How to Hack the MLS into a Free Robust Real Estate CRM

Real Estate is Not a Job, it is a Business.

Learn how to harness the power of your MLS by creating a free CRM for your real estate business.

Investing money into your business is not only right, it’s smart; as long as that money is not spent, but invested! That means, for every dollar you put in, you should get more than 100 cents back in return.

Many agents make the mistake of either not investing their money, therefore; not growing their business, or spending too much money on bells and whistles, but not earning money like a true investment should.

Land in Between these Two Extremes.

One area I see this most often is in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) services. There are so many of them in the marketplace, and they range from basic to so complicated you need a dedicated tech department to run it. Furthermore, they can be a very expensive commitment. For now, I have a hack to get you a free real estate CRM!

What is a CRM? 

CRM or Customer Relationship Management, is a database that allows you to keep your customers organized for the purpose of maintaining when you reach out to them. It is founded on the belief that when you reach out to your database on a continuous basis, you stay top of mind and increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time when one of your customers is ready to transact.

What Does a CRM Do?

One of the main features of a real estate CRM is a drip campaign, an automated way to keep touch of the customer over a period of time. It is to nurture them through the sales process and not loose contact with them. While it is next to impossible to keep in touch with so many customers, having a drip campaign takes the time consuming aspect out of it, and ensures consistency. It will do wonders in making sure you stay top of mind. 

Time and Money Costs of CRMs

Because CRMs can be robust, the learning curve can be steep, as well as the on-boarding time to import and grow your database. This time intensive process deters people from switching between CRMs. With so many options available, the cost of choosing the wrong one can be high, both financially as well as time wise.

For these two reasons, I created a way to hack the MLS as a free real estate CRM to get you started and buy you time to generate income. This income will act as seed money for the CRM subscription, as well as time to figure out what type of CRM will be the best fit for you. All of this, while still allowing room to grow your database and your business. 

You Already Pay for Your MLS

Most MLSs have a contact feature. Mine looks like this.

Where to add contacts to your MLS. This is a screenshot of what my MLS contacts database looks like.

Get to know it and use it! I add every single contact I can think of, and use as many fields as I can. Before I started using a paid CRM, this was my hack for keeping all of my customer’s information (who they are and what their interests are) in one place. In addition, the MLS has the ability to set up auto-searches, and can track my customer’s activity. As the MLS expanded it’s features, I have taken advantage of them and increased my overall usage!

By having these contacts in my MLS and segmenting them into groups, I have been able to shop the deal. This is where I find a property and present it to a segment of my list that might be interested. For example, when I come across an income producing property, I send the listing, an explanation and the numbers to the segment of my list that is made up of “Multi-Family Investors”.

Another example: if I have a group that is interested in a specific neighborhood or type of home (historic properties), I target that group and simply email listings that might interest them. If business is slow, I will go preview properties that interest me, or find amazing deals. I will write about it and send it out to contacts in my MLS. This is a free and easy way to hack a free real estate CRM stay front and center with my customers. Ideally, one of my emails will end of up in a sale, but if not, it sends a gently reminder of who I am and who knows, maybe their cousin is moving here and refers them to me!

One last bit of advice, use your lists to promote listings. Email them out and ask them to be shared. If not for them, they might know someone who might be interested.  

While using my MLS is free, and a great start to a real estate CRM, having a contact list and sending listings is not enough. The goal is to bring in enough business so you can justify the need for a paid CRM that can do the automation and heavy lifting for you.

Create Your Own CRM Step By Step

  1. Set up your contact in MLs and make each contact card as complete as possible. Use every field you can.
  2. Segment into lists. Think of categories that make sense to your business, like location, investors, type of property or community. If your MLS has a tagging option, it may be possible to add a contact to multiple segmented lists.
  3. Grab index cards and an old fashioned recipe box and make a card for each person in your database. All you need is their name, since all of their contact info is in MLS.
  4. Grab an old fashioned recipe box and 12 Dividers. Make a section for each month of the year. Each time you reach out and touch a person (not in the creepy way), make a note on the back of the card and choose a time to reach out to that person again. enter it in the section corresponding to the month you will reach out to them. Make it a goal to get as many of those cards into the box as you can. 
  5. Each month, be sure to schedule out touches (again, not in the creepy way) for all of the people in that section of your box.

This is a simple and inexpensive way to organize your clients and make sure you are keeping in touch with them on a regular basis. You should always be aiming to add more names to your list, as well as; contacting as many of these customers as you can on a regular basis.

At its core, this is the basic function of a CRM and as a new agent, or one who hasn’t yet set up a real estate CRM, this low cost solution is a super easy way to get you started.

The more you reach out to your sphere, the more business you will create. Before long, you will grow out of your recipe box and into an online and robust paid CRM.

Need leads? Download my free cheat sheet 5 Pain Free Ways to Get Leads, Even When You Can't Do Open Houses.