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    As a real estate agent, your database is one of the most useful tools at your disposal. After all, your clients are at the core of your business. It’s in your best interest to make sure that you stay as closely connected to them as possible. That’s where having an updated database comes into play.

    If you’re new to the business and don’t have your own database yet, or it’s been a while since you updated yours, you’ll want to read on below. We’ve got a list of actionable tips for organizing your real estate database. If you follow these steps, you’ll have a contact management system up and running in no time flat.

    Start by picking an organizational tool.

    If you don’t already have an existing database in place, your first step will be to choose a tool to help you organize all your contacts. Many agents use customer relationship management systems (CRM) for this task. However, if you’re just starting out or don’t want to spend the money, a simple spreadsheet will work just fine.

    The key is to find a system that you’ll be able to refer back to easily and that you’ll want to use consistently. The truth is that organizing your contacts is an ongoing task. For some people, that means investing in a program that will automatically capture leads for them. For others, it means sticking to low-tech methods. Whichever category you fall into, make sure you’re prepared to handle the necessary upkeep.

    Categorize your existing contacts.

    Once you have a tool in mind, the next step to tackle is categorizing your current contacts. Before you get started entering any information into your system, you should have a method in mind for keeping your contacts organized. Doing so will ensure that each contact is easy to find the next time you need their information.

    There are multiple ways that you can categorize your contacts. Here are a few of the most common:

    • Alphabetically: This approach may seem to make the most sense at first, but as you grow your list, it can be hard to remember how you know each person. If you go this route, make sure that you also have a system for noting their relationship to you.
    • A-list, B-list: The A-list, B-list system is used by a lot of agents. Here, you essentially categorize your contacts by how likely they are to work with you in the future. For example, your A-list contacts might include family and close friends. Your B-list contacts might include acquaintances and past clients. Then, you’d continue to list contacts who get increasingly further out from your sphere of influence.
    • Relationships: With this method, you’d categorize your contacts by their relationship to you. Example categories could include: Buyer leads, seller leads, current clients, past clients, and agents.

    Again, you’re free to choose any categories you’d like for this part of the task. Do your best to think about which method makes the most sense to you and which will be the easiest to maintain going forward.

    Set up a system for incorporating new leads.

    After you have your existing contacts under control, it’s time to shift your focus toward the future. You’ll want to take the time to develop a system for gathering information from new leads. These days, most people set up a contact form on their website, which automatically inputs the information into their CRM. However, it could just be as simple as creating a paper for your new clients to fill out.

    Again, consistency is what’s important here. Tackling the organization of a database is a huge undertaking. You’ll want to make things as easy as possible for yourself going forward. The way to do that is by developing a system for incorporating new leads and doing your best to stick to it.

    Make time for maintenance.

    Finally, regardless of whether your database is high-tech or not, you should regularly make time in your schedule for database maintenance. This is your opportunity to add in any new leads, to verify that your leads are being categorized correctly, and to get rid of any old contacts that are no longer of use to you.

    Unfortunately, though this task may not be the most exciting part of being a real estate agent, it’s a necessary evil. An outdated database is not of use to anyone, so take the time to make sure that yours is current.

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