If you’re a real estate agent – or you’re planning to become one in the near future – it’s important to consider how you might fit into the current working environment.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, more and more organizations have started to follow hybrid or remote working models, meaning their employees will be working from home for at least some of the time.
There are industries in which this is not achievable, but in real estate, many remote tools are already in place to support a smooth transition to working from home.
If you’re one of the many real estate agents planning to start working remotely – whether full time or on a hybrid basis – this article by a team of professional property buying company from the UK will provide a number of tips on how to do this as successfully as possible.
Organize a Dedicated Space
You’ll need the right kind of office space if you’re going to be working from home for the foreseeable future. The kitchen table is definitely not the right environment for long-term functionality.
Ideally, you’ll need to set up in a separate area of the property from the rest of your family to keep yourself away from noise and distractions.
If possible, select somewhere with good lighting to avoid eye strain, and with enough shelving or storage space to keep all of your physical documents close at hand.
Try to make sure you’re not displacing anyone else who needs office space. You might consider sharing a room with another member of your household who needs an area in which to work, as long as you’re able to avoid distracting one another or breaching any security measures.
Pick Up the Right Equipment
Be selective when investing in chairs, desks and other office furniture. You need something sturdy, functional and comfortable to avoid storage challenges as well as back issues and other physical problems.
Make sure your desk is of the right height – and you could consider models with built-in storage if your office is relatively small. You might want to pick up a lumbar support back rest to maintain a good sitting position too.
It’s likely that you’ll need appliances such as printers and scanners in order to create hard copies of contracts or inventories – and, of course, the computer you use will make all the difference to the level of functionality you’ll be able to achieve.
Last but certainly not least, be sure you have a great internet connection so that you’ll always be able to communicate with clients or access information when required.
Invest in Effective Systems and Software
You’ll need a decentralised or Cloud-based operating system to make sure you always have access to the information you require.
You should also consider investing in:
- Tools to help you convert scanned files into PDFs or other usable electronic documents
- A secure means of allowing your clients to sign documents electronically
- An effective method of video conferencing
- Trusted means of sending hard-copy documents electronically, such as a fax machine
- Workflow and secure client database software
It’s important to note that if you don’t plan to retain any kind of public premises, you’ll be less accessible “in-person”. To remedy this, you’ll need the best web presence it is possible to achieve.
Take Security Seriously
One potential risk that is inherent in working from home as an estate agent relates to security.
After all, working from a domestic location can make it harder to ensure that all documents remain in the right place – and it may be difficult to avoid people looking over your shoulder at the work you’re doing.
It’s also tougher for managers to ensure that every employee has a totally secure connection and cannot fall victim to password or identity theft, phishing scams and other breaches.
Be sure to invest in cutting edge internet security software to keep data – both your own and your clients’ – safe, and take steps to protect any sensitive documents you have in your home, perhaps by installing a safe or lockable filing cabinet.
Retain the Capacity to Meet Clients and Manage Viewings
There’s one aspect of real estate that has not yet migrated to remote operation: property checks and viewings. To this end, it is important that you are able to get to the location of any relevant property whenever required – so flexibility is key.
By following the guidance above, working from home as a real estate agent can be made wonderfully easy.
If you’re able to stay organized, invest in the right resources and security measures and maintain a good level of flexibility, you’ll quickly be able to reap numerous benefits, including lower overheads, greater autonomy over your practice and an improved work-life balance.