Owning the Executive Assistant Position

There’s a conundrum that I see happening in real estate teams that needs addressing.

When an agent hires an assistant, it is because they realize they need help. And usually it is for one of three reasons.

  1. There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to get done to meet deadlines.
  2. Their family is suffering and they realize they have to cut back the hours they are working in order to stay married.
  3. They just hate paperwork and not doing it correctly is affecting their closings or their ability to collect a commission.

That’s where you, the assistant, comes in.

Sometimes though, the agent has a hard time letting go. The business is their baby. They love all aspects of the business. They HAVE to have control over everything. They use processing paperwork as an excuse to avoid making lead generation phone calls. It’s easier for them to help put out fires than it is to generate new business. The clients are going to hate them if they pass the clients over to you. These are all excuses and limiting beliefs.

How do you get your agent to let go? How do you get them to turn the file over to you completely? How do you get them to stop talking to the lenders and escrow companies? How do you get them to stop putting up and taking down signs and lockboxes?

If you’ve been an assistant for six months or longer, I want you to hear me on this…YOU have to TAKE it.

Here’s what I want you to do. Write down a list of EVERYTHING that needs to get done. All the lead generation activities, all the marketing, all the listing tasks, all the closing tasks, and anything else you can think of. Then, decide between the two of you who is responsible for which task. You now have a list of everything that gets done on the sales side (your agent) and everything that gets done on the admin side (you).

And then, just like in Ghostbusters…


You each do the things on your respective lists and NOTHING on the other person’s list. Of course, there are exceptions. Like when you take a few days of vacation or the house that needs the sign and lockbox is on the agent’s way home.

When I first started working for my agent, Ron Henderson, I had a couple of vacation days scheduled and he kept saying, “I don’t want you to have to come back to a bunch of paperwork, so I’ll just take of all this while you’re gone.” And I kept saying, “No, you don’t have to do that.” I was trying to be nice, but what I finally had to ‘fess up to was, “Please don’t touch anything. You’re just going to make a mess of it and it will take me twice as long to fix your mistakes as it will to just take care of whatever you leave me for me.” And that was the truth. For those of you under Keller Williams, Ron doesn’t even know how to fill out a Greensheet. And that’s awesome!

Take a look at this video. Lori Ballen posted this video of Seth Campbell talking about the two side of a real estate team.

Specifically, I want you to hear him when he says, “Now maybe you’re holding onto it because maybe you haven’t had talent before. And talent will push you and try to take it out of your hands and fight you to not take it back.” Because that’s what YOU have to do. Fight your agent to not take it back. I used to ask Ron, “Why are you doing that?” whenever he would tell me he’s putting up a sign and lockbox on a new listing. And he would say, “Oh I dunno. I guess I can let you handle that.” He didn’t realize he was taking back some of the things that I should be doing. I’m guessing that YOUR agent doesn’t realize it either. Bust them on it. Those things are below their pay grade. Those things are not dollar productive activities. Don’t let your agent take your job away from you.

Tell us how YOU were able to get your agent to let you completely own the admin side in the comments below.



  1. Nicole Sarenpa

    Elizabeth, I am about 6 blog posts in and I just have to tell you… I have mad respect for you and your great insights into high level admin… You Rock! You latest “how to negotiate inspection items” was very timely… I passed it along to our new TC and he found it incredibly valuable! Keep up the great work!

    Nicole Sarenpa from Minneapolis

    1. Elizabeth (Post author)

      Thanks Nicole. I am happy to share!


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