Before they dive into the housing market, today's home buyers tend to conduct research online. This research results in Web searches that can be tracked and generate buyer data. Real estate agents looking to gain clients can leverage this data to create potential customer profiles and generate leads, but only if they know how to get to the numbers and find the best ways to use them. The following are some tactics you can use free or paid real estate data to grow your business:

Investing in Real Estate Data is Big Business

As a real estate agent, you know that finding the right client at the right time is vitally important to the development of your business. Companies that collect real estate data and provide meaningful analysis are in high demand. To generate leads, look at demographic data that can help you predict which consumers will most likely turn into future home buyers. Websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and collect data from online searches and provide real estate agents with the ability to market to potential home buyers through targeted advertisements and website features. 

Companies such as SmartZip and Buyside use big data to help real estate agents target leads. These technology-focused businesses harness the seemingly overwhelming amount of consumer data available and analyze it to predict which homeowners are likely to list their homes. Another potential source of lead-worthy information is credit bureaus. For example, Experian provides information that helps agents target high-income renters who are viewed as potential home buyers.

Finding Leads Through Free Data

Not every new agent can afford to pay for leads that may or may not convert to a sale. If you're looking for targeted customers, free sources of data are available. Property records can reveal a wealth of information, such as how long an owner has currently lived in a home. US Census Bureau data and provide profiles of towns and city neighborhoods as well as demographic statistics. This data is available for free and can help new agents increase their expertise in their communities and get a feel for the local market. 

Searching for Targeted Leads

Focusing on small, niche areas of the real estate market can sometimes be the most efficient method of finding leads. For example, targeting high-end home sellers may take longer to develop a lead, but the payoff could be greater. Or, you may have a special interest or background in a certain type of home that would improve your chances of connecting with potential sellers. In these cases, focused data searches may help you find the best leads and develop relationships with future sellers.

Achieving the Right Mix of Data and Relationships

Even with all the best data at your fingertips, you will still need the right skills to close the deal with potential home buyers. It is key to develop a local reputation as a top-performing agent and follow through with your current clients. Becoming a visible member of your community by attending events and sponsoring charities is another way to get your name out there and generate leads. 

If you can strike the right balance between data and relationship development, you will be one step closer toward finding great leads, generating repeat business, and receiving referrals. Take the time to research the data collection methods that will work best for you and combine the data you choose to pursue with an online and in-person presence, and you'll likely generate business for years to come.