“List to live” is an old saying in the real estate business. And getting listings by leveraging big data is not as hard as it sounds. In most states, you’ve already got the tools; you just need to know what to look for and how to find it.

All you need is your local MLS, tax records (with deed history) and Google. Here are three categories of sellers to look for:

1. Seniors borrowing against equity

Why will they sell? Downsizing to cash out in order to pay medical expenses is common among this age group.

In your tax records, search for all properties not sold in 30 or more years. A very low tax base is a good basis for that. Next, refine the search to include only properties with outstanding loans. Within those results, narrow down properties with “cash out” loans. These are most likely seniors borrowing against equity to cover expenses. Send them a letter offering to help them downsize, and you might get a listing.

You can add the big data element by searching the names you find on Google using the “first name, last name, city, state” format and getting details about age and possibly some personal history. You’ll often find obituary notices and other information that could help guide your discussion.

When you connect with the seniors, you’ll want to make these points:

  • There is a potential cash-out from selling.
  • Transitioning to a new home can be easier than they think.
  • There are numerous benefits to downsizing.

Think through all these points before calling or sending a letter to your prospects. Having a clear goal in mind and focusing on excellent customer service should translate into more clients.

2. Engagement of two homeowners

Why will they sell? Consolidating assets is common with newlyweds.

Most social media sites have advertising demographics that include recent life events, such as engagement or purchasing a home. Create a social media ad targeting users who have purchased a home and have also announced an engagement within the last year. Then target the ads to distinct ZIP codes you serve. You may only get half the couple, but it’s a start. Direct those people to a special page on your website offering to help with consolidating their real estate holdings.

Run the same kind of Google search as above, but this time, you’ll find wedding registration or event sites. This helps with knowing the timing of the big day and when it might be appropriate to call.

When you connect with newlyweds, these points stand out:

  • Consolidating capital means you can afford a larger home.
  • Marriage sets the stage for long-term estate planning.
  • Managing a second home, even as a rental, may not be appealing.

When I got married, my wife and I sold both our places to buy the home we would share together. You may not get the sale of both properties, but you can certainly aim for one. Knowing their plans will set the stage for how many properties they sell and you, hopefully, will help them buy a new home as well.

3. Homeowners working for IPO companies

Why will they sell? Many people who get a windfall from IPO stock upgrade their homes.

This involves using demographics for both homeowners and those people working at companies that you know will cash out an IPO. Once again, many social media advertising systems offer data about who owns homes. That’s a start. You also have the ability to narrow prospects by the name of the company they work for. You’ll need to find out which local companies are about to “go IPO” or have recently.

The “lockup period” for IPO stock, which is usually six months, is a time after the stock first hits the market when insiders can’t sell. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at companies that could be possible sources for leads.

When you connect with these stockholders, I’d suggest being able to intelligently discuss:

  • How IPO stock is held and sold.
  • The benefits of investing in real estate.
  • What financial advisement services might be useful.

Once you understand what their windfall will be and how it can be used to their advantage in purchasing real estate, you should be able to sell their current home and assist with buying a new one.

Bryan Robertson is the co-founder and managing broker of Catarra Real Estate.

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