How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Real Estate Business

Samir Sampat

Real estate professionals are always on the go, on the phone, and on a mission to conquer their never-ending to-do list, no matter how much time and effort it takes. For those who have more to handle than they’re capable of doing alone, it may be time to invest in some assistance. You can do that by enlisting the help of a receptionist. Of course, that depends on making sure that you get the right person for the job. 

Real estate agents can gain a lot from hiring a receptionist, including having more time to dedicate to clients, showings, and other things while someone else is handling the front lines and manning the phones. In the highly competitive world of real estate, there’s nothing more important than being timely and professional in your communications—which is hard to do when you’re running short on time. 

Imagine if you’re going to be at an open house all day, but you know you’re also going to be getting calls, waiting for return calls or messages, and so forth. You can’t be constantly interrupting your open house to take calls or return text messages. Having a receptionist on hand can ensure that those tasks all get done and you don’t have to sacrifice yourself or your time with your other clients to do so. 

Your clients, prospects, and colleagues should be able to get answers and information when they need it, not whenever you finally have time to get back to them. Studies report that currently, about 58% of all realtors spend most of their working hours in the office either catching up on paperwork or meeting clients. Only 28% reported they spend more time handling other things or are onsite at properties. 

Did you get into real estate to sit behind a desk? Probably not. Let’s talk about getting the right person (or people) at your front desk, either virtually or physically, or both, so that you can get back to doing what you love: helping people buy and sell properties. 


So, what’s it going to cost to hire a receptionist?


You’re in the business of making money, quite literally—helping people buy and sell homes is how you make your income and the better deals you garner for them, the more you can earn. Unfortunately, you’ll also have to remember to reinvest some of that money in your real estate business by doing things like hiring a receptionist. 

The average in-house receptionist earns between $10 and $14 per hour, but don’t forget that you’ll also have to factor in benefits, training and onboarding costs, and other expenses. Right now, the average business spends about $4K on hiring and training a single new employee. For some, that’s a worthwhile investment. For others, it may just be too much. 

This is a chance for the latter to see where outsourcing can be the better option. You can get full-time (or part-time) assistance for all of your administrative and receptionist-related duties for much less than you’d spend to hire someone. Plus, you’ll probably get more services for your money, and you’ll have access to dynamic solutions like third-party virtual receptionist services to provide a full-featured package for your business. 

By getting on board now, you’ll be able to get started with this investment. And remember, that starts with considering it an investment, not an expense. This will help improve your business, free up your time, and so much more. You’ll just need to crunch the numbers and see what works best for your real estate business. 


More importantly, the value of a receptionist for real estate includes… 


Of course, since this is an investment, what you’re getting matters more than just what it’s going to cost. In the world of real estate, there are several different communications and administrative tasks that you could ask a receptionist to take on, including everything from the basics (phone calls, etc.) to things like social media, live website chat, and more. 

Imagine once again you’re at that open house—or any showing, really, and you find out that you’ve missed three calls about a big deal you’ve been waiting on. You can’t just leave this showing to go handle that. What are you to do? When you have a receptionist on hand, they can keep you informed of goings-on while you’re busy and make sure that you’re notified in the event of something that demands your attention. 

Receptionists can help with all kinds of administrative and communication tasks:

  • Answering, routing, and directing phone calls
  • Taking messages
  • Receiving and responding to emails, social media messages, text messages, and more
  • Updating listings, adding photos, or otherwise helping with your properties
  • Greeting clients, providing follow-up calls or information, etc.
  • Taking calls or messages after-hours or specifically while you’re busy so that you don’t miss important communications
  • Creating correspondence like newsletters, memos, emails, and other content, as needed
  • Keeping the physical and virtual office space organized, including equipment, client files, etc.
  • Sending contracts, offers, and other documents 

These are just a few of the ways you could put a receptionist to work for your real estate business. Imagine how much more time you’d have, and how much less stress, if someone else was helping with all the details. 

The next decision to make is whether you want that person in-house or if you want to outsource to a virtual or remote receptionist. 


Hiring someone versus outsourcing


When it comes to sourcing your receptionist, you have a couple of options to consider. You’ll be able to hire someone to work for your company. If you do, you can choose to have them work onsite or remotely, but either way they will be an employee, not a contractor. If you do choose to contract, or outsource, you have a couple of options there, as well. There’s the independent contractor, and then there is the virtual receptionist service. 

Both have their pros and cons, but in either case, the ultimate decision will be whether to hire or outsource. Here’s what should be on your mind:

  • Do I need someone in-house? Often, if you don’t require a physical presence, you can save a lot of money going remote or outsourcing to a virtual receptionist. 
  • Can I afford to hire someone? Speaking of money, what’s your budget like? Can you afford a salary and all of the other expenses, or would you be better to hire someone on a contract basis?
  • What kind of solutions do I want? If you choose to outsource to a virtual receptionist service, you can often find more dynamic solutions than you can get from an individual receptionist that you hire or contract out. 
  • Do I have time to manage an employee? If you’re already short on time, you might not be interested in or capable of managing an employee, delegating tasks, and doing all that work. That’s where a self-managed virtual receptionist service can come in handy. 

These are just some of the things to consider that will help you decide the best route to choose when sourcing your receptionist. Once you have decided that, you can focus on finding the right fit. 


How to choose the ideal candidate for your real estate business


When it comes to hiring your ideal receptionist, you’ll have to think about what that means to you. Choosing someone with a proper attitude and the right soft skills can go a lot further than you might think. Any hard skills they have as a receptionist or previous experience in real estate will obviously be a perk, but you’ll want to focus more on things like communication and interpersonal skills, attitude, and so forth. 

Make sure that you look for people who have expertise in things like organizing, attention to detail, administrative tasks, and so forth, so that they can keep your business organized for you. Of course, skills like this can be valuable to have in any employee, not just a receptionist. Nonetheless, when you’re hiring a receptionist, make sure that you look for things like:

  • A friendly, professional attitude and personable demeanor
  • Ability to multitask and handle the fast-paced world of real estate
  • Flexible and adaptable to switch gears as needed
  • Able to handle several different types of tasks in a day 
  • Good with details and organizational skills
  • Able to build, maintain, and facilitate relationships with clients, prospective buyers and sellers, other agents, etc. 
  • Confident and able to take charge if required
  • Skilled in problem solving and conflict resolution

In the real estate industry, having people who are adaptable, good with details, and quick to learn new things is going to do a lot more for you than choosing someone based on their hard skills alone. You need someone that can thrive with you in your growing business. 


Hiring FAQs

To summarize and wrap things up, let’s look at a few of the most common questions and answers about hiring a receptionist in real estate. Some of the information is stuff we’ve already covered while other answers provide new insight that you can use in your decision. 


Does my receptionist really need real estate or real estate experience?

Experience is always useful, but it’s certainly not required. People who have a background in real estate will require less training after they’re hired, but soft skills like communication, flexibility, and quick learning abilities are far more valuable in a receptionist. Take the time to look at your options and you’ll figure out which experience you prefer. 


When should I hire a receptionist?

If you think it’s time to get help, it’s probably time to get help.  If you find yourself missing calls and messages, losing out on deals because you didn’t get an email in time, etc.—it’s time to get a receptionist or assistant to help you with your real estate business. There is definitely something to be said for this, no matter the size of your business. That’s why outsourcing is a great option for the modern real estate agent—it allows everyone to get the help they need. 


Can I hire a receptionist on an as-needed basis?

If you are a solo realtor or small agency, you might not have a need to keep a receptionist around 24/7. There are temporary receptionist services available, along with contracted agents that you can use as you need them, and then stop the service until you need it again. You can even delegate specific tasks to your hired or outsourced receptionist. 


What’s a virtual receptionist and what can they offer?

A virtual receptionist is someone that will offer support remotely through the Internet and various software platforms or other tools. They are available independently or as receptionist services that offer a team of agents, and they can give you more services for your money than hiring in-house. In many cases, it’s a better choice for solo agents and small agencies that don’t have the budget to hire an employee. Plus, it might offer a solution for those who need more than they can afford to bring into the business through traditional hiring methods. 


Partner with Smith.ai and take your real estate business to the next level when we handle the rest


We know that you’ve got a lot on your plate when you’re running a real estate business. Whether you’re an independent agent or you work for a real estate agency, you still have a lot to handle with your clients, properties, and day-to-day tasks. While you’re busy taking care of your business, let Smith.ai lend a hand with the details, thanks to our 24/7 virtual receptionists

Partnering with Smith.ai gives you a team that can handle answering phone calls, fielding live website chats, and even helping with lead intake, scheduling, and anything else that you need. It also gives you the chance to help us create a strategy to manage all of it for you, no matter what you have in mind. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do to help your real estate business thrive. You can also reach us at (650) 727-6484. 


Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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