Real estate buyer leads refers to lists of individuals or businesses interested in buying a property. Their contact information is typically obtained through paid services like lead generation companies but can be acquired for free through manual efforts. Real estate buyer leads are key to making consistent sales and earning commissions.
Getting qualified buyer leads can be time-consuming and expensive for real estate agents. Zillow Premier Agent helps real estate agents find buyer clients by featuring them on Zillow property listings. Click here to get your own Zillow Premier Agent profile.
Here is how to generate real estate buyer leads in eight steps.
1. Determine Your Needs & Buyer Lead Goals
To gauge your needs and goals effectively, consider how many agents and brokers are in your agency, what your monthly sales goals are, and then how many leads you need to achieve those goals.
First, consider your capacity for handling leads. For a single-person realty office, 20 buyer leads acquired at one time might cause a complete traffic jam in your workflow. For a broker with five agents in an office, the same 20 real estate buyer leads would be easily manageable and trackable.
Based on your sales history, determine how many leads each agent in your office can handle each month and multiply that by the number of agents on staff. This will tell you how many leads you should ideally collect every month.
Next, consider your monthly sales goals and determine how many buyer leads you need to meet those goals, taking into account the leads you already have in your pipeline. Using your agency’s past sales data as a guideline, you can determine your average sale amount per lead, which will tell you how many leads you need to get every month to hit your sales goals. It’s important to be realistic about these goals.
Here’s an example of what a lead and goal estimation might look like.
During the past year, if you were able to close sales on four leads each month between two agents, and each lead averaged a sale amount of $200,000, then your average monthly sales amount was about $800,000. A realistic goal might be to add two more leads per month ― one lead per agent ― increasing monthly income for your agency to $1.2 million. If the average commission on a sale is 3%, then your monthly revenue would be $36,000.
While you can always increase your real estate lead generation efforts, the inability to meet demand from buyers can damage your reputation and waste lead generation advertising dollars. It’s important then to consider your capacity for closing sales carefully.
Once you set your expectation for buyer leads, you can then align it with your budget.
2. Establish an Advertising Budget for Buyer Leads
Establishing an advertising budget for buyer leads is all about figuring out your desired return on investment (ROI). To do this, start by determining the ROI for existing leads, then research the cost and types of leads you’d like to acquire. Taking these into consideration, set a budget for ad spend to collect new leads each month.
Identify the Top-performing Buyer Leads
Look at the buyer leads that you are getting now. Categorize each lead in your customer relationship manager (CRM) tool, according to the referral source, such as ad, social media, or personal network. Apply a status to each lead that shows the stage in the sales funnel.
Once you have these categories and stages, sort your leads according to referral source and see which leads are moving through the sales funnel the fastest and closing sales most frequently. These will be the leads you want to target for greatest ROI.
Research Cost & Types of Leads
Leads are most often categorized as buyer or seller leads and grouped by both location (zip code) and sale type. These sales types include mainstream/standard leads, for sale by owner leads, expired leads, foreclosures, and others. Cost varies greatly among lead types and locations, so it’s best to contact lead generation companies for estimated per-lead costs.
There are many paid lead generation options for real estate agents. These include companies that charge a monthly fee plus ad budget, and others that charge per lead. Picking the right company depends on your particular needs, location, and market. Review top lead generation companies below for more information.
Set Budget Based on Target Leads
Setting your budget for buyer lead generation is based on past sales data, your capacity for new leads, and the ability to adjust your advertising budget based on sales. Your budget will fluctuate, depending on your ROI as well as how many leads you can generate for free.
To accurately create your budget, you will need to answer the following questions:
- How much of my advertising budget can I contribute toward buyer leads?
- How long can I maintain my ad budget without a sale?
- Are there ways to cut current advertising that is not working or converting?
- Do I have a way to track buyer lead performance and ROI?
Once you have the answers to these questions, compare the amount you can spend against the cost for each service and the types of buyer leads that convert best. This comparison will help you determine which service is best for your goals and what works best for your area.
3. Explore Networks for Free Real Estate Buyer Leads
Before signing with a real estate lead generation company, take a look around your professional network for opportunities to receive free real estate buyer leads. Find the best free real estate leads by reaching out to your network to exchange information, partnering with local businesses, and attending networking events.
Reach Out to Your Network
Real estate agents often have a vast network, or sphere, of connections. By expanding your networking online and in target areas outside of your farm area, it is easy for agents to pass buyer leads to another agent if it fits their location. Staying in front of your network and passing other real estate agents opportunities can create a stream of free real estate buyer leads.
Here are some ways to reach out to your network for buyer leads:
- Join professional groups: Connect with other agents through NAR with an introduction to exchange buyer leads
- Connect with agents online: Contact out-of-area agents through LinkedIn to suggest sharing buyer leads
- Build agent partnerships: Cross-promote with real estate agents in key locations through Facebook to attract leads moving to your area
Partner With Local Businesses
Establish a contact list of local businesses that might have access to real estate buyer leads. These are often hardware stores, shipping stores, restaurants, grocery stores, and other outlets that service people in relocation or transitional situations.
Send letters or small gifts like pens to local divorce lawyers, insurance agents, and mortgage brokers to introduce yourself and suggest a partnership meeting. Reaching out to professionals in businesses throughout your community can be a great source for free buyer leads.
Attend Networking Events
Get involved in networking events hosted by local chambers of commerce or local business organizations to increase your connection base. These physical networking events give agents face time with people who might become buyers or share buyer leads through recommendations. You can also join the online networking site Meetup or search the NAR website to find an event.
4. Pick a Top Real Estate Lead Generation Platform
A lead generation platform delivers a steady stream of buyer leads interested in purchasing a property to an agent or broker. These are most often delivered via strategically placed ads. Determine the real estate lead generation company that is best for your needs by comparing your goals and your budget against the service offerings for the best fit.
Here are the top real estate lead generation solutions for buyer leads:
- Zillow Premier Agent: Zillow Premier Agent highlights local agents through a profile spotlight and contact button directly on property listings; each buyer lead costs between $30 to $60 depending on location and competition; learn more about Zillow Premier Agent pricing and benefits
- BoldLeads: BoldLeads offers ZIP code-exclusive advertising on Google and Facebook for real estate agents seeking buyer leads; a subscription to BoldLeads costs $269 per month with an additional $250 minimum for an online advertising budget
- Real Geeks: Real Geeks focuses on Facebook advertising for real estate lead generation; the monthly fee of $199 for real estate buyer lead advertising and management includes an internet data exchange (IDX) website and back-end CRM system designed for marketing; there is also a minimum $250 advertising budget with a one-time $500 on-boarding fee to cover the inclusion of marketing features; find out more about Real Geeks reviews and pricing
- Market Leader: Market Leader includes an IDX website and back-end CRM for $99 per month, in addition to your advertising budget; there is a fee of $20 to $30 for each buyer lead generated through social media advertising, but Market Leader does not resell these leads to other agents; find out more about Market Leader reviews and pricing
- REDX: REDX specializes in providing buyer leads for specialty markets like for sale by owners (FSBOs) and expired listings; for a set fee of $59.95 per month, REDX searches the multiple listing service (MLS) for listings and returns the results into its own CRM for the agent; learn more about REDX reviews and pricing
5. Set Up Marketing Tools for Real Estate Buyer Leads
To launch your marketing funnel, set up your CRM, create your IDX website, and design your lead capture magnets, then invest in advertising to deliver buyer leads. All of this can be managed, optimized, measured, and tracked for ROI using the lead generation companies above.
Set Up Your CRM
A CRM is a place where your real estate lead generation companies deliver your buyer leads. The CRM is more than just a holding place for your buyer leads and contact data. A robust CRM tells real estate agents what actions need to be taken, where contacts are in the sales cycle, and what property information your leads are searching for in the MLS database.
To set up your CRM for buyer leads, login to your CRM with your username and password. If you have not already, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the dashboard. All leads should be categorized by referral type, priority, and location in the sales funnel. Be sure to create any buyer triggers or alerts to make sure you engage leads as soon as they show an interest in a property.
Setting up your CRM correctly ensures you get the right alerts on-time to connect with buyers and nurture them through a sale.
Launch IDX Website & Landing Pages
An IDX website with landing pages is a site connected to the MLS that often includes lead magnets to capture lead contact information. Using an IDX real estate website builder and landing pages give a real estate agent a place to direct traffic from ads. Your IDX website and landing pages should be prepared to convert traffic into buyer leads quickly and easily.
To launch your IDX website and landing pages, login to your website dashboard, pick a template, customize the template with your own content, and add contact details and social media links. You can build your own IDX website with WordPress completely or add the MLS to your existing website.
Either way, review our top real estate website design tips from the pros that will increase conversion.
Create Buyer Lead Capture Magnets
Lead capture magnets are valuable pieces of content or tools on your IDX website or landing page developed to draw traffic from ads. These lead magnets encourage site visitors to leave their contact information in return for the valuable content you have created.
Here are some types of lead capture magnets used by real estate agents to get buyer leads:
- Neighborhood reports: Neighborhood reports share details about the area like school rankings, crime statistics, and local business information
- Industry analysis: This type of lead capture magnet gives the buyer information about the real estate industry as a whole like what investment opportunities are available across the United States
- Buyer checklist: A checklist gives the buyer a list of home purchase and moving steps that can be marked off as completed easily to help them understand the real estate process
- How-to ebook: An ebook gives the reader a longer version of a how-to article, with information on how to prepare for purchase negotiations or complete a thorough market analysis of a neighborhood
- Expert webinar: Usually video or online classes, an expert webinar can be from the real estate agent or another professional and explains details about buying a home
Create & Launch Online Advertising
Online advertising uses key social media platforms like Facebook and search engines to drive traffic to landing pages of an IDX website to get buyer leads. Targeted online advertising ― advertising directed at specific demographics ― can help real estate agents continuously fill their sales funnel with qualified leads. Real estate agents can create a social media marketing strategy and digital ads that align with that strategy or hire a lead generation company to manage it for them.
Here are a few resources for creating social media and search ad content for buyer leads:
- Canva: Real estate agents who are not comfortable with design can use Canva to create free graphics for social media and online advertising quickly.
- Fiverr: For agents and brokers who need help creating social media and Google ads, Fiverr is an extensive platform of freelancers who can do one-off projects starting at $5 each.
- If this, then that (IFTTT): This social media marketing tool lets agents handle posting directly from the free platform to stay on top of social media engagement.
6. Nurture Buyer Leads Through the Sale
Securing contact details for buyer leads is only the start of the sales process. Nurturing the lead through the buying cycle means creating ways to follow-up periodically with contacts, deploying auto-responders for immediate communication, and establishing a drip marketing campaign to stay engaged over the long-term to increase sales opportunities.
Follow Up With Leads
To follow up with leads, your CRM should be ready to alert you for any new activity from a buyer lead, from first sign up through sales offer. Any time a buyer lead triggers an event by going through the property listings or changing search parameters, an alert should notify you of the action and prompt you to follow up with the contact.
To prepare for to follow-up with leads, you should write several cold calling scripts or email scripts so that you can immediately touch base with the buyer without delay. Real estate cold calling scripts can apply to texts, emails, or phone calls, so be prepared to connect with the buyer within a few hours of the alert from your CMS — the sooner, the better.
Design Drip Email Campaigns
Drip email campaigns are emails or texts sent to the buyer automatically to stay engaged or connected during the sales cycle. These campaigns are sent in response to lead behavior like visiting your website repeatedly or viewing a new listing.
As some leads convert quickly and others take extra time, establishing a drip marketing campaign that continues to provide information and bring the lead back for new property searches results in sales. Agents should set up drip marketing campaigns to reach out to buyer leads on a regular basis to keep engagement alive during the life of the lead.
These are the steps for creating a drip marketing campaign:
- Login to your IDX website dashboard
- Find the templates for your drip marketing campaigns
- Populate the template with your own content, such as information about new listings, industry reports, and general updates
- Make sure to include information about yourself as an agent
- Add a call to action (CTA) to encourage people to do something like schedule a showing
- Save your templates and launch drip campaigns
Here’s an example schedule for a drip email campaign:
- Immediately after first contact: This auto-responder should be set up to follow-up within minutes of first contact to give appointment links, agent details, and delivery and lead capture magnet reports
- Day 1 (Welcome): The welcome email is all about making the buyer comfortable with the agent and starting a conversation, so this email should include a warm greeting with an invitation to discuss the neighborhood, report, or open properties
- Day 3 (Expectations): This email should establish the ground rules for communication between the buyer and the agent by explaining how often you send communications, what types of communications, and encouraging contact
- Day 7 (Follow up): This email should remind the buyer of available lead magnets and offer to send more information, provided they respond to your email requesting it
- Day 14 (Interesting information): The information-based email includes blog articles, videos, or expertise
- Day 30 (Touch base): Touching base through email should be a reminder that you are there for the buyer and encourage them to reach when needed
Auto-responders (ARs) are a tool in a drip marketing campaign that sends out text or email communications set up by the real estate agent to respond to questions or comments from potential buyers. Real estate agents can use auto-responders to communicate contact information, follow up on easy questions, or schedule an appointment.
Log in to your IDX website dashboard and set up a template for responding automatically when a comment comes through your site’s contact form or to your email address. This autoresponder should give the lead information they can work with right away like a link to up-to-date listings and ensure them that you will personally get in touch with them as soon as possible.
7. Evaluate & Optimize Buyer Lead Generation Process
In step two, you determined your ROI for existing leads by categorizing and identifying the stage in the sales funnel. The same process should be used to determine if fresh leads are converting quickly enough. If the leads are converting at a comfortable rate and price point, then you might need to add to your budget to increase the number of leads.
Spending money on buyer leads from a real estate lead generation solution means that you have to evaluate your ROI to make sure that leads are turning into sales. By tracking buyer leads through the stages of the sales funnel with a CRM, real estate agents can calculate how well leads from different sources convert and home in on what works best.
8. Refill Your Sales Funnel With Buyer Leads
Each month, you should refill your sales funnel with new real estate buyer leads. Some leads convert quickly and others take months, so refilling the sales funnel with new leads should be done monthly unless you cannot handle more business. To refill your sales funnel with fresh leads, you can tap your network or use paid lead generation companies that worked well in the past.
If you need more buyer leads, then evaluate your budget and your real estate lead generation choice to see if more money or different tactics will bring more leads. As buyer leads vary in their readiness to convert, you should refill your sales funnel on a monthly basis to make sure you always have the right balance of real estate buyer leads in each stage of your sales funnel.
Pro Tips About Making the Most of Buyer Leads
Using real estate buyer leads to their fullest advantage helps increase income and return on investment. Agents need to make the most of every dollar and moment spent on real estate lead generation, which is why we reached out to the pros for buyer lead tips.
Here are some of the best suggestions for making the most of real estate buyer leads:
“We provide weekly engaging, educational blog type articles delivered to [prospects] that touch on topics ranging from creative financing tips to choosing the right property management company. By providing continued education, I remain at the forefront of my clients’ minds. We aim to build lifelong relationships to help our clients achieve their long-term real estate goals, one house at a time.”
— Johnny Lynum, Operation Restore LLC
“An agent needs to make themselves indispensable to the buyers. Inform the buyers of what will be expected of them throughout the buying experience and make yourself readily available for any questions. Make them feel comfortable by showing your knowledge of the market in their area of interest and help them see that you are in their corner to help them through all the negotiations.”
— Jane Peters, Broker & Owner, Jane Home Realty
“The best way to vet [a potential buyer] is to enter the name and/or mailing address in the county appraiser website. This shows all the properties they own, when they purchased them, and for how much. You can call a select few buyers with a property you know is in their wheelhouse, rather than a huge list of lukewarm buyers. If you call a buyer about an irrelevant property, it’s a good way to get ‘ghosted’ by the buyer on future calls. If you bring something highly relevant, they will be excited to work with you in the future.”
— Earl White, Co-founder, Heroes LLC
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are Exclusivity and One-sale Buyer Leads Important?
Many real estate agents do not realize that their buyer leads are often sold multiple times to different agents. Exclusivity means you are the only agent represented in a certain area by the real estate lead generation company. One-sale buyer leads means that the real estate buyer leads you purchase are not resold to other agents even if the lead generation company represents other agents in your ZIP code.
Do Paid Buyer Leads Produce Better Results?
Paid real estate buyer leads means more sales because the person who wants to purchase a property is reaching out to the real estate agent in the moment of interest. When a free lead is passed from a third-party source, there might be some time between interest and contact that causes a lack of response. The best way to gauge results is to track all types of leads in your CRM.
Can I Generate Buyer Leads on My Own?
If you are knowledgeable about online marketing and social media advertising, then you can create ads yourself or reach out to your existing networks. Using a service like Fiverr to find advertising freelancers can take some of the time-consuming work of real estate ads and lead generation off your plate, however.
The Bottom Line
Real estate buyer leads are individuals or business seeking to purchase a property from an agent in a given location. Knowing how to generate real estate leads means exploring free and paid lead generation ideas, preparing your website and marketing tools for traffic, and tracking the results in a CRM to see what works and what doesn’t.
Saving time and money in gathering buyer leads for real estate agents means you have more time to show properties and make sales. To save yourself time, make use of Zillow Premier Agent, which generates buyer leads by highlighting an agent profile in connection with local properties. On-page lead capture then converts that traffic into warm leads. Click below to learn more.