Real estate agents do not have time to conduct extensive training seminars for their assistant and would prefer to have an assistant who is familiar with the industry and the demands of the job, who is able to hit the ground running and take over a number of aspects of the business with a minimum of get-acquainted time.
In any real estate office, there will be a number of expectations about the real estate assistant's performance and presence on the job. The following are typical characteristics agents expect of first-rate assistants :
Discretion - The assistant is going to be exposed to clients' personal and financial information: can he or she be counted on the ensure that private documents and confidential communications remain private and confidential?
Organization - The assistant is being hired to help keep paperwork and details from becoming confused or overwhelming the agent's ability to practice real estate: can he or she establish a schedule and stick to it?
Observation - The agent will not want to have to repeat instructions: can the assistant pay attention and remember details? Can the assistant learn quickly to anticipate what the agent will need and want?
Appearance - In a highly public profession, appearance matters: can the assistant be trusted to dress and speak professionally, to be a positive representative of the agent and the company both in and out of the office?
Courtesy - The assistant is often a potential client or customer's first point of contact with the agent: can the assistant be counted on the use a professional and courteous tone in telephone conversations, to take accurate message and ensure they're delivered, and to help visitors develop a positive attitude about the agent and the office? Every voice mail message, every letter, is an extension of the agent and is taking by the community as evidence of his or her professionalism.
Honesty - Clients and customers will not necessarily distinguish between the assistant and the agent when it comes to having their questions answered: will the assistant be tempted to lie or guess if he or she doesn't know the answer to a question? "I don't know, but let me find out for you" never got anyone sued.
Attention to Detail - The assistant will be dealing with important legal documents and other papers that require truth and accuracy: can the assistant be trusted to check and double-check all documents for typographical errors and mistakes?
Personality - The real estate business is fast-paced and busy, with sometimes stressful conditions and last-minute demands on an assistant's time: is the assistant motivated, enthusiastic and able to handle stress? Does he or she have a positive attitude and willingness to work hard? A sense of humor is important, but can the assistant be counted on to be serious, too?
Independence - The agent is hiring an assistant so he or she can do other work; is the assistant a self-started, able to take charge and handle situations as they arise, without always running back to the agent for advice? ON the other hand, can the assistant be trusted to ask for advice when he or she really needs it? Does the assistant demonstrate initiative? Does he or she come up with ideas to make the office more efficient or economical? Can he or she still be a team player?
Training - The agent will be expecting a base of expertise and skill: is the assistant computer-literate? Can he or she use a word processor, spreadsheet and desktop publishing program efficiently and accurately? Is he or she familiar with the most current office technology, as well as the standard equipment? Are his or her mathematical abilities and language skills, both written and oral, at an appropriate professional level? Does the assistant have a basic understanding of the real estate industry, its law and practice?
Dedication - Does the assistant demonstrate professionalism and a dedication to his or her career? Does he or she keep informed about current developments and opportunities that will help the agent as well as the assistant? Is the assistant's loyalty obvious?
These factors are very important. An agent who doesn't have an assistant is not just full-time agent; he or she is a full-time agent and a full-time assistant and there are only 24 hours in a day - even a real estate agent's day. As anyone who has ever held down more than one job at a time knows, it is a highly stressful situation that can have a dismal effect on your mood, your family life and your ability to meet your other goals. Identifying and hiring the right person will make all the difference.