Feb 13 2020

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43 Real Estate Lead Generation Ideas 2019 [Free & Paid]

With marketing getting 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).

1. Generate Hot Leads Using Zillow

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 92% of homebuyers use the internet to house hunt. With more than 160 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.

2. Close More Leads With Conversion Training

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. Use LinkedIn for Real Estate Lead Generation

LinkedIn is not only a great tool for networking but also an incredible place to generate new leads for your real estate brokerage. In this article from Realtyna, you get everything you need to generate leads on LinkedIn. For example, it’s important to maximize your agency’s LinkedIn presence by creating a unique, professional, and informative profile. If you want to generate maximum leads through LinkedIn, you should also use the platform’s advanced search tool to identify promising contacts in your market, engage with groups, and share valuable content.

4. Follow Up With 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My go-to lead source is to contact expired and withdrawn listings as well as for sale by owner (FSBO) listings.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 market for a closed transaction is 52 while mine is 18.

5. Get Real Estate Leads With Facebook Ads

LeadsBridge, a lead generation platform, suggests that agents generate leads on Facebook by posting both listing-specific content like testimonials and property photos and more general content to attract follows. Ideas for general content include tips on home buying or maintenance, seasonal content, and community events.

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

6. Generate Real Estate Leads From Your Website

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.

7. Find Divorcees Who Are Selling

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 suggests 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.

8. Tap Your Spheres of Influence

Matthew Kammeyer, Broker, CCIM, Five Star Property Management

Hands down, our best source of sales clients come from our SOI [sphere of influence[. The people who know, like, and trust us are the ones most likely to refer us. I found that my job is to be on 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.

9. Share Resources With Potential Clients

Jlyne Hanback, Realtor, e-Pro, PSA, Keller Williams Realty

One of my 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.

10. Automate Your Lead Nurturing to Grow Repeat Clients & Referrals

One of the biggest mistakes newer agents make is not regularly following up with their leads and connections. Once an agent starts generating more than 15 news leads per month, managing leads exclusively through email and calendar reminders becomes infeasible. At that point, you’re better off automating it with a relationship focused CRM like Freshsales. If you want a free trial, then click here.

11. Host Local Educational Events

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.

12. Create Free Branded iOS & Android Apps

Having a responsive lead-generation website is important, but having your own branded app can take your lead generation to the next level. Use a service like AppInstitute to design and build your own app quickly and easily without any coding experience. Once users download your app from iTunes or the Google Play Store, you can send them automated or manual push notifications for new listings, price reductions, or promotions.

Plus, since the message shows up in their phone’s notification area, the chances of potential clients seeing your content are much higher than with email marketing. Best of all, creating an app with AppInstitute is free. You only pay a monthly management fee, starting at just $6 per month.

13. Use Your Hobbies to Get More Real Estate Leads

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.

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.

15. Use Buyer & Seller Lead Generation Websites

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 leads, Real Geeks lets you build an IDX (internet data exchange)-enabled home search site that it advertises for you on Google. Leads are encouraged to exchange their contact information for listing updates. Once they’re in its system, it offers powerful CRMs with drip campaigns, automated text messaging, automated lead nurturing, 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. 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 just 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 not only are a good listener but are also tech-savvy, which is a growing need for real estate agents.

17. Work Probate Leads

According to Emile L’Eplattenier, Managing Editor of, 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.

18. Send Handwritten Notes to Your Leads

Gina Castrorao, Realtor, Triplemint

Handwritten notes are a way of continued 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.

19. Create Evergreen Web Content

Mary Clare Bland, Blog Editor-in-Chief, Moving2Madrid

We get most of our leads from our website. The past year we have been generating long-form evergreen articles — 1,200-plus words — mixed with shorter term “news” articles. All of the long-form evergreen content is heavily researched and updated when appropriate.

People read these reference articles, which all contain two CTAs [calls to action], and then request a consultation with our experts directly online. This past summer, we saw a large uptick in United States-based clients — all came from our internet site.

20. Use Door Hangers to Get More Leads

The biggest benefit of door hangers over direct mail is that your leads are guaranteed to see your message. Door hangers won’t get lost in a pile of bills since people need to remove them to go inside their homes. ProspectsPLUS! offers beautifully printed one-sided and two-sided door hangers specifically for agents and real estate lead generation. Click here to choose from one of their beautiful, professionally designed templates or upload your own design.

21. Use a Form Builder to Offer Free Market Reports

To get their contact information, you’re going to need great lead capture forms on your site. Check out RPR’s guide to six powerful form builders to get started. For example, one of the best ways to generate real estate leads from your website visitors, Facebook, AdWords, or other online advertising is to offer free market reports for homeowners or buyers that you can create quickly and easily with RPR.

22. Increase Engagement on Your Real Estate Blog

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.

23. Optimize Organic Google Searches

Shawn Breyer, Owner, Breyer Home Buyers

All of our leads come from organic Google searches. We spent 15 months just building out SEO (search engine optimization) for our site before we even started our business. We knew that we wanted a marketing channel that would provide us with free leads without much involvement or a massive marketing budget.

24. Offer Free Real Estate Advice on Forums

Everyday homebuyers and sellers turn to internet forums like Reddit, City-Data, and StreetEasy for advice. If you can help solve their problem, 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.

25. 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% percent 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.

26. Generate Real Estate Leads on Twitter

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. Plus, it’s estimated that 80% of users have used Twitter to talk about a specific brand.

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.

27. Hire Your Own Inbound Sales Agent

It may take a bit more legwork, but hiring a dedicated onsite or virtual inside sales agent (ISA) to prospect leads on commission can take your team to the next level and The Real Estate Trainer can help. Generating leads is an important part of growing your real estate business, but a lead is only as good as your follow-up. If you need help choosing an ISA and aren’t sure how to vet applicants, click the link above for The Real Estate Trainer’s guide to hiring agents to nurture your leads.

28. Generate Local Press Coverage

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.

29. Show Off Your Real Estate Style on Pinterest

If you have an interest in architecture or interior design, chances are you’re already a Pinterest addict. According to Honey Bar Media, 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 mid-century modern kitchen, you can share your beautifully curated board.

30. Buy Exclusive Leads From Market Leader

Market Leader owns “” 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.

31. Use Retargeting to Convert Web Traffic

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 where they will see your ad, thus keeping your property listings top of mind. Check out via the link above for more information on retargeting and visit our guide to learn how to install a retargeting pixel on your site.

32. Drive Curious Neighbors to Your Open House

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 MLS [multiple listing service], signage, and in-person neighborhood outreach.

33. Generate Leads With Backlinks

Backlinking occurs when a website links to any other page or site. If you want to drive more traffic to your website and generate more leads, consider partnering with other sites to maximize your online exposure through backlinks. Check out the LinkResearchTools guide to SEO link building above for more helpful insight. For example, providing testimonials, starting your own blog, and requesting backlinks from other real estate bloggers can go a long way toward increasing brand visibility.

34. Try Free Real Estate Lead Generation Using Craigslist

If you’re looking for a free way to generate some solid leads, check out Than Merrill’s guide to using Craigslist. Posting listings on Craigslist is a great — and free — way to share listing information with your community. You can either post the ads yourself or use a CRM to post ads straight from the MLS. However, avoid posting too many ads too quickly as Craigslist will flag these accounts.

35. Target Specific Home 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.

36. Wear a Name Badge or Branded Gear

It may seem cheesy at first, but wearing a name tag at networking events, open houses, seminars, and other events where you’re likely to be seen by potential clients is a great way to generate leads. Forbes also suggests increasing brand exposure by opting for a branded shirt, hat, or laptop case that feels more appropriate when traveling, playing golf, or even running errands. Then, if anyone mentions your company or asks about your listings, be prepared with a quick elevator pitch and a business card.

37. Focus on Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing can help you and your agents generate leads in the short term and stay top of mind with potential clients. The Close suggests that you do this by staying highly organized, having great content, following up consistently, and using analytics to glean insights from your performance. When relationship marketing is done properly, even leads who aren’t ready to buy or sell a home now will think of you first when the time comes.

38. Use Social Proof

Highlighting your successes in your blog, on social media, and as part of interactions with the community is an incredible way to generate leads. As Bonnie Marcus at Forbes points out, not only do potential leads want to see how well you performed for previous clients, sharing success stories on social media and linking to your happy clients is a great way to grow your sphere of influence and generate more leads. Just be sure to get permission from your clients first.

39. Start a Podcast

Radio may be falling out of favor, but it’s estimated that 48 million Americans are weekly podcast listeners and that number is growing. Many real estate podcasts are for industry experts to expand their knowledge and keep abreast of issues facing the markets. However, you can also use a podcast to communicate with potential homebuyers and sellers. Start a podcast using Carrot’s guide linked to above and create content that demonstrates your local real estate knowledge, educates potential clients, and grows your business.

40. 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, 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.

41. 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.

42. Only Pay for Qualified Leads

Daniela Andreevska, Marketing Director, Mashvisor

Many agents and brokers refuse to enter into paid lead generation programs because of the upfront cost. However, the truth of the matter is that paying for leads, as long as they are qualified, is worth it. It will save you lots of time, effort, and money from marketing, which you can put toward working with your clients and finding the best possible home or investment property for them. Make sure to only sign up for lead generation programs that allow you to decide which lead is qualified and which lead is not as that’s the only way to secure 100% satisfaction.

43. 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.

The Bottom Line – Real Estate Lead Generation

Real estate lead generation can help your agency drive traffic to your website, maintain, and grow your market, and increase 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 tips from the 43 we offer above to increase conversions and make sales.

About the Author

Kiah Treece

Kiah Treece is a staff writer at Fit Small Business. As an MS/JD, Kiah was formerly an environmental scientist and attorney specializing in regulatory compliance and real estate development. During law school, she served as an editor of the Law Review and edited manuscripts for faculty and students around the world. When not writing for Fit Small Business, Kiah enjoys yoga, crafting, and working on the farm she shares with her husband and pet pig.


Written by admin