Expanding Your Business: When Should a REALTOR® Hire Help?

If you’re thinking about expanding your business, it might be time to inquire about hiring help, whether it’s full-time or contractors. But what does this entail?

“The best moment to consider bringing in staff is when you find yourself consistently overwhelmed with tasks that take away from your core duties: selling homes and building client relationships,” says Cailey Heaps, a REALTOR® and president and CEO and broker of record at Heaps Estrin in Toronto, Ontario. “It’s about striking the balance: being busy enough to justify the help but not so swamped that you can’t train and manage your new team effectively. Building on this, it’s not just about hiring the right people but the fundamental training that must ensue to ensure they possess a deep understanding of your business and mode of operation.”

For Heaps, the best advice is to listen to the rhythm of your business. If you’re spending more time on administrative tasks, marketing and handling inquiries, rather than on selling or direct client meetings, take a step back and look at opportunities to delegate.

“Hiring help shouldn’t be a reaction to stress but a strategic move to enhance your business’s efficiency and growth,” Heaps says, adding that the real estate market is dynamic and that her firm is positioned to adapt to market changes and capitalize on emerging opportunities.  

Tip: CREA offers free personalized training for brokers, both in-person and virtual. Explore how your agents can improve their presence on REALTOR.ca and how to better leverage CREA’s tools. Contact CREA’s Lynn St-Germain, Manager, Broker Engagement  at lstgermain@crea.ca for more information.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Jacqui Rostek Holder, a REALTOR® and  Associate Broker with Platinum Group, anticipates a busy 2024 and is looking at office expansion.

“I think help is needed when clients can’t be serviced fully because you have other duties [like administration],” she says. “In my opinion, the client being able to rely on you for advice is paramount to being a successful real estate agent. Typically, help with administrative work is the first hire for an agent. From there, sometimes agents take on other agents as a team or hire another agent to help with client appointments [such as viewing properties]. This varies based on volume of business. Some agents never need this help.”

Chris Hassall, a REALTOR® and owner of a Century 21 Drive in Lloydminster, Alberta, employs eight salespeople, two administrative staff and a social media editor.

“You have to ask yourself: ‘Is my cost per hour best used to do this particular task or am I better to sub it out to assistants or virtual assistants?’” he says. “Can you get your business to a point where you are so busy that you can lever it out, and handle more volume?”

For more on this topic, check out our Working REALTOR® series on REAL TIME:

Hassall says marketing and transactional management are areas a broker might look to outsource or hire for. That might mean someone to edit a YouTube video for marketing or manage social media channels. Or, if you sold ten deals in a month, with ten sets of clients who each have attorneys, ten home inspections to set up and financial obligations to manage, you might need help to manage those relationships and obligations.

“How many hands do I need to handle that type of volume?” he says. “That’s what you have to ask yourself.”

Typically, Heaps says brokers would first hire administrative staff to manage paperwork and scheduling. As the business grows, consider a marketing specialist to handle your digital presence and property promotions, perhaps an operations manager to handle internal day-to-day tasks along with the broader business strategy, or a customer relationship management (CRM) specialist to manage the client database and create an efficient workflow for agents.

“Each role should be a piece of the puzzle that completes your business picture, making operations smoother and more productive,” Heaps says.

Another tip is to look to hire during seasonally slow periods, which affords the chance for any new team members to learn the business and get into a rhythm prior to the busier times.

OK, ready to start building your team? Below is a list of positions that could help support growth:

  • Administrative assistant: Manages the team’s operational systems, communicates with staff, maintains accurate records and performs general administrative tasks such as answering phones.
  • Virtual assistant: Provides remote administrative support to brokerage members, manages email and calendars, and conducts research for the team.
  • Buyer agent: Works directly with buyers, conducting market research analysis, negotiating offers and overseeing showings.
  • Listing agent: Assists clients in selling properties, conducts market research to determine property values and competitive prices, and organizes seller contracts.
  • Showing assistant: Works with brokerage agents to ensure exemplary client services and turnkey operation.
  • Marketing specialist, including social media: Develops marketing strategies to promote properties, and keeps an eye on market trends to support the buying and selling process.
  • Marketing support staff: Cleans and stages a house before images or video are taken, films and edits YouTube videos, films and edits drone video, writes listings and/or takes photographs.
  • Transaction coordinator: Works with all stakeholders involved in a transaction, oversees legal and regulatory compliance, organizes documents for each transaction and assists clients with any questions during the transaction.
  • Technical support staff: Oversees all tech issues, like CRMs and transaction management software.
  • Brokerage manager: Oversees the entire daily operation, manages staff and works with broker to develop strategy.

The CREA Café team is responsible for the official blog of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The CREA Café is a cozy place for CREA to connect with our valued members and friends by sharing our thoughts and insights over a virtual cup of coffee.

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