How to Clean Your Real Estate database

Why do you need a clean database?

Your database or CRM is the engine that drives all of your real estate marketing.

The names and details of people you have done business with before, or met at open houses or through inquiries for properties - are the fuel that feeds your marketing. Put dirty fuel into an engine and while you might not notice it at first, eventually your engine will seize up. 

The big reason for having clean data is simply this - you can segment your audience. The better you segment, the more your marketing will resonate. 

It makes sense therefore that the first thing you need to do is to clean up your database as much as you can. This will ensure that you can market through as many channels as possible. 

A lot of agents lose their minds at this point. “OMG, that will take forever!” or “I don’t know how”, or “I’ll never get it clean”, “I’ll do it when I get some time” (which is never!).

But here is a tip. Cleaning up a database is like housework. It’s never really done. As soon as you’re finished, you probably need to do some more.  

So rather than create a major project that feels like an insurmountable mountain and requires a whole lot of time, we recommend breaking it down into smaller tasks. 

How to clean your real estate database

  1. Work out what you’re dealing with:
    • How many contacts are actually in your database right now? 
    • How many of them have a full name, email, mobile phone number and street address as their record? 
    • How many only have a name and mobile?
    • How many only have a name and email address?

    You don’t need every record to be perfect to get started. But it helps to know how many records have gaps and what those gaps are so you can work out a plan to get it working better. 

    Pro tip: it can help to export your data to a spreadsheet for this part. It will then let you filter so you can quickly see where the missing data is and how many records need updating. 

  2. Collect email addresses

    Email addresses are vitally important. They not only allow you to do email marketing, but social media platforms all use email addresses as identifiers as part of their audience building. So make sure you are 1. collecting email addresses at open houses and 2. Getting them into your CRM. 

    Ok, but what do I do about the messy data I’ve already got? Take your list of contacts from your CRM that only have a name and a mobile number. It’s time to hit the phones. Each of these calls should be meaningful and make a connection. Offer to send out a Market Report or some other useful piece of information if the person at the end of the phone will share their email address. If they ask to be taken off your list, that’s fine. It’s all part of the cleaning up process. The aim is to have good quality data, not messy quantity. Make 10 calls a day and you’ll find your data clean in no time. 

Once you've started the process of cleaning your database you can then start to segment your audiences and really level up your email marketing. The best thing about email marketing - once you start running email campaigns that consistently generate results, everyone in the office will see the value of having clean data.

“A lot of the director’s contacts have come up to him and talked about the emails he’s sent them. This has inspired him to push the team to be a lot more diligent about getting the right contact information into the database.” - Alice Callaghan, Frank Gordon Estate Agents

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Kylie Davis
Kylie Davis
Kylie Davis is a real estate digital marketing expert, researcher and public speaker about proptech and how digital disruption is changing real estate. In January 2019, during the NSW bushfires, she was repeatedly evacuated from both her parents’ home in Tathra, and her own holiday home near Moruya on the south coast of NSW.