When you were just starting out as a real estate agent, you likely were scrambling to find as many leads as you could. Cold calling, canvassing neighborhoods and other similar efforts may have consumed the bulk of your time.
Because of your hard work, you may now feel as though you are walking on a tightrope trying to balance generating leads, serving clients and completing other essential tasks.
The next step in the evolution of your career is to build an incredible support team to assist you. The typical real estate team consists of specialized professionals who each excel in one important area of a transaction. One of the roles that you will need to fill now or soon is a showing assistant.
What Is a Showing Assistant?
A showing assistant – also known as a showing agent – is a dedicated professional whose primary responsibility is to show homes to your clients. They will gather information on a client’s needs and budget, identify homes that meet that criteria, and secure appointments to show these homes.
From that point, the client progresses through your team pipeline. Depending on the size of your team, the lead agent may submit the offer and handle the rest of the process. If you have a larger team, however, this is work that your transaction coordinator may handle for you.
Why are Showing Agents so Valuable?
As a savvy real estate agent, you understand the value of lead generation, such as by sending out postcards to their farm, hosting open houses regularly and more. Some potential homebuyers who contact you may be on the fence about moving forward with their plans, and they may simply be curious about the size and style of home that they can afford.
Others may be actively searching and could be ready to make an offer immediately after finding something suitable. In both cases, you could realistically spend many long hours over the course of days, weeks or longer, trying to help these individuals find their perfect home. While this is a crucial part of the overall process, it may be keeping you away from other important tasks that require your attention.
You can see that a showing assistant’s activities are crucial to a successful team’s overall productivity. While marketing drives leads, a showing assistant’s efforts convert those leads into active contracts. Hiring a showing assistant may be in your future, but there are a few important things that you should know before you prepare a job listing and start your search for the right professional.
What Does a Showing Agent Do?
Once potential clients show an interest in touring homes, the showing assistant takes the lead. The assistant remains in direct communication with a buyer client until a home is selected and an offer is submitted.
Generally, the showing assistant is the professional who answers the client’s emails, calls and texts at this stage in the process. This professional also supports the team concept by keeping the lead real estate agent in the loop.
Learn About the Client’s Needs
Before a showing assistant begins driving a client from house to house for showings, he or she will take time to determine what the client’s needs are. Real estate agents learn more about a client’s needs at each showing.
Because of this, the showing assistant is directly responsible for refining a client’s needs and wants as each home is shown. From the showing assistant’s first contact with a buyer client, he or she will work to educate the client about all aspects of the purchase process.
Assist with the Client’s Search for a New Home
Based on the client’s needs and expectations, the showing assistant will identify listings that may be suitable for the client. Behind-the-scenes work is done to schedule showings.
Often, a showing assistant will arrange several showings in one day and will block off a chunk of time to tour the homes with the client. During this stage in the process, the showing assistant will answer a client’s questions about the community and about individual homes that the client may be interested in.
Market research, pricing and other information may be provided as well. The goal is to help the client make a confident selection. After a selection is made, this professional may need to negotiate the terms of the sales contract as well.
Support Clients After a Contract Is Signed
The showing agent will assist with all aspects of showing a home until a contract is signed, but his or her work continues after that process. They will also support the client by providing property access for various third parties.
For example, the showing assistant is responsible for attending the property inspection and appraisal. If the client needs access to the property, the showing assistant takes the lead in this area as well. However, the transaction coordinator or the primary real estate agent generally works closely with the client for all other matters after the contract is signed.
When to Hire a Showing Assistant
How do you know when you need to add this support professional to your team? As a rule of thumb, a showing assistant is needed when the lead agent feels overwhelmed by responsibilities.
In many cases, the primary real estate agent may be forgoing some lead generation activities in order to properly serve established clients. However, this begs an important question. Should you hire a showing assistant or a transaction coordinator first?
The Case for Hiring a Showing Assistant First
The primary real estate agent is responsible for the entire process from lead generation through closing and beyond. By hiring a showing assistant before adding a transaction coordinator to the team, the primary agent may continue to be responsible for lead generation as well as for managing and serving clients after a property is under contract.
The reality is that both team members will save the primary agent time and will allow him or her the opportunity to focus on other important tasks. Generally, a showing assistant may be hired first if the primary agent believes that he or she is more effective with other aspects of the process.
When It Makes Sense to Hire a Transaction Coordinator First
Some lead real estate agents will hire a transaction coordinator first. Often, real estate agents prefer to remain hands-on with clients initially so that they can provide the highest level of service and develop strong relationships with clients.
Showings can take a considerable amount of time, and this may leave a real estate agent with minimal time available to follow through after a contract is signed. When you consider whether you should hire a showing assistant or a transaction coordinator first, be aware that there is no right or wrong answer.
Instead, you should consider how your pipeline flows and what your strengths are. Many real estate agents see their volume increase dramatically after expanding their team, so you may hire your next support professional soon after you hire the first one.
What to Look for in a Showing Assistant
Your clients may spend a considerable amount of time interacting with a showing assistant. His or her knowledge and skills will impact the team’s overall image and reputation. At the same time, the showing agent’s efforts play a direct role in customer satisfaction and even in each client’s transaction.
Clearly, hiring the right professional for the job is critical for the success of the team. As you prepare your job description, it is important to highlight both the hard and soft skills that you expect the candidate to have.
A showing assistant is a licensed real estate agent. Often, this professional is relatively new to the real estate business and may not have extensive experience. With this in mind, you may not be able to look at a track record to determine their technical aptitude.
If your team uses a CRM, the candidate will ideally have some experience using that technology. Your business may be set up using various other lead generation and marketing technologies. Experience with these is important as well. Otherwise, the individual should have the ability to quickly gain proficiency with these technologies.
All of your team members should have an array of essential soft skills. People skills are crucial for real estate agents regardless of the role they play in your team. These skills extend to oral and written communication as well as listening. The right candidate to join your team should be self-motivated.
The last thing that you want is to hire someone who requires constant oversight when the individual should be streamlining operations and promoting team efficiency. Self-confidence and professionalism are equally important.
Because this individual will be representing your team, he or she should have a professional appearance as well. Finally, a showing agent should maintain a positive and upbeat attitude, even during multiple home tours.
Many real estate agents get their feet wet in the field initially working as a showing assistant, so they have upward aspirations. When you interview a real estate agent, it is important to inquire about their future goals.
You may spend a considerable amount of time and energy training this individual, and you may develop your team partially around his or her skills and strengths. With this in mind, the ideal candidate is a professional who wants to grow within your team.
How Much Do Showing Assistants Make?
According to the Glassdoor.com, the average real estate showing assistant earns approximately $40,000 annually in base pay, plus an additional average of $16,000 in commission and other compensation. However, there is considerable variation in this. Some teams pay their showing assistants a flat salary or an hourly rate, but many pay them according to productivity.
For example, some showing assistants receive a flat fee for each house they show to a potential client. This may be capped at a certain number of houses per client so that the showing assistant is incentivized to be efficient in serving clients.
Generally, however, this structure alone does not provide compensation for the other essential activities that a showing assistant may do. For example, it offers no compensation for negotiating contracts or assisting with property access after a deal is under contract.
Many teams prefer to pay their real estate showing assistants based on the results they produce. For example, they may pay a fee for each offer submitted and accepted. Others offer a specific commission split for closed transactions.
When you consider how to structure your showing assistant’s compensation, pay attention to the specific activities that you want this professional to do. The agent should be appropriately compensated for the work he or she does, and this professional should be incentivized to produce the best possible results.
How to Train a Showing Assistant
Because this position is often an introductory position in the real estate industry, it may be necessary to provide a considerable amount of hands-on training to the right candidate. The most common approach that primary real estate agents take when training a showing assistant is shadowing.
This enables you to clearly demonstrate the activities that the showing assistant will be responsible for and how you expect them to be done.
You may gradually allow the showing assistant to take a more hands-on role with clients while you continue to oversee him or her. Providing feedback on sales skills, communication and other efforts at this stage of the training process is essential.
The showing assistant should clearly understand how he or she fits into the team dynamic. Once the showing assistant can work independently and is successful in his or her efforts, it may be helpful to allow him or her to shadow you and other members of the team from time to time.
This may provide a big picture view of the operation. It may also help the showing assistant to understand the roles that he or she may grow into through career advancement.
Explore the Possibilities Today
Have you decided that the time has come to start developing or expanding your real estate team? Keep in mind that a larger real estate team may have multiple showing assistants and multiple transaction coordinators.
However, rather than focusing on building a team quickly, turn your attention to hiring the right individual and training him or her properly. Your effort in these areas today will lay the foundation for a strong team in the future.