Buy real estate leads to get your real estate business moving fast.
But be skeptical — there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Purchased leads are a boon in a slow season and for those still building their books of business. But there are a lot of scams out there… and services that aren’t worth what you pay for them.
You’ll find dozens upon dozens of sites claiming to get you leads easily. But if it’s so easy, why isn’t everyone using them?
Why should you buy real estate leads?
It’s fast. It’s easy. There’s no commitment.
Buying leads is a great way to jumpstart your business. Many companies sell leads, and they generally come in a few flavors.
- “List” companies. You purchase a list of people willing to sell their house. They’ve either expressed interest in selling their house, or they’re “distressed” — nearing foreclosure or behind on their taxes.
- Third-party real estate companies. Think Zillow, Redfin, etc. These companies will forward you leads that they generate themselves. Sometimes you need to join to become one of their agents.
- Mortgage companies and FinTech. Some mortgage originators today, such as RocketMortgage, will let you become one of “their” realtors. They will send people to you, but you’ll need to discount your commission.
- A lead generation company. You can also purchase a service that will generate leads the old-fashioned way: by creating a website for you and building your social media. Now your leads are your leads.
Lead generation services can range from a few hundred dollars per transaction to a commission percentage. You could be out a few bucks or thousands of dollars. In general, the more you pay, the more qualified those leads are.
Every real estate professional should invest in building their qualified real estate leads, whether they create their own website or hire someone to do so. You can mix and match: pay for some leads and get other leads free.
What do you need to look out for when purchasing real estate leads?
There are a lot of real estate agents out there. Most of them are avidly looking for leads. And that introduces some problems.
Most leads have already been followed.
If you purchase a lead list, you need to be aware that many other people have done it before you. And they’ve already followed up on those leads. Those leads may either have already sold their house (or bought a house)… or they may be entirely uninterested because of so many people calling them.
A lot of lead lists are already expired.
When it comes to distressed houses, well, they usually aren’t distressed for long. You can purchase a list of foreclosures only to find that most foreclosed six months ago. The data isn’t usually collected in real-time.
Not everyone on a lead list wants to sell their home.
Lead lists are often comprised of people that someone thinks might want to sell their home. In other words, a list of people who are behind on tax payments or facing eviction. A lot of these people don’t want to be in the situation they’re in and will resent you for asking about selling their home. They may be in dire financial straits and not need a reminder.
Most leads provided by third parties aren’t well-qualified.
If you’re getting leads from a third-party service, such as Zillow, on the other hand, note that many of them aren’t well-qualified. Someone fills out an online form, and you get pinged. So, you will get leads from them (and often fairly cheap leads), but most of them may not have any real intent to buy or sell a house. You have to do all the qualifying yourself, even if you don’t have to generate real estate contacts.
Third parties have their own agenda.
Note that these third-party services are also fairly aggressive about their marketing strategies. They will repeatedly ask your leads whether they’re still working with you — and if you haven’t immediately found them a home, they may switch your lead to a different agent. Plus, they usually will only work with a limited number of agents per zip code.
Most well-qualified leads are only offered at a discount.
If you do get well-qualified leads from a service, you’ll likely be asked to take a flat rate commission. That’s not the end of the world, but it is something to consider. It may be that you’d make more money generating your own leads.
The best places to buy real estate leads in 2022
Many reputable companies sell leads. The reality is that not every company wants to manage a real estate transaction — they want to facilitate it. So, even though you do need to look out for scams and hidden charges, there are opportunities out there.
In general, you don’t want to buy paid leads. You want to purchase a service that will provide real estate lead generation, whether in the form of a Google ad campaign, content marketing site, or a CRM, to separate quality leads from unqualified leads.
With that in mind, here are some of the best services for buying real estate leads and building your lead generation.
BoldLeads is a great option for novice real estate agents or agents who want to take a hands-off approach. At BoldLeads, they launch Google and Facebook ads on your behalf, then deliver exclusive leads. All you have to do is nurture those leads and close the sale.
This platform also offers a feature-rich CRM that automates your follow-up. The CRM can send out text, email, or voice campaigns, then show you which contact methods yield the best engagement.
There is also a Text Concierge that can speed up the process of qualifying leads. All of this, however, comes with a hefty price tag. Users must sign a contract and spend at least $250 a month on ads, plus monthly fees. Most agents using BoldLeads spend around $500 a month.
If you are willing to go a little more hands-on in your data analysis, Offrs could be the right lead market for you. Offrs provides exclusive listing leads. They even plumb underutilized pools such as expired listing leads and for sale by owner homes.
Pricing on this lead generation platform is in the middle of the pack. There is a $300 per month cost per zip code, plus a 10-cent fee for each exclusive lead.
Offrs is a little less user-friendly than some other sites. You can export Smart Data to analyze, but there are no built-in third-party integrations. The platform also lacks built-in follow-up and CRM tools.
REDX is a resource for those looking for sellers to represent. The platform has an unusual approach that can get you access to leads others in your market might not find. They curate information from public data to get you lists of FSBO, pre-forclosure, expired leads, and geo-based leads.
All leads are compared against the Do Not Call list, so you can be assured that you don’t get into legal trouble by reaching out. Leads are automatically loaded into REDX’s CRM, Vortex. Vortex comes with features that include a Power Dialer option and scripts to work with tough customers.
Prices for leads through this platform range from $39.99 to $119.98. Many agents report that these leads can be tougher to convert than some others because they are people who may not be looking for a real estate agent.
But, if you are considering casting a wider net and have a lot of patience for sifting through leads,
this can be a great resource.
CINC starts like many other platforms, bringing you exclusive leads from targeted ads on Google and Facebook. What makes them different is their end-to-end lead management. Their platform combines lead generation, lead management, and marketing options all on a single platform.
CINC allows for a great deal of customization. Leads are sent to an IDX website that can be configured to fit your personal style and niche.
Once leads come in, CINC will automatically deploy drip campaigns. Then, they will track engagement so you can follow up accordingly. On the plus side, this lead generation tool offers the lowest cost per lead. However, that is somewhat canceled out by the $1,500 monthly fee.
SmartZip is a great choice for established agents who want to connect with repeat sellers.
The platform uses predictive analytics to identify potential sellers, giving you a jump on the competition. It also has highly customizable landing pages to implement your branding.
This is not a standalone tool for attracting buyers; SmartZip exclusively provides data on people likely to sell their homes. You would need to use another tool in tandem with SmartZip to market to homebuyers.
This is also a tool that is a better fit for those who can nurture leads over a longer period. Agents who use SmartZip often take a year or more to see big results. Costs vary by location.
6. Market Leader
Real estate pros looking for long-term stability may find that Market Leader is a great fit for them.
This platform guarantees to provide a specific number of exclusive leads in your target area every month. At $139 a month plus $25 per lead, you can set a predictable budget.
They also offer automated lead nurturing and a free lead conversion course to help you get more sales.
On the con side, Market Leader requires a bit of extra footwork for those who want to track their leads and conversions, as there is no internal lead-tracking feature. They also require a six or twelve-month contract, so you are locked into a commitment.
Zurple is good for agents who work in a wide geographic area. The platform will generate leads in up to 10 target areas. You can also buy additional search engine marketing from Zurple or bring your leads into their CRM.
Zurple will analyze prospects’ search histories to give you the data you need to engage with them. At $309 a month, it has one of the lower monthly fees; agents should be aware, however, that the fee does not include the cost of ads.
8. Zillow Premier Agent
This Zillow offering is a bit different than most lead generation platforms. Instead of selling real estate leads to agents, it prompts prospects to reach out to you. Zillow’s showcase advertising pages have space for three agents. If you work in a low-competition zip code, you can be featured for cheap. In more crowded markets, it takes a higher bid to get featured.
When a prospect reaches out to you via Zillow’s My Agent feature, you become the only agent they’ll see on the site for 30 days. During that time, Zillow’s CRM will send you reminders and information about your prospects’ home searches.
The CRM has useful features, such as texting from the site. However, like any lead generation site, there are potential drawbacks. It can be expensive to use if you are in a crowded market. And there is no guarantee that you will get leads.
If you like to create your content yourself, Parkbench offers unusual lead generation and branding capabilities. This platform is especially good for agents who want to work primarily with referrals. Reviews indicate that their leads convert well. This is, in part, because of the exclusivity they offer. They work with a single realtor in each community.
Agents will need to track their leads to see what approaches offer the best conversions. This is also a long-term commitment. Parkbench requires a 12-month contract, which will run between $3,500 and $6,500, depending on your local market.
And, oof course, you could always run your own ads.
Conclusion: Work with a service that helps you build your leads
You may have noticed that I didn’t list “buy listing” services or third-party companies. Instead, I focused on the services that help you build your lead generation on your own. You don’t want to be left high and dry if you don’t want to use a service (or if they increase their costs). You want to be in control of your marketing.
Most agents who buy real estate leads will find that different resources work for them at different points in their careers. You may need a site to advertise for you at first — but later, you need a CRM.
Test out these services and find the one that you need to grow as both an agent and a business.
Leads can be found by sending physical mailers, cold calling potential buyers and sellers, and purchasing them from real estate lead providers. The best leads are often word-of-mouth. Clients you nurture today will refer other clients tomorrow — it just takes time to build your momentum.
Paying for leads allows you to get access to good prospects more quickly. And if you’re paying to create a website, build out social media, or even generate PPC ads, you’re paying for marketing momentum that will grow over time. It’s usually not worth it to just buy leads, but it’s definitely worth it to pay to generate leads.
The price of a lead varies widely depending on the source you use and the competition in your geographic location and niche. A lead can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
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