Become the DaVinci of Data Use: How Realtors® Can Unlock the Art and Science of Real Estate Data

By MNR News posted 12-05-2023 11:24 AM

Art or Science?
Is a successful real estate agent more like an artist or a scientist? On the side of the artist, the agent must be adaptive and creative, with the ability to connect with people and to tell a compelling story. As for the scientist, the agent ought to know the math behind housing transactions and be able to effectively analyze the market.

Should every agent aspire to become the Leonardo DaVinci of their local market? DaVinci, perhaps our most famous example of a “renaissance man,” didn’t choose between art or science. He mastered both disciplines to achieve groundbreaking feats of painting and engineering that are still marveled at nearly 500
years later.

The Best of Both Worlds
Real estate agents who marry art and science may not paint the next Mona Lisa, but they’ll be set up to close more sales and better connect to consumers. In today’s increasingly online world, data has become the nucleus of any successful business, irrespective of industry. Arguably, you cannot run a business without relying on good qualitative and quantitative data—and there’s so much of it to be mined at no cost. As writer and programmer Daniel Keys Moran once wrote, “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.”

For the entrepreneurial-minded Realtor®, data can unlock efficiencies in your strategic planning, market analysis, and client interactions to set you apart from the competition. Strong data points can help you not only win listings but eliminate risks and inefficiencies from your day, opening the door to improved work/life balance and mental health.

But collecting data without doing any interpreting is like buying a new warm coat but leaving it in the back of your closet all winter.

Data and Business Planning
The day-to-day of real estate agents might look to the outside observer like a frenzied movie montage of calls, coffee, emails, meetings, more coffee, and showings. Tracking data can too easily get lost in that shuffle. But taking the time to consistently collect data about your own business practices will help you make better decisions. And that’s what it’s all about. Even if you’re not an advanced Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) user, programs like Microsoft Excel are great starting points for logging your calls, meetings, representation agreements, contracts, and closings. 

Of course, there are hundreds of powerful CRMs that can create untapped efficiencies in the real estate sales funnel for you to explore; many are provided to agents by larger brokerages. These CRMs can automate tasks and provide helpful analytics to save agents even more time. If your goal is to sell five more houses next year, how many calls or appointments will you need to make? With a large enough sample size (most experts suggest a year or more), data like the kind outlined above can offer you a conversion metric upon which to build your business strategy—it can help you solve the ratio between signed contracts and closings. Using accurate data is like painting with a finer tipped brush; you’ll have more control over the details of your routine, able to finetune your lead generation and appointments  

Market Analysis
A real estate agent who can’t read market trends will always be a step behind. That’s the harsh reality of the competitive real estate sector. Studying the ins and outs of basic economics like supply and demand—and say, how inventory impacts home price, or how mortgage rates impact buyer behavior—are essential for your success. There’s no shortcut to understanding the housing market. And though real estate economics is categorized as a life science—it’s not rocket science.  

By engaging in real estate CE classes, online learning, and mentorship through their brokerage, most agents can become adept at reading and comprehending key market data. But Realtors® have another ace in their hand: membership benefits. Members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and Minnesota Realtors® (MNR) have access to a riches of market analysis content and practical materials. These resources can save you time while helping you understand how the real estate ecosystem works.  

 NAR’s Realtors® Property Resource (RPR) might be one of the most undervalued tools in your toolbox. RPR acts in partnership with your local MLS, so it’s not competing for resources. Among its many features, RPR offers RVMs (Realtors® Valuation Models) that compile active, sold, and off-market MLS data, along with public records—and it’s all refinable by location. It boasts the highest accuracy of any valuation product, making it an incredible tool for marketing to sellers. RPR also allows agents to research properties, create customized CMAs, and track key property data over time, including months’ supply, inventory, median home price, and neighborhood statistics.  

 Locally, NorthstarMLS, which serves the majority of Minnesota Realtors®, is on the cutting edge of data storage, collection, and distribution technology. NorthstarMLS has recently created a shared listings database to expand client listings. Experts see greater data transparency, accuracy, and security, along with more immersive property-viewing experiences for the consumer as the future of the industry.