Licensed vs. Unlicensed Real Estate Assistants


Every real estate professional aims to be the best and a key make or break factor is having the right real estate assistants. Assistants can do a myriad of tasks for real estate professionals such as answering the telephone, taking messages, submitting listings and changes to an MLS, following up on a transaction after a contract has been signed and so much more. Many Real Estate professionals have difficulty choosing the right assistant, unsure of whether they need a licensed vs. unlicensed real estate assistant.

First, let’s check some of the more common tasks an UNLICENSED real estate assistant can do. *Each state does have its own guidelines about what a licensed vs. unlicensed real estate assistant can do. For the sake of examples, let’s look at the tasks an unlicensed Real Estate Assistant can do in Illinois.

  • Answer the telephone, take messages, and forward calls to a licensee
  • Submit listings and changes to an MLS
  • Follow up on a transaction after a contract has been signed
  • Assemble documents for a closing
  • Secure public information documents from a courthouse, sewer district, water district, or another repository of public information
  • Draft advertising and promotional materials for approval by a licensee
  • Place advertising
  • Record earnest money, security deposits, and rents
  • Complete contract forms with business and factual information at the direction of and with approval by a licensee
  • Monitor licenses and personnel files
  • Compute commission checks and perform bookkeeping activities
  • Order items of routine repair as directed by a licensee
  • Prepare flyers and promotional information under the direction of and with approval by a licensee
  • Place routine telephone calls on late rent payments
  • Schedule appointments for the licensee
  • Respond to questions by quoting from published information
  • Gather feedback on showings
  • Provide security
  • Provide concierge services and other similar amenities to existing tenants
  • Manage or supervise maintenance, engineering, operations, building trades, and security
  • Perform other administrative, clerical, and personal activities for which a license is not required In Illinois

An unlicensed real estate assistant may NOT perform the following tasks:

  • Host open houses, kiosks, home show booths, or fairs
  • Show property
  • Interpret information on listings, titles, financing contracts, closings, or other information related to a real estate transaction
  • Explain or interpret a contract, listing, lease agreement, or other real estate documents with anyone outside the employing licensee’s firm
  • Negotiate or agree to any commission, commission split, management fee, or referral fee on behalf of a licensee
  • Perform any other activity for which a real estate license is required

Looking at the two lists above, there are many tasks that an unlicensed real estate assistant can do. It can be deduced that having a real estate assistant with a license isn’t as important as others might think. Actually, when you look at the real estate market today, you’ll find thousands of successful yet unlicensed real estate investors. When picking an assistant, it is important to find someone that is right for you, can give you the help you need and be the right person to assist you; having a license shouldn’t be your only reason for picking the assistant.

Your unlicenced real estate assistants can help you fit more work into a day. Some people work four days a week and earn more than people working seven days straight with no time to convert their existing leads into sales or find new leads altogether. Some people are so busy answering calls, dealing with spreadsheets, updating their websites or making Facebook ads that they aren’t managing their business properly anymore. Those that manage their work properly almost always have a real estate assistant. You may be hesitant in getting an unlicensed real estate assistant but there are many tasks they can do for you regardless of where you’re located.  If you have a specific question about your area you can check your state and what tasks are allowed by an unlicensed real estate assistant here.

Having an assistant sounds wonderful, right? Before taking the plunge and hiring the wrong assistant, you should determine the role your real estate assistant will have in your company and what qualifications they must possess. Before creating a job post for your real estate assistant, ask yourself three important questions:

1. What do you need help with?

Make a list of the tasks you need your assistant to do and check with your state regulations and if you will need a licensed or if an unlicensed real estate assistant can do the tasks. Do you need someone to do cold calls? Do you need help updating your social media? Do you need scheduling assistance? These are so many tasks that an unlicensed real estate assistant can do for you.

2. What kind of assistant do you need?

The advantage a licensed assistant has over an unlicensed real estate assistant is being able to interpret contracts and perform negotiations but these are the things you the licensed agent should be focused on. Let your unlicensed real estate assistant help with the small stuff. You keep focussing on the big picture. Not to mention the cost savings for an unlicensed real estate assistant will be lower but the quality of work is the same.

3. Can you afford an assistant?

This is one important aspect you need to determine before hiring your unlicensed real estate assistant. Check out what the real estate assistants are making in your state and cross check with your budget if you can afford them. Here’s a tip: You can opt to hire a virtual real estate assistant, this will save you on office space, taxes, insurance, etc.  Another tip: Time yourself with the tasks you will be delegating to your assistant, this will give you a rough estimate of how much help you will need from an assistant and how much it will cost since most virtual real estate assistants charge by the hour.

It may sound like a lot of work just to hire a real estate assistant, but once you find the right real estate assistant whether licensed or unlicensed you will finally have time for the more important parts of your work. You will also find yourself having more free time and being able to maximize your hours for what you really need to do. Imagine those daily tasks you do that keeps you from expanding your business or spending time with your family. If you need help hiring an unlicensed real estate assistant, Business and Real Estate Solutions and Service (BRESS) can help! Let our team of virtual real estate assistants save you time, contact us today!