As an appraiser, you’re paid for your local market analysis and expertise, not for your data entry skills. It may seem tempting to complete a task yourself because “it only takes a second,” but seemingly small amounts of time add up quickly. An assistant can help increase your efficiency by taking care of the tasks that don’t require your judgment or knowledge. If you’re concerned about the cost of hiring an appraisal assistant, or if you work out of a home office, a virtual assistant is a great option.
Why hire a virtual assistant?
Hiring a virtual (or “remote”) assistant is a highly customizable option—similar to hiring an in-office assistant. The only difference is that a virtual assistant completes tasks remotely and often overnight. You train the virtual assistant personally to suit the needs of your workflow. In addition to form completion and data entry, they can provide an array of helpful services. Email monitoring, research, data collection, and report delivery are just a few of the duties a virtual assistant can complete remotely. Typically, pay is negotiable, and work can be pooled with other appraisers, so this type of assistant is an affordable option well suited for individuals or small businesses.
Other options to consider include hiring a local professional (the most customizable and most expensive choice), engaging an online data-entry company (e.g., Appraisal Chief), or purchasing appraisal software that auto-populates appraisal forms.
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Where to find a virtual assistant
Conveniently, the entire hiring process can be done online. There are many websites for finding and hiring virtual assistants. As an appraiser, you may want to check out the following sources:
Tips for hiring remotely
It can be challenging to know what to look for in a candidate when hiring remotely. Many of the online platforms for virtual assistants offer thousands of resumes and profiles to sort through. Use these tips to help narrow down your choices:
- Does the candidate have relevant job experience? While his or her background doesn’t need to match perfectly, there should be some overlap in the tasks you need to be completed and the candidate’s work history.
- Does he or she communicate clearly in written correspondence? Use the messaging system within the hiring platform to keep your email address private. Look for articulate and clear writing skills.
- Does the candidate communicate clearly during an interview? Use a video messaging platform (e.g., Skype) to get a sense of his or her verbal communication skills.
- Has the candidate followed directions while applying for this position? Not following instructions during the application process is an indication that he or she may not follow instructions well if given the job.
- Overall, does the candidate seem intelligent? This is usually easy to discern after a few interactions.
How much time can an assistant save?
By streamlining your workflow with an assistant, you could reasonably save over 200 hours per year. If you spend 5 hours on each appraisal report, this adds up to an extra 40 reports per year. Let’s say you charge $355 per report; you could increase your annual earnings by more than $14,000 per year. Alternatively, you might choose to spend the extra time with your family or doing things you enjoy.
These benefits apply to virtual assistants as well as in-office appraisal assistants and trainees. For more hiring tips and info, check out our guide: 4 Steps to Finding and Hiring an Appraisal Assistant.