How Real Estate Agents Can Work From Home

Thanks to the popularity of virtual property touring tools, real estate work from home is a straightforward endeavor for agents. For other professionals in this industry – such as brokers, transaction coordinators and team leads – the process isn’t as simple. Their duties often require them to work from the office or out in the field. 

As technology has progressed, though, more tools have become available to these real estate professionals. And once people started practicing social distancing, these resources became more important than ever. By utilizing the following tips, strategies and tools, real estate work from home doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. 

1. Make Your Own Real Estate Office

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when building a remote real estate business is working at home. This sounds counterintuitive since your goal is to work from home, but you need to take yourself outside of the typical comfort zone you enjoy when taking a day off. This means real estate work from home should be done in a dedicated workspace. 

If you have a home office, you’re ahead of the game. If you don’t, simply having your own desk and chair or even a devoted section of the kitchen table can do wonders. Your main goal is to have a place that’s “away from home” in your mind – even if it’s right in the middle of your house. Keep all your purchase agreements, client lists, and everything else in this one place. 

2. Utilize the Right Video Chat Tools

Even when team leads and brokers have minimal interaction with clients, it’s still necessary for them to have “face-to-face” meetings when working from home. They’re in leadership positions that require them to interact directly with agents and other professionals, and one-on-one phone calls or even conference calls just won’t cut it. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of video chat tools available. Not all of these are created equally, but the National Association of Realtors pinpointed the best chat apps for real estate professionals to use: 

  1. FaceTime
  2. Skype
  3. ooVoo 
  4. Google Duo
  5. WhatsApp

There are numerous other video chat tools you could utilize when performing real estate work from home, but within the industry, these five options stand out from their counterparts. Face-to-face meetings don’t have to be “face-to-face,” but they do have to happen when working from home as a real estate professional. 

3. Utilize Real Estate Management Software

One of the most important tools you’ll need when working from home is real estate management software. All the paperwork that you’d usually do from the office or out in the field is suddenly out of reach when you’re stuck at home. Fortunately, nearly every essential process can now be done paperless with the appropriate software. 

Automated checklists, instant commission statements, detailed financial reports, and delegation of responsibilities among team members are just a few of the essential details and documents that can be handled via software. While it’s technically possible to do all your real estate work from home manually, you’ll find that doing so makes your job exponentially more difficult. 

With the right software in place, it makes time management for realtors a much easier process and allows for a more productive real estate operation.

4. Know When to Contact Clients

Team leads and brokers have to occasionally interact with clients, but this is something transaction coordinators do on a daily basis. Since you’re no longer scheduling appointments to meet with clients, it’s important to recognize the best time to call them. Not everyone is working from home, and even those who are won’t always be available. 

A recent study found that calling real estate clients in the late afternoon – typically between 4 and 5 pm – is the best way to get in contact with them. Response rates go even higher when these calls are made on Wednesday and Thursday. You should also keep in mind that contact rates are higher when you respond to contacts in a timely manner. 

Potential buyers and sellers won’t have the ability to just “walk-in” when you’re doing real estate work from home. That’s why you need to make sure that every contact attempt is based on best practices within the industry. 

5. Have Essential Real Estate Tools On-Hand

Real estate professionals who work from home need to have the tools of the trade immediately available. Having to get up and search your home for something that should already be in your office – even if it’s just a corner of the kitchen table – slows down your workflow and takes you out of “the zone” that your head needs to be in. 

By having your essential items available and handy from the start, you can reduce the likelihood of distractions and interruptions. Consider the following tools: 

  • Desk accessories (e.g. clips, pens, staples, etc.). 
  • Bright desk lamp. 
  • Charging station. 
  • File organizer. 
  • Wall or desk calendar. 
  • Wastebasket. 
  • Wireless speaker. 
  • Rolling file cabinet.

If you’re performing real estate work from home, can you think of a single day when one of these items wouldn’t be necessary? Each of these tools ensures your work can continue unimpeded. Forbes says there are many other tools that help with home offices, but the aforementioned are the essential elements in the real estate industry. 

6. Attend Virtual Real Estate Conferences

One of the biggest disadvantages of doing real estate work from home is the inability to attend networking events. Conferences and similar events provide industry professionals with an opportunity to meet their colleagues, stay current with trends, gather new ideas, and make new relationships with vendors. Unfortunately, this typically means hopping on a plane and traveling out of state. 

Working from home didn’t historically preclude you from attending these events, but everything became more difficult thanks to COVID-19. Many people suddenly couldn’t safely travel at all. Fortunately, some of these conferences and trade shows have moved into the virtual space. By attending these events, you’ll ensure you stay at the top of your game while doing real estate work from home. 

7. Real Estate Blog Subscription

Even if you can attend the periodic virtual real estate conference, you’re still missing out on information that comes from interacting with other professionals. Are slumping housing prices in an adjacent state likely to affect your area? Has a new transaction management feature emerged that your software should have? Regardless of the news, you must stay up to date. 

This is where subscribing to a real estate blog can come in handy. While you should certainly have Google Alerts set up for the latest in industry news, following a few blogs can provide you with insight and context into the biggest news of the day. Doing real estate work from home is a challenge, but when you’re staying up to date, your job becomes easier. 

8. Buy a Drone

While purchasing a drone might appeal to the childlike quality in all of us, it’s also a smart move for real estate professionals who choose to work from home. There’s little doubt that working inside your home – regardless of the reason – is less effective than actually being in the office or field. By utilizing a drone for aerial photography at properties, though, you can balance this out. 

Statistics show that home listings with aerial photography have a 68 percent higher chance of selling. There are drones on the market with a range of 8 miles, so it’s possible for you to get a bird’s-eye view of many local properties without leaving your home. And if you’re staying at home due to social distancing, driving to an empty property should present minimal risk. 

While utilizing a drone for real estate work from home isn’t mandatory or even essential, it can give you an advantage over competitors facing the same difficulties. 

9. Video Editing Software

If you’re not already using video in your real estate practice, working from home is the perfect opportunity to catch up. Of homeowners looking to sell their property, 73 percent say they’d prefer to list with an agent that includes videos in their property listing pages. Additionally, studies have found that listings with videos receive over 400 percent more inquiries than those without. 

Video also becomes important since you and many of your agents or colleagues will not be face-to-face with clients. People want a personal touch, and video might be your only way to give it to them. You can even use it to recruit real estate agents right from the comfort of your home! Before sending out or posting videos, though, make sure you run them through editing software.

People enjoy the appeal of video interaction, but without appropriate editing, you may lose a sense of professionalism.

Real Estate Work from Home is Possible!

The importance of having the option of working from home has never been more clear. Unforeseen events can change entire industries in an instant, and it’s up to professionals within those fields to improvise and adapt. Fortunately, performing real estate work from home is well within the realm of possibility. With the right tools, you can thrive in your position.