Virtual Real Estate Office: Is It For You?

 October 12, 2018
Virtual Real Estate Office - Is It For You?

REALTORS® conduct so much business out of the office, many are questioning their need for a physical office space. Listing appointments and client meetings can be, and often are, held at an off-site location, like a coffee shop or a client’s home. If working remotely would work for your business/team, then eliminating the cost associated with maintaining an actual official office environment may be worth considering.

Before opting to go virtual, you will want to consider the following:

Determine your business address: Your business will still need an official physical address to be recognized by the government. Many agents with virtual offices use their home address. Before making this decision, it is wise to check into whether or not running a business from your home is allowed in your particular neighborhood.

Once the address has been finalized, make sure to notify all current and past clients — and anyone else you work with regularly — of the address change. Don’t forget to update the address on your website and everywhere else. 

Get in the cloud: Incorporate some cloud-based tools into your day-to-day operations if you haven’t already. Before you officially give up the physical office location, it is imperative that every team member knows the plan for file saving and sharing moving forward, and understands how to use the program(s). You can also use these online tools to share documents back and forth with clients, which will reduce your overall data usage since you won’t be sending as many email attachments. Some great options for teams that are mobile include:

  • Google Drive 
  • Evernote or Dropbox 
  • LoopNet 
  • Asana 

Come up with a plan for interoffice communication: Not seeing team members every day can cause lapses in communication, which can impact team cohesiveness and potentially lead to unwanted errors. Set a game plan. Whether it’s a weekly in-person team meeting, a mandatory phone call check-in each day, or regular chat on a group messaging tool, make sure your whole team is in on it. 

Select meeting spaces: Establish a “home base” for meeting clients, whether it is in your own home or at a popular neighborhood locale. Also identify a few alternative “go-to” meeting locations that can add some variety when meeting with the same clients. This will also give you some flexibility to tailor the location to each client’s unique personality. 

Make security a priority: Make sure to use only secure Wi-Fi networks — not public ones — when conducting business around town. It is also a good business practice to always have more than one method for securely connecting to the internet, just in case something unexpected happens. Also, be mindful when meeting in public spaces when talking about anything confidential. In some cases, it may be best to text or email sensitive information. 

Have battery back-up: Being increasingly mobile, all of your devices and other tools need to be charged when you need them to maintain professionalism. Having several backup battery packs is also a good idea. You don’t want to have to cancel a client meeting because your laptop died. 

Consider going paperless: This way you don’t need to worry about a mobile printer.

Be your own storefront: You no longer have a brick and mortar presence, but you still want to be able to grab the attention of those “walking by.” Consider adding some stickers with your business name and logo to your devices and purchasing logoed clothing with or device covers with your logo. This way you can create buzz and promote your business wherever you are working.

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