you could have a letter titled “Welcome to ABC Real Estate – 3 days after listing” ready to go so that it can be printed and mailed on the day it is supposed to be. It eliminates the confusion of when each letter is to be mailed and what it is for. So you should have files inside your letter library for New Listings, Pending Listings, Sold Listings, and finally your SOI.
As you can see, we have just touched on a very small portion of getting your real estate business operating in the cloud as much as possible. Next week we’ll talk setting up the listing and marketing files in the cloud. And if you need some assistance in this department be sure to contact us!
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