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    Virtually Yours – Is it time to hire a PREVA?

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could have an assistant whenever you need one? Well, now you can! The dramatic rise in the use of the Internet since the 1990s has paved the way for the rise in the use of ‘personal real estate virtual assistants’ or ‘PREVAs’, who are outsourced and usually work off-site.

    The Internet has enabled real estate agents to bypass much of the routine administrative tasks that they have no time to complete by enlisting the services of VA’s who are experienced in providing support to the industry.

    A VA can be selected and hired on a project-by-project basis, by the hour or by task. It is completely up to your own need! Most are competent enough to perform a variety of tasks from general administration, making listing presentations, scheduling appointments and chasing up sales leads.

    Why hire a VA?

    Although the role of the VA is similar to taking on a temp, they are generally considered to be more entrepreneurial as they are self-employed, bill only the hours worked or by tasks completed, and are dependent on referrals and steady work flow.

    Hiring a VA means that you get all the benefits of outsourcing – no equipment and rental costs, no insurance to cover for, no sick pay, vacations or other budget draining items to cover for.

    If you know what you are willing to pay for the services of a VA, then their location is not a problem! You have the option of shopping around for VA’s located in areas where wages are more reasonable to keep the costs down.

    Is it practical?

    Hiring a virtual assistant is becoming a popular practice for real estate professionals who do not have the time to perform routine tasks. For an hourly fee of anywhere between $22 to $40 - less than the cost of temps or employees - agents can take advantage of professional assistance as and when they need it. VA’s are already well versed with computers, and can assist with your specific needs from traditional office support services to other areas such as web design.

    Even if your VA resides on the other side of the state, all of the necessary technology is available these days to communicate with them as if they were in the next room. Work assignments can be delegated via e-mail, phone, fax or web-based tools like instant messenger.

    How can I find a VA?

    The Internet provides a wealth of information about VA’s. By simply entering ‘virtual assistant’ in your favourite search engine, you will find literally hundreds of sites dedicated to providing the services of a VA. These sites often contain searchable databases by industry, location, experience, skills and price so that you are able to find a suitable assistant reasonably quickly.

    When you have found a VA that matches your requirements, it is considered good practice to contact them via email. After all – that is their world!