With marketing becoming more complex, it can be confusing for real estate agents to maximize lead generation and get real estate leads that convert. To help, we compiled the top 43 real estate lead generation ideas using social media, software, and more. This ensures your hard-earned marketing dollars get the best return on investment (ROI).
Here are the top 43 real estate lead generation ideas from the pros.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 90% of homebuyers use the internet to house hunt. With an average of 195 million visitors per month, Zillow is the largest real estate website and the best place to establish your real estate business online.
If you’re already on Zillow and want to get even more leads, try Zillow Premier Agent, Zillow’s advertising platform that lets you advertise on local Zillow and Trulia listings. We estimate that for every $1 you spend, you’ll earn $2.60 in commissions. Click here to find rates in your area.
Buying real estate leads often means getting a spreadsheet of contact information and being left to figure it out all on your own. In addition to offering exclusive seller leads so that only one agent (you) gets leads from a single ZIP code, BoldLeads provides training videos and weekly webinars to help you nurture and close those leads. Click here to claim your ZIP code.
3. Follow Up With Luxury Open House Visitors
Tim Allen, Realtor, Coldwell Banker
I like to engage visitors strategically during my open house. Rather than pressure them with a sign-in sheet—I work in a luxury market, so this is not the best approach—I ask where they’re from. If they are local, I need a first name and a street they live on—like, “I’m Jan, I live over on San Antonio Avenue”—and I can use the free tax database to reverse prospect and find their address and tax billing address.
A simple thank you card sent to them with my business card in there is a good way to let your visitors know that you are not only a good listener but are also tech-savvy, which is a growing need for real estate agents.
4. Provide Personalized Service
Audrey Darby, Founder & CEO, Match Me With an Agent
It may sound like a contradiction, but my real estate experience has taught me that if you want to get big, you have to get small and get personal. Many top agents typically concentrate on a database of fewer than 200 clients and give these clients extraordinary personalized service, items of value, and inclusion in all things real estate related. The most important thing is to be “top of mind” as the go-to real estate agent for these elite few and consistently ask for the compliment of a referral with every interaction. This approach gives the opportunity to build a solid and loyal clientele typically resulting in the warmest new leads.
5. Hold an All-day Open House
Chris Stapleton, Sales Representative, Blue Elephant Realty Inc.
Find a colleague with a centrally located listing―or one in an area with decent foot traffic―and ask if you can host an “all-day open house.” Put up a few open house sandwich boards in the area and work from a nearby coffee shop. Anytime someone walks by and calls the number, tell them you’ll be there in five minutes to give them access. You get buyer leads and the listing agent benefits from more foot traffic and potential offers.
6. Send Handwritten Notes to Your Leads
Gina Castrorao, Realtor, Triplemint
Handwritten notes are a way of continuing communication targeted to people in your network who are going through life changes: relationship status changes, children, promotions, career changes, relocation, and so on. These are all reasons to change your living situation and easy to find out about. In the handwritten notes, I often ask people to get a cup of coffee or chat on the phone because I want to catch up and chat about their life, but it is also an avenue to mention real estate and generate leads.
They can be people you haven’t talked to in years and want to meet for a friendly catch-up session. For example, I sent a handwritten note to a woman that I went to high school with because I saw she got a promotion. We ended up meeting for coffee and chatting about life for an hour, which resulted in a later conversation about her looking to buy an apartment in the near future.
7. Offer ‘Freebies’ in Exchange for Contact Information
Christina Daves, PR for Anyone
My favorite lead generation tool for real estate agents is offering a “freebie” in exchange for a name and email address. It starts with a unique domain that is easy to remember such as freegiftfromname.com. It shouldn’t be on the main page of their website because people become distracted. When they go to the page, all they should be able to do is learn about the free offer and enter their name and email address. Everything is set up in an automated funnel in their CRM [customer relationship management tool] that sends the gift immediately.
Agents should offer something in their niche. We have done Tax Loopholes for First-time Homebuyers (by a new agent who was a CPA [certified public accountant] for 25 years), a listing of favorite shops and restaurants in a certain area, unique things to do in a community, and many others. It can be an infographic, PDF, video, or anything that provides value to that user in exchange for their information.
8. Contact Expired Listings
Phil Gerdes, Agent, Christie’s International
My go-to lead source is to contact expired and withdrawn listings as well as for sale by owner (FSBO) listings. Some agents frown on making these calls. Others are just too scared to dial. We dominate this lead source and can attribute much of our success this year to it. I do get yelled at—a lot. I do get hung up on, but the key is to understand the potential client’s disappointment and match it with the same level of intensity, be it low or high, but with recordable, proven solutions. In my market, the average days on the market for a closed transaction is 52 while mine is 18.
9. Use Yelp to Increase Visibility
Jacob Landis-Eigsti, Owner, Jacob LE Video Production
Yelp is a great resource for agents. Yelp listings rank well in Google and Yelp itself is a search engine. Creating a Yelp page, receiving at least three reviews, and taking advantage of the free yelp ads is one of the fastest ways to acquire new leads and customers.
One of the best ways to optimize your real estate lead generation strategy is to show potential clients that you’re an expert in the local real estate market. Parkbench can help you build your reputation as a local real estate expert by providing a community website and hyperlocal content, including deals, news, events, and stories. Click here to learn more about how the platform can help you and your team.
11. Tap Your Spheres of Influence
Matthew Kammeyer, Broker, CCIM, Five Star Property Management
Hands down, our best source of sales clients come from our sphere of influence (SOI). The people who know, like, and trust us are the ones most likely to refer us. I found that my job is to be at the top of their mind. The nice part of this is that I get to interact and do nice things for my friends, family, and associates.
Providing gifts, running a charity gift drive, offering help in areas outside of real estate, or being the source of the source has done wonders for my business. Also, when someone does refer you, be sure to thank them. You want to reward good behavior like referrals. Don’t be focused on the closings. Instead, be aware of and thankful for the initial introduction. Then, keep your referral partners updated and do a great job so that they look good.
12. Share Resources With Potential Clients
Jlyne Hanback, Realtor, e-Pro, PSA, Keller Williams Realty
One of the greatest lead generation tools that I use is to offer a free homebuyer’s handbook to potential homebuyers. I have taken the time to write a concise yet informative handbook that I offer in either PDF, Word, disc, or print format. I advertise this on my site as well as social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.
The people who respond are typically in the market to buy a home or are considering starting the process, so this gives me the chance to open up a dialogue with them about starting the process of buying a home. I add their contact info to my CRM [customer relationship management] platform and to a special drip campaign that caters to potential homebuyers.
13. Become a Local SEO Expert
James McGrath, Co-founder, Yoreevo LLC
I recommend agents work on local SEO to become an authority for key real estate related terms. This is a strategy we have used and had success with in New York City. Especially in smaller towns, it probably doesn’t take much effort to stand out on Google. For example, say there are lake homes nearby. Let’s call it Lake Blue. With some very basic SEO strategy, you could rank for “Lake Blue homes for sale” which would put you in front of a lot of buyers.
14. Start Building a Referral System Early
Vince Massara, Chief Growth Agitator, The Content Friends
In real estate, a great referral system is started early—not after the sale. The odds are that you will meet with sellers and discuss what the measures of success are in their sale. This is a terrific time to set the scene early by explaining how vital referrals are to your business and real estate in general as they may even be a referral themselves.
These touchpoints and conversations are opportunities to guide a referral. I have seen real estate agents generate one or two referred leads per client using a simple system like this. Considering the usual cost-per-lead in real estate, that can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars saved a year.
Companies like Real Geeks create turnkey real estate lead generation sites targeted to your farm area and expertly promoted via PPC [pay-per-click] marketing to gather as many leads as possible.
For buyer real estate leads, Real Geeks lets you build an IDX [internet data exchange]-enabled home search site that advertises for you on Google. Leads are encouraged to exchange their contact information for listing details. Once they’re in the Real Geeks CRM, you can market to them with drip campaigns, automated text messaging, and more. It even offers home valuation sites that will help generate seller leads. Click here for a demo or to request more information.
16. Target Specific Homes in Your Farm Area
Jonathan Kobler, Agent, Keller Williams Realty
Even though the direct mail channel response rates have been decreasing for years, targeting specific homes in your farm area can increase response and generate leads. If you are willing to put in the effort to research, you can target specific homeowners by the length of time at residence and estimated equity.
It’s time-consuming and labor-intensive if you don’t use predictive analytics software, but more effective than blindly blanketing a neighborhood and hoping something works out. It also saves money because now you are not targeting whole neighborhoods—just certain homeowners within the neighborhood who are more likely to sell.
17. Work With Real Estate Investors
Uriah Dortch, Professional Home Buyer & Broker, The Inspiring Investment
Our best way to get more leads is to work with investors marketing for properties to buy. They come across a bunch of people, and many of those people want to sell, just not for what the investor wants to pay. So, we get those leads and follow up about listing them.
18. Get Referrals From Other Real Estate Agents
Bruce Ailion, Broker & Attorney, The Ailion Team
My favorite lead source is a referral from another agent. Most real estate agents come upon several people a year relocating out of the area. I attend the state and national real estate agent conference, and my national RE/MAX conference. There, I meet a large number of top agents in the country. Only 2% to 3% of agents attend these events, and they represent the most professional and productive in the industry. The other place I advertise for referrals is on the Certified Residential Specialist website. This group represents the top 2% of agents nationwide.
19. Track Email Subscriber Behavior
Courtenay Worcester, Director of Marketing, GetResponse
To gauge if a lead is cold, lukewarm, or hot, you have to spend some time understanding where they are in the buying process. One way to do this is through email marketing. Once you add leads to your contact list and start sending them emails, you will see patterns emerge through your email marketing analytics. This includes open rates, click-through rates (CTRs), and the types of featured properties they explore. How they respond to your emails can show you where they are in the buying process and how serious they are about purchasing a property.
Generating and nurturing real estate leads can be an extremely time-consuming process. The done-for-you real estate lead generation services offered by Propertybase can save time and improve lead conversion rates by providing local, high-quality real estate leads. Try Propertybase’s lead generation features like optimized advertising, landing page templates, and locally targeted lead generation to streamline your lead generation process. Click here for a free 30-day trial.
21. Connect With Leads Authentically
Michael Montgomery, Founder, Rev Real Estate School
Getting a name and an email address will not be the challenge in 2019. Instead, it will be how you can start a conversation with your leads and meet them where they are at in their buying or selling process. The agent needs to be focused on just having real conversations with the people and not trying to move them through a sales funnel.
Many first-time homebuyers are uncomfortable talking to real estate agents because they don’t understand the process of buying a home. The Chicago Association of Realtors recommends hosting a seminar for first-time homebuyers to generate leads while earning the trust of people already planning to buy a new home. Take the time to plan and promote an educational event in your area, provide valuable content, and then follow up with attendees to let them know you’re available to answer future questions.
23. Choose Your Own Niche and Master It
Daniela Andreevska, Marketing Director, Mashvisor
One of the best ways to generate leads is to choose a specific niche in the real estate market and focus only on it. While you cannot be the best agent in all possible locations in your state and for all property types, you can select an area and master it. In this way, you will quickly gain a reputation as the top-performing agent in this field, and leads will start coming to you on their own. To get a lot of qualified leads, it’s imperative to establish your name in the real estate industry in your location.
24. Use a Variety of Lead Generation Strategies
Chris Siamof, Broker Associate, Keller Williams Fox Cities Realty, Inc.
I sell a lot of duplexes, so I search Craigslist and Zillow for renters currently looking for new tenants to see if they would like to sell. Additionally, I purchase or contact local municipalities for owner lists of multifamily units and call them. Direct referrals from other agents are usually very good too because they are motivated sellers and buyers. I ask probing questions to determine if they have met with a lender and encourage them to come into the office to formalize the relationship. I text and/or call serious buyers weekly.
Market Leader owns HouseValues.com where potential sellers check to see how much their house is worth. Leads from this site are exclusive and, therefore, extremely sought after and sold out in many ZIP codes. Market Leader also generates buyer leads. Check to see if Market Leader has leads available in your ZIP code.
26. Use High-quality Photos to Attract Clients
Jason Danzi, Owner, Danzi Photography
In 2013, 83% of homebuyers searched the internet when looking to purchase a home. Four years later, in 2017, the percentage of homebuyers who searched the internet when looking for a home jumped to 92%. Consumers are becoming competent with more devices such as laptops and smartphones. These consumers are homebuyers, and they want to shop online.
Their trend is showing us that they recognize how useful technology is and, therefore, they are going to be better at noticing professional real estate photography as opposed to point-and-shoot or smartphone photographs. It is necessary to have professional real estate photos—not just to stand out from the competition, but because they are your first and, sometimes, only impression for the majority of potential homebuyers.
27. Work Probate Leads
Emile L’Eplattenier, Managing Editor, The Close
If you’re curious about working with investors, wholesaling, or investing on your own, there’s no better time than the present. Inventory is tightening, but due to the popularity of flipping houses and investing in rentals, there are tons of investors looking for good agents to work with. Probate leads—people who inherit property after the death of a loved one—can be a good place to start looking for off-market listings.
28. Start a Podcast
Dustin Brohm, Host, Massive Agent Podcast
Podcasting is the most powerful thing I’ve ever done to grow my audience in a deep, meaningful way—and they’re fairly easy to do. Podcasts are not equal to an article, an Instagram Story, or a Facebook post—they’re much more powerful. The stats show that most regular listeners listen to the entire episode. Real estate agents and mortgage loan officers should podcast once per week about what is new in the community, which new businesses are opening up, which events are happening, and so on. As long as you keep it interesting and not about real estate—no market updates—you’ll not only keep local listeners coming back each week for more but you’ll also position yourself as the go-to local expert in your market. In time, and with effective promotion of your show, you’ll even become a local celebrity, no different than the evening news anchor that everyone knows.
29. Get Real Estate Leads With Facebook Live
Tom Ferry, Founder & CEO, Tom Ferry International
At the close of a transaction, stand in front of the house and shoot a Facebook Live video explaining how you closed the deal successfully and got the sellers what they wanted. Then make the point that ultimately, only one buyer could purchase that home. As a result, now you have additional buyers who love the neighborhood and are interested in buying in this community. Ask if anyone has had any thoughts of selling. Finally, boost that post to your desired market.
30. Target Abandoned Properties
Alex Romanov, Acquisitions, I Will Buy House
Driving for dollars involves driving the streets of our city and identifying properties that look dilapidated or abandoned. Once we spot a house that fits our profile, we record the address of the property. Then, we use a mailing service to send marketing materials to the property owner, encouraging them to reach out to us in case they are interested in selling their property. Leads who are interested in what we have to offer call us.
31. Review Analytics to Determine Best Communication Strategies
Chris Linsell, Staff Writer, The Close
One of the keys to taking your relationship marketing to the next level is digging into analytics. When do your contacts tend to respond to email most often? Timing your communication to take place when your clients are spending time online will get you faster, more detailed responses.
32. Post in Facebook Yard Sale Groups
Chris Ratto, Real Estate Investor, Done Right Home Buyers
Facebook yard sale and buy/sell groups are great for getting leads. I usually use a generic post of “I’m looking for a fixer-upper home and willing to pay cash. Anyone selling?” I usually get five to 10 leads out of every post. This also can lead to great networking opportunities.
Have a real estate website but not sure what the best way is to capture leads? This article from HubSpot discusses seven of the best ways to engage customers and capture leads on your website. One great tip is to offer a content upgrade. This means offering more exclusive content like an e-book or members area in exchange for contact information.
Did you know some divorce settlements force people to sell their homes? In fact, it’s estimated that 61% of couples who divorce sell their home as part of the proceedings. However, Lori Ballen indicates that generating leads from people going through a divorce requires some finesse. Agent strategies range from making friends with divorce attorneys and scouring court records for divorces or quitclaim deeds to posting targeted ad campaigns on Facebook.
Andrew Gale, a contributor at Inman and founder of FlyerCo, suggests using social communities like Facebook and LinkedIn, forums, and local meetups to engage potential clients and generate leads. Find opportunities to meet members of your real estate market by engaging in your favorite hobbies, whether it be mountain biking or woodworking. Branching out from real estate agent-specific events not only increases your exposure in the community, but it also distinguishes you from competitors.
To get contact information from leads, you need great lead capture forms on your site. Check out the Realtors Property Resource (RPR) form builder guide via the link above to get started. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to capture user information and generate real estate leads from your website, Facebook, Google Ads, or other online advertising is to offer free market reports for homeowners or buyers.
Hosting a real estate blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website via search and earn loyal followers by providing valuable content. If you want to leverage your blog to capture more real estate leads, check out Honey Bar Media’s real estate blog ideas. In general, blog content should be evergreen, helpful, high-quality, and at least 1,000 words in length. Plus, you should post content on your site at least once a week.
Everyday homebuyers and sellers turn to internet forums like Reddit, City-Data, and StreetEasy for advice. If you can help solve their problems or answer their questions on these forums, they’ll see you as an honest expert and might inquire about your services. Worst-case scenario? You expand your sphere of influence and sharpen your problem-solving skills. Check out BoomTown’s list of top web communities via the link above for ideas of where to build relationships and promote leads.
Twitter, like other social media platforms, is an easy and effective way to share valuable content with followers and convert them into clients. With more than 336 million active monthly users, the platform is a great way to get your listings in front of buyers and generate leads.
However, there are a few guidelines you should follow to use Twitter to generate leads and improve brand visibility. For example, Follow Up Boss shares on its blog that real estate agents should consistently engage with followers, share attractive and informative content, and create a content calendar to ensure you’re posting regularly. However, the blog also warns that agents shouldn’t annoy followers with constant promotional material or be too generic.
Local press coverage occurs when your business is promoted or discussed by local newspapers, radio programs, or TV stations. If you want to do a better job of reaching potential local clients, try generating more local press coverage for your business by developing relationships with newspapers and television stations and engaging with journalists. Click the link above for more detailed information on targeting appropriate media sources and increasing exposure for your business.
If you have an interest in architecture or interior design, chances are you’re already a Pinterest addict. According to Aarin Chung at Community Influencer, Pinterest can also be a great place to generate leads who share your aesthetic—or wish they did. If you take the time to master Pinterest, the next time your client asks what tile would look good in a midcentury modern kitchen, you can share your beautifully curated board.
Retargeting, or remarketing, means showing ads to your website visitors after they leave your site. To incorporate retargeting into your lead generation strategy, include a piece of code called a pixel in your agency’s website. Even after a visitor leaves your site, the code will follow them to Facebook or other social media sites where they will see your ad, thus keeping your property listings top of mind. Check out Parkbench via the link above for more information on retargeting.
If you’re looking to build authority in your farm area, getting as many neighbors as possible to your open houses should be one of your main goals. Abby Connect suggests that a firm handshake and a smile can work better than a decade of real estate flyers or door hangers. However, you should also promote your open house early and often by using social media, the multiple listing service (MLS), signage, and in-person neighborhood outreach.
Bottom Line: Real Estate Lead Generation Ideas
Real estate lead generation ideas can help drive traffic to your website and, as a result, increase leads and sales. You can generate leads for your brokerage by using lead generation platforms, engaging with your community, and more. Find the right combination of lead generation tools and ideas from the 43 pro tips we offer above.