Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Appraisal Help

One of the things I get questioned about most often by my fellow real estate appraisers is my use of virtual assistants (or ‘VAs’). It’s common knowledge in the industry that I use VAs, and I tend to get the same few questions over and over again: ‘why do you use them’, ‘how do you do it?’ and ‘is it worth it?’

appraiser virtual assistant vaLet’s begin with the first question. Anyone who’s followed me through my blogs, podcasts or workshops knows that my number one focus is helping you – my fellow real estate appraiser – to work more efficiently and more effectively. A huge part of this is learning the art of something I like to call ‘off-shouldering’. Off-shouldering is about taking all that stuff that’s weighing you down – all those time-consuming tasks – and offloading them elsewhere. That’s where a VA can come in.

You can get VAs to do almost any task you can imagine. Personally, I’ve used them for designing my website, logo, business cards and book covers. I’ve hired them to help on my podcast, and for a variety of administrative tasks. There are an effectively unlimited number of VAs out there who have talents in every area you could imagine. Utilize them, and save yourself valuable time in the process.

The logistics – the ‘how?’ – are actually quite straightforward. If you want to find a local VA – someone to run a few errands for you perhaps – head over to Craigslist. For everything else, I’d recommend two websites: Upwork, and Fiverr. These are both excellent sites populated by people who need work doing, and by other by people who want to do those jobs. It’s quick and easy to find someone with the specialist skillset that you’re looking for.

That brings me on to the third question: the cost, which might be the most attractive part of hiring a VA. On both Fiverr and Upwork you can get work – and this is high quality work – for $5 or $10. That’s incredible value considering the amount of time you save yourself, which can be far better spent on the real estate appraisal work that – as you know – you were actually trained to do.

I’ll be honest with you; the first couple of times I hired a VA, it didn’t work out well at all. It may not for you either. But you absolutely have to keep trying, because there are a lot of talented people out there willing to work for very cheap rates. After the early mishaps, I’ve found a lot of great VAs, and I’ve never looked back. Over the years they’re freed up countless hours of my time.

One of the essences of being a good business owner, in real estate appraisal and elsewhere, is working smarter, not harder. Hiring VAs is an incredibly cost-effective way of off-shouldering, giving you far more time to spend on your business. That sounds pretty smart to me.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 019 – How to Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)

5 thoughts on “Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Appraisal Help”

  1. Pingback: Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Appraisal Help - Appraisal Buzz

  2. Outstanding blog piece. This is valuable for every business owner, not just appraisal businesses. If appraisers want to visualize how this might be feasible, take a look at how the internet is working against us right now. Blast orders. National fee panels. The concept is working for our clients. We can complain about this all day long. We may even be able to make a cohesive anti-trust/monopolization-of-labor type of argument, for the time being, if anyone cared to listen. But you can’t stop the tide folks. This is the internet age and all the good and bad that comes with it. The bad for appraisers is that there will likely be less of us and if not less, our existence will look much different. The work-out-of-the-house individual labor unit is going to be out-competed and there will be casualties there. Now decide if you will survive and thrive or be a casualty.

    Instead of viewing the inevitable change through a pessimistic lens, maybe there could be unintended good consequences. Opportunity perhaps. A Phoenix from the ashes. Or does that go to far? LOL. If not, read on…

    Apple created a market out of no market. I think it is possible appraisers could do this too. If you hold a puppy too hard it might die. If you hold a handful of sand too hard it does not die, it slips away to serve another purpose. Maybe sand returns to the purpose it was always meant to serve. We are all human. Like sand, that is not going away. Our human nature is the foundation of the opportunity in front of us, if we are visionary enough to see it. Think my friends. Is it possible there may be an untapped market out there? Deep thoughts by Jack Handy. LOL.

    And PS, if I simply gave you the answer, instead of making you figure it out for yourself, human nature would intervene and cause you to dismiss it, because you did not think of it. But it is out there and I see it.

    1. Kelton, being an owner of a virtual assistant company that only works with appraisers, there are some advantages and disadvantages, as there is in all decisions. Some advantages include:

      – We already know the industry so our ramp up time is very quick, typically a few days. That is only to learn your specific preferences.
      – If your assistant is out, we have someone else to cover them so you’re not “down” a person for a day or longer.
      – If there’s inclement weather, we’re not impacted and have employees in different locations.
      – We are already familiar navigating AMC websites and platforms.
      – We are contractors so no benefits, payroll tax, social security tax and all of those other taxes.
      – When you’re hiring, you have to train someone in the industry and tasks before you can determine if they’ll work out.
      – You get to skip the hiring process altogether.

      We are at a disadvantage when it comes to knowledge of the local market. That is something we gradually improve with over time but we’ll never get up to the level of a local hire.

      One last piece specific to my company, all of our employees are in the US (Georgia, specifically) and you are partnered with an assistant that you’ll get to know and will get to know you.

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