Virtual offices create business for real estate sellers, brokerages, and Airbnb investors
We analyzed millions of data points and hundreds of studies to discover how virtual offices benefit real estate investors. Specifically, we sought to investigate how solo investors, small brokerages, and Airbnb investors utilize virtual office services to increase revenue and expand business.
We conducted this study to examine how 24/7 live receptionists, professional business addresses and phone numbers, and access to shared office spaces provide value to those in the real estate market.
References and methods for this study can be found in the Methods and Procedures PDF.
Our key findings are as follows:
- Expanding a brick-and-mortar brokerage can cost over half a million dollars – Virtual office expansion is more cost-effective
- As a buyer, having a business address and live receptionist can help increase your legitimacy to sellers and protect your privacy
- Using a live receptionist in lieu of voicemail avoids lost business and maintains a professional image
- 81% of Airbnb’s revenue came from whole-unit rentals where the owner is not present – whole-unit rental revenue has increased by an average of 76% each year
- Coworking spaces save money – Most include utilities, internet, and cleaning in the lease rate
- 97% of consumers check a company’s online presence before deciding to use their services
- Real estate expert says providing brick-and-mortar office as well as virtual services is the best of both worlds
Expanding a brick-and-mortar brokerage costs over half a million dollars
While at first glance, starting an online brokerage can seem exponentially expensive. Hiring software developers to create a system specific to your needs and your team can cost millions. But major savings can be made if you take advantage of existing software like Teams, Zoom or Slack for communication and training purposes. Tens of thousands of dollars in startup costs can be saved just by not having a lease.
Online brokerages attract more tech-savvy agents, have lower start-up costs, offer splits and fees to agents, and are less expensive to expand. Expanding a brick-and-mortar brokerage can cost over $600,000 with no guarantee of success – expanding an online brokerage can be close to free; so, much less risk is involved (Moudry, 2021).
Virtual Offices increase legitimacy for solo investors
It goes without saying but buyers are wary of getting scammed. Phrases like “Cash offer guaranteed” and “We buy ugly houses” have become almost synonymous with, “You won’t get the price you want,” or even, “This is a scam.”
As a buyer, knowing an agent or investor has a business address, and live receptionist helps to increase your legitimacy to buyers and sellers, especially those needing a quick sale (Lindhal, 2021).
80-90% of real estate investors and agents work through mobile devices, at home, or a combination of the two. Having a business office address, phone number, and 24/7 receptionist helps to increase your legitimacy to buyers and sellers alike (Moudry, 2021).
It also helps protect your anonymity and sanity. Real estate personnel of all kinds know that being on-call 24/7 is one of the hardest aspects of the job. Giving out your personal phone number is a given, but can’t there be a work-life balance? Having a 24/7 receptionist can help you set boundaries while still giving your clients the best service imaginable. Keeping your private residence confidential can keep you and your family safe.
Live receptionists increase trust and avoid lost business
Voicemail is becoming a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean you have to answer calls at all hours. Using a live receptionist in lieu of voicemail can also help to avoid lost business and maintain a professional image (Servcorp, 2021).
80% of callers sent to voicemail simply hang up due to fear that they won’t be heard. This is understandable, as 30% of voicemails go unanswered for at least three days (Colvin, 2009).
This isn’t to say your business will increase by 80%, but it will help increase trust in your clients and reassure them you are a reputable business. Clients are more likely to respond positively to a live, human voice rather than an automated service or voicemail.
Whole unit rental price increased 75% each year
Investing in Airbnb properties is big business at the moment. Buying up single-family homes with the express purpose of making them Airbnb’s can be a sound investment opportunity. The best part is, you don’t even have to be there to make money! 81% of the 2017 income of Airbnb hosts came from rentals of entire units where the owner was absent during the entire guest stay.
Even if you only have one property to rent, income from whole-unit rentals has increased by around 75% every year. The income increases as your number of properties grows – Commercial hosts and multi- property users are one of the fastest growing operators on Airbnb. In fact, hosts with at least ten available rentals make up a quarter of all growth for multi-host Airbnb users (iPM, 2022).
Co-working spaces save money
If you’re a solitary investor or have a small brokerage, coworking spaces can save you money. Most co-working spaces have everyday expenses like utilities, internet, and cleaning services included in the lease (Moudry, 2021). In addition to saving you money, it also saves time by eliminating the effort involved in hiring cleaning staff and paying bills.
97% of consumers search for a company online
97% of consumers check a company’s online presence before deciding to use its services (Hostaway, 2022). Put your best face forward and increase trust in potential buyers and renters by having a professional-looking web presence. Having a local business address and professional answering service will help you stand out from the field and attract more clients.
Having a virtual office and physical location is the best of both worlds
Sean Moudry, CEO of a real estate market center and REALTOR Magazine 30 under 30 featured broker (REALTOR Magazine, 2002) recently wrote in favor of having both an in-person brokerage AND a virtual office. In the conclusion of his 2021 article for the close he stated, “If I was starting a brokerage today, I would still provide a small brick-and-mortar office while offering virtual services – the best of both worlds,” (Moudry).
We hope this analysis has been informative and interesting.
If you’d like to know how we came to our conclusions or check our sources, please take a look at our Methods and Procedures document.