Several decades ago, the real estate industry as a whole did things differently. But when the internet became common in American households, a major shift occurred. Instead of prospective buyers and sellers having to seek out agents for real estate information, they had access to nearly all of it from the comfort of their homes. For many practitioners, it was an unwelcome and unsettling change.
For others, however, the internet has made it easier and more enjoyable to work in real estate. Chris Arnold, broker-owner of Arnold Elite in Dallas, leveraged online services and virtual hires to build the business and the life that he’s always wanted. Without the internet and the ability to work remotely, his business and life simply wouldn’t be the same. After all, Arnold doesn’t live in Dallas—or even in the United States. He runs his real estate team remotely from his home in Tulum, Mexico.
Together with his partners, Arnold, who also owns a wholesale company, manages his businesses with a level of freedom that few brokers are able to enjoy. From the ground up, they were built in a nontraditional manner to support Arnold’s methods of remote management.
While running a real estate team remotely is still a relatively new phenomenon, Arnold’s success is proof that it can work. Last year, his brokerage completed a total of 211 transactions for more than $2 million in gross commission income (GCI). On the wholesale side, 109 transactions produced more than $1 million dollars in GCI.
Reasons to Go Remote
One of the major benefits of running a real estate business remotely is freedom. Not being bound to an office with scheduled hours makes it far easier to pursue passions outside of real estate. If you, like Arnold, want to explore more of what the world has to offer, the ability to manage your business remotely makes it possible to do so.
Also, thanks to the relatively low costs associated with running real estate teams remotely, a virtual team often has greater profit potential than a bricks-and-mortar real estate business with rent and salaried employees to pay. Opting to forego the office and full-time staff can save you thousands of dollars every month, and it’s one of the simplest ways to ensure that your business’ bottom line stays strong.The Key to Succeed in Remote Management
If you have any interest in running your real estate business remotely, remember this: Coordination is key. Without the ability to monitor and direct the actions of team members efficiently, the remote business model doesn’t work. Fortunately, there are many excellent tools and services out there designed to help entrepreneurs in any industry coordinate with employees effectively online.
Arnold used Podio, a project-management service, to build a trackable system that his virtual agents and employees can use to collaborate, regardless of where they happen to be in the world. It’s highly customizable and scalable, so it can be utilized by a team of 500 just as easily as it can be used by a team of five.
Arnold also recommends Todoist, a cloud-based service for task management. Much like a to-do list, it’s easy to use and perfect for quickly tracking progress on individual tasks and projects.
Solo Agents, Small Teams Can Still Benefit
Even if you aren’t prepared to scale your business up in a way that would support several virtual agents and staff, there are ways to leverage Arnold’s strategies to grant yourself some additional freedom.
First, consider hiring a single virtual assistant to take on tasks that don’t require real estate expertise or your personal attention. By placing some of your business-related responsibilities on someone else’s capable shoulders, you’ll have time to pursue other interests (or additional deals) without sacrificing your service quality.
Partnering with one or more local agents or brokers is another way to expand your business without limiting your time or spreading your resources too thin. By negotiating fair commission splits with local real estate pros, you can expand your business’ ability to take on new clients without increasing your immediate or ongoing operating expenses. With a good project-management service and reliable local partners, you can profit from real estate deals in your market regardless of whether you’re there to see them through personally.