Big Data is revolutionising real estate prospecting. Thanks to SmartList, a new real estate marketing tool from CoreLogic, it’s now possible to use information gathered from homeowners online and offline behaviour to predict who will be the next person to sell their home.

So how can it help us to find the “needle in the haystack” – and can it really put an end to the need for cold calling? We’ve taken a look at what it is, how it works, and why you should be using it.

How Big Data is changing the face of real estate prospecting

These days there is more information available to us about our target markets than ever before. Data and analytics enable us to analyse consumers’ online and purchasing behaviour to determine essential factors about their lives. In real estate, harnessing this data is essential, because of how fast the market moves.

Big Data makes it possible to go beyond the traditional “four D’s” (death, divorce, debt and departure) to see a whole host of other reasons why people might want to sell their homes. Their online behaviour can tell us about a wide variety of events in their lives, all of which have an impact on the likelihood of someone wanting to sell their home. As Kylie Davis explains in her article about using targeted data to win listings, examples might include:

“One bedroom apartment owner occupiers who have recently changed their shopping purchases to include baby items (potential sign of needing to move up). Or a four bedroom home owners who have lived within a 5km radius of your office for more than 20 years and are now spending considerably on hardware or home maintenance (a potential sign of downsizing).”

If you know how to use this information, you can stay one step ahead of the competition by being able to target your prospects much more efficiently, while other agents in the area are still cold calling.

What is SmartList?

CoreLogic, also known to many as RPData, launched SmartList in February 2017. Following two years of intensive development and data analysis, it combines and analyses three essential types of data:

  • Property market trends by area from CoreLogic, which accesses information from over 600 industry, public and government sources.
  • Purchasing data and consumer insights provided by Quantium, whose sources include National Australia Bank (NAB), credit card companies, Woolworths Group (supermarket, beer, wine and spirits) and Foxtel paid television.
  • The most up-to-date property ownership, demographic and contact information from Greater Data.

SmartList then analyses this data to predict those home owners most likely to sell in the next three months. It does this by using past sales data to identify “lookalike” households, whose occupants are at the same life stage and in a similar situation, with comparable spending patterns.

According to CoreLogic’s Product Manager Roy Bhalla, who was responsible for developing the SmartList product, the results so far have been more than encouraging.

“Our reporting is showing what the predictions were versus the actual listings and sales,” he says, “and we’re seeing five times more home sellers from SmartList than the average across the suburb.”

How does SmartList help agents prospect?

If you’re an agent or agency principal, you can purchase the list for your suburb on an annual basis. Lists cost between approximately $100 and $1,000, depending on the size of your suburb and respective SmartList results. However, as lists are compiled by postcode, and a postcode area can encompass several suburbs, the product actually offers good value for money.

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Image source: CoreLogic SmartList

In addition, once you purchase a list you then have exclusive access to it – nobody else can purchase the same list until the time comes for you to renew your subscription, at which point you have first right of refusal.

But what if there aren’t enough leads on the list? SmartList has even thought of that.
“We only sell data for the postcodes that have enough properties and leads every month,” Roy explains. “You’ll receive a minimum of 10 leads a month. Over a three- to five-month period, you’ll achieve more listings than cold calling alone.”

The information you receive for each property includes:

  • Property address
  • House or unit
  • Property value
  • Contact details of owners (not renters)
  • Time in property
  • Confidence level

SmartList also takes into account the rapid changes that take place within the property market. Barbara Freeman, Regional Account Manager at CoreLogic, informs me that: “You receive an updated list monthly, around the 10th of each month, in a password-protected CSV file. New properties are at the top, with existing properties that are still triggering underneath.” These lists can then be cross-referenced against your CRM database for even more accuracy.

Watch this video for an introduction to the SmartList prospecting tool:

Why your real estate marketing strategy matters

What SmartList does, in addition to keeping your competitors out, it enables you to target all your property marketing towards the right people. Essentially, it’s like having a “marketing sniper” working for you on the real estate battlefield, picking out warm leads so you can cut back on the cold calls.

But it’s more than that. SmartList enables you to attract these leads with marketing that is actually relevant to them, speaking to them in a personal way using actual details about their properties and lifestyles. This gives you an edge that your competitors, without the advantages of this data, can’t hope to match.

This is why, once you have the information you need, it’s vital that you dedicate all your marketing efforts to attracting these clients. Make connections with them both online and offline to make sure you’re keeping your leads warm. This could include:

  • Personalised letters and printed mail cards.
  • Invitations to view your current property listings.
  • Acquire their email addresses and add them to your email list.
  • Look them up and connect with them on social media, then retarget them with digital advertising.

Phone calls and door-knocking add an even more of a personal touch, but whatever you do, don’t tell them that you have data indicating they’re likely to sell – that would just be creepy!

Peter Brack, of Century 21 Turramurra, Sydney, purchased three postcodes encompassing most of the region he serves. He has been quick to recognise the importance of actively doing something with the list once you have it.

“You need to find a way to establish a relationship and nurture it,” he explains. “We aim to touch base with these home owners every month. By virtue of the fact that they are on the SmartList, we put our marketing materials in their letterbox straight away. If we have a contact number, we call them. We need to get them to think that we are everywhere.”

For anyone wondering how best to use the SmartList data once they have it, CoreLogic runs monthly webinars advising on how to approach homeowners on the list.

Roy Bhalla claims that SmartList produces five times the conversion rate of the average market. This shows the vital importance of having access to Big Data in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. The rest is down to the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

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Melanie Hoole

Written by Melanie Hoole

Melanie specialises in helping real estate professionals perfect their personal brand, build a first-class digital profile, and implement inbound marketing activities to attract property owners planning to sell. If you are unsure which direction to take with your digital marketing – contact Melanie Hoole for help.

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