The 3 Ways to Build Your Prospecting Database

I coach new to the business (N2B) commercial real estate brokers with the Massimo Group.  In my web-call with my newest group today, I was asked the question that I get asked most often.  How do I find the numbers for the prospects I need to be calling?  That is a key question, is it not?

For those of you who have never seen one of these - it is a Rolodex.  Ask your boss about it.

For those of you who have never seen one of these – it is a Rolodex. Ask your boss about it.

Do you remember the second half of 2008 – when the economy completely tanked?  You may recall how the sky was falling.  Everything changed.  Many in the CRE industry didn’t make it.

For the number of years before that time, a monkey could have made six figures.  Transactional velocity was everywhere.  Cap rates were compressing.  Capital was cheap and readily available.  Deals would just walk in your door.  But when the market turned, top producers kept succeeding while others fell away.  How did they do it?

There are two ways to find and win business.  The easiest way is someone with a problem or opportunity calls you.  The best way is you go find the business you want to do.  Those who relied on business finding them didn’t make it after 2008 – or at least their business seriously suffered.  Those who built their business on prospecting and continuous prospecting continued to succeed.  When the pie got much smaller, it was the dedicated prospectors who picked up market share and pressed on.

This fact gets back to the question I referenced above.  If I’m going to build my business on dedicated and focused prospecting, how do I find the numbers of the decision makers?  I’m glad you asked.

Every broker can build a sustainable business by creating a database of prospects in these 3 ways.

Three Ways to Build Your Database

1.  Buy it – This is the fastest and easiest way to get the data you need.  It is also the most expensive.  I’ve included a list of some options below.  Hopefully, you have access to one or more of these tools through your office.  Or you could be like me and live in a place that isn’t covered by anyone.  If that is the case, this option is basically out for you.

  1. CoStar – CoStar is the company we all love to hate, but they certainly have their place.  The have hundreds (maybe thousands) of researchers who spend all day calling brokers and actually verifying information.  Then they sell that information back to you.  CoStar also provides everything from comps to owner information to lease details to analytics.  It is expensive, but they have a huge customer base because they provide a ton of value.
  2. Xceligent – Xceligent is much like CoStar.  In fact, they are trying to give the market an alternative to CoStar.  The verify information in much the same way and provide much the same information and analytics.  What they don’t have, yet, is a huge footprint.  But they are adding markets all of the time.  If they cover your market, they are a real option.
  3. Real Capital Analytics – RCA is my favorite source of information.  They track all transactions over a certain amount (I think it is around $2,000,000).  Beyond that, I believe they have the best analytics in the business and nobody understands and analyzes the flow of capital better than them.  They also produce monthly reports for the different asset verticals (retail, office, multifamily, etc.) that detail what markets are hot, what cap rates are doing, and much more.  These reports are gold and can make you very valuable to your clients and prospects.
  4. REIS – REIS is a service that has been tracking comps and trends for 30 years, and they are very good at it.  They also excel at breaking the corporate veil and finding who are the members of LLC’s and other ownership structures.  They are also expensive.
  5. ProspectNow – ProspectNow is a newer company that provides ownership information of properties all over the United States – and their coverage is pretty impressive.  If they cover your area, they are a great option.  A huge benefit here is they have a low monthly subscription fee.  They are definitely one of your more economical options provide names, phone numbers, and often even emails.
  6. PropertyShark – PropertyShark is similar to ProspectNow with some add on services.  For instance, you can get a property report that includes all the data on the property.  You can get an ownership report with names and numbers, ownership history, deeds, liens, etc.  You can also produce a ready-to-mail list of owners of properties in a certain geography – pretty sweet, really.  They are a bit more expensive than ProspectNow and their prices change based on what geography you need.  Worth checking out.
  7. National Assessor and Property Tax Resource – This website is free and connects your with county assessors in every state – assuming that county is online.  You get what you pay for.  This site doesn’t have searches or analytics like these other sites.  But, if you need raw information on a budget, this is a great place to start.

Question: As this is certainly not an exhaustive list, what are some other resources you use? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

2.  Outsource it –  You can hire others to build your database for you.  Here is something to consider.  If you are new to the business, doing the work has great value.  It will accelerate you rise to becoming a recognized market expert.  However, if you’ve been in the business more than 2 years, your time is way too valuable to do this kind of work yourself.

There are a couple of fantastic options who can do this work for you.  One charges just $15 an hour and does fantastic work finding names, phone numbers, and often emails.  And she averages 12-15 properties an hour.

Note: If you want her contact information, just let me know in the comments section and I will get it to you. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

3.  Do it yourself – If you are new to the business, this is what you should be doing at least 5 hours a week.  Or, you may live in a geography too small for other services like CoStar or ProspectNow to cover.  If that is the case, you may have to become the detective yourself.  Head on down to the local assessors office and start pulling data.  The one thing you can’t do is prospect without ownership data.

So these are the three ways:  buy it, outsource it, or DIY.  My challenge to you is to commit to dedicated and systematic prospecting.  Build your list and then go after the business you want.  That’s what the best do.  Go and do likewise!

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • CREOutsider

    As a data wonk, I love this post! Great list of property info sources. And especially in smaller markets where you have to DIY, this is a great way to “learn” the market and build relationships.

  • Rod Santomassimo

    Another great post by a great coach. Sure Bo, love to learn about your researcher 🙂

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  • Also joining industry specific associations in your market has the names, addresses, phone numbers and emails of all the owners and “gate keepers” that you need to go through. Google your trade and location and see if there is a local or state organization that has a ready made database of professionals.

    • Peter – this is a good example of how to build a database while you are building presence through networking. These are good ideas that we can use! Thanks!

  • Darrin Dufresne

    Great article. I use Xcelligent in Mpls-St. Paul. They are providing better information. I am interested in your resercher. Please forward when you have a chance. Thanks

  • Brian

    Great article – thank you for posting. I am interested in speaking with your researcher. Please forward her contact info to Thank you.

  • Sharing this one, Bo – great as always.

    • Thanks Barbi! I thought of you and the weather you are probably enjoying earlier today when I was shoveling the snow off my driveway.

  • Not too much to shoveling sunshine… Visit us in Southern Arizona any time!

  • Hye Bo, nice job on the post. Ande include me in on the referral to your researcher. Thanks!

    • On its way! Thanks Bob!

      • Hmm, the link I received was her LinkedIn address, not a direct email; lacking premium LinkedIn privileges, I’m not sure I can contact her this way. Pls Advise.

        • You should be able to connect with her and send her a message. That is how I communicate with her.

  • Rafael de Castro

    Thank you for posting this list of CRE data sources. Please send me the contact info on your researches.

    • You are welcome Rafael! The info should be in your inbox!

  • Karyn MacVean

    Awesome article, Bo! Here in the Phoenix area we have Vizzda. It’s a great resource for CRE pros.

    • Karyn – thank you! I’ve never heard of Vizzda. Do they cover areas other than Phoenix?

      • Karyn MacVean

        Not yet! All in good time though…

  • Bob Rein

    Bo, Thanks for a great article. And for posting this list of CRE data sources. Please send me the contact info on your researchers.

  • Jason Middlebrook

    Bo-Please send your researcher’s contact info to: Thanks!

  • randyrossccim

    Great article. Please forward the researchers contact info to

  • Aaron Weiner

    Solid post, Bo. Would your researcher be able to cold call for my tenant rep practice? If so, I would definitely be interested in her contact info.
    Thank you!

    • Aaron – she doesn’t do prospect calls – just gets you the data you need to pursue them.

  • James Walker

    Great Stuff!!! Please forward the researchers contact info to

  • Scott Armstrong

    Bo, Please forward the researchers contact info to
    Thank you

    • Scott – it should be in your inbox! And here is to an epic Friday!

  • dan mincher

    Great content, Bo! I’m guessing your researcher may be a virtual assistant? Please send her contact info to me at

  • Ric Del Vizo

    I would be interested in hiring a researcher…please send info to Thanks!

    • Ric – thanks for the comment. Check you inbox – it should be there. My best!

  • Robbie Casey

    I am interested in your researcher info
    Please send to …

  • Javier Diaz

    Bo- always enjoy and learn from your posts! Please forward me the researcher contact info to thanks in advance-JD

  • Todd Rosborough

    am interested in your researcher info
    Please send to”

  • Chase Tucker

    Please send me your researcher’s information. My email address is Thanks!

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  • Rick Newton

    I would like your researchers information if you are still willing to share it. My email address is Thank you!

  • Alan Engman

    Please send me your researcher’s information. My email address is

    Thanks! AE

  • Great Stuff!!! Please forward the researchers contact info to
    We are slammed and I want to stay this way!

  • John Jackson

    Great post Bo! Please send the researcher’s contact info to

    • John – I just sent it. Let me know if you don’t get it.

  • Bo,
    Please send your researchers contact info! My email is Thanks!!

    • Check you inbox. And she has done a lot of work for SVN advisors.

  • Jim Holbrook

    Thank you for taking time to create these posts. Please send me the researcher’s contact info. My email is

  • Please send me your researcher’s information. My email address is Thanks!

  • hello Bo, please send me your researcher’s information. My email is Thanks!

    • I am a tenant rep broker, does she help with tenant prospecting?

  • Bo, Please send the outsource referral to me. Thanks.

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  • david madigan

    Please send me the outsource contact info . Thanks, David

  • Dan Gen

    Bo, please send contact info for outsource person. Thanks much.

  • Tony Rossi

    Hi Bo. Please forward contact info for person to help build database. Thx

  • Jimmy Pitoukkas

    Please send me your researchers contact information. My email is

    • Jim! Good to hear from you my friend. I trust all is well in your world. The researcher’s contact info is in your inbox!

  • Nbushong

    Please send me your researchers contact information. My email is . Thanks

  • Chris C

    please send me the researchers contact info. is she familiar with miami markets at all? thank you in advance

  • Billy P, CCIM

    Bo, Please forward your researchers contact information – my email is Thank you.

  • Steven Lusby

    Hi Bo, I hope all is well. Please forward me your researchers contact information. My email is

  • Andy Kay

    Hello Bo,
    Please forward me your data mining experts contact info.My email is
    With appreciation.

  • Terard Datilma

    Hello Bo,
    I just stumbled over your post. I find it very informative. Thanks for sharing! Would you please forward the researcher’s contact info to me? my email is
    Thank you in advance!!

  • Helene Novin Strumeyer

    could i please have the information for the researcher? 201 873 2564

  • Connie

    I’d like the information on the outsource person you mentioned in your article. Thanks!

  • Serge Brice

    Hi Bo, Im also interested in the researcher. My email is

  • gemini99

    And now all you people who posted their email will soon be on every email spammers list as their bots scour the web for email address. geez,

  • Nicholas Corbell

    I’d like the information on the outsource person you mentioned in your article. Thanks!

  • Marcus Muirhead

    Hello Bo. If your researcher is still doing this type of work please send her contact info. Thanks!

  • David Roman

    Please reach out and advise me on the contact information for the outsource individual , Thank you

  • Michael Ungoco

    Hi Bo,
    Great stuff. Please send your researcher’s contact info to me,

  • Mathew Laborde

    Bo – Thank you for writing this article! I would love to receive your researcher’s contact information. My email is . Thank you, sir!