Everyone talks about how to get real estate leads. But some of those methods are pretty costly. If you’re just starting out, you probably want leads that are affordable-or entirely free.
The good news is that there are actually a lot of effective and free real estate lead generation strategies. To get these free real estate leads, you just need to be willing to do the work.
1. Networking and referrals.
One of the most effective ways to generate leads is by building relationships with other real estate professionals and real estate investors in your area. This can be through joining local associations or participating in industry events. Leverage those contacts to get introductions to prospective clients. Get involved and know who’s who in your area and what’s going on.
It takes time to get good at networking. And it takes time for your real estate lead generation to build momentum. When you network today, you’re really networking for a month from now or even a year from now. But know that if you’re consistent in your networking efforts, you will eventually reap the benefits.
2. Social media and online ads.
Thanks to the power of the internet, it’s easier than ever to reach a large audience with your marketing message. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become popular venues for real estate lead generation. Consider running online ads targeting people in your area who are interested in buying or selling a home. As a real estate agent, you can target your ads to not only specific regions but incomes and stages of life.
If you want to generate real estate leads completely free, social media doesn’t have to cost you a thing. Simply by posting frequently, engaging with others, and connecting with your community, you can get your name out there. Remember that real estate is local and the internet is not-target your community specifically if you don’t want to waste your efforts.
3. Open houses.
Another great way to generate leads is by hosting open houses in your zip code. This can be a great way to showcase your listings and connect with potential buyers. If you’re just starting out, now is the time to reach out to other professionals and offer to run open houses for them. You’ll build confidence as well as connections.
An open house is also a good way to get a feel for the market. The more open houses you attend, the more you’ll get an instinctive feel for when your market is pushing forward and when it’s pulling back. Use that knowledge to better assist your clients.
When you host an open house for your own listing, make sure that you have all your marketing materials in hand. You’ll frequently find that you can run into prospective real estate clients, such as a potential buyer who isn’t yet working with an agent.
4. Public speaking and workshops.
Becoming a thought leader in your local real estate community can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field, and this can help you generate more quality leads. Consider speaking at conferences or community events, or offering workshops on topics related to real estate. You don’t have to already be a best-of-the-best mastermind to host a few “first-time buyer” seminars.
5. Email marketing campaigns.
Using email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your existing network of contacts and keep them informed about new listings or other relevant information. You can create email templates that make it easy to send out regular updates and stay top of mind with potential leads.
If you want to spend some money, you can also buy email lists or leads. But this is rarely useful, because these lists are outdated, and because other people have already purchased them and are using them. Instead, try to get emails from people around you who are interested in buying, even if they may not be ready to commit now. You never know when they might stumble upon their dream home.
6. Lead magnets and content marketing.
Offering valuable content on your website or blog is another great way to attract new leads to your business. This could be in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, or other content that addresses your target audience’s needs and interests.
But remember again that real estate is local. You want to reach out to a specific audience unless you have enough money to run a widespread content marketing campaign. If you’re selling luxury houses in Dallas, concentrate on that Dallas metro market.
Apart from that, make sure your real estate business is listed on things like Facebook and Google My Business. At a minimum, you want to make sure your business is searchable for a potential client.
7. Affiliate marketing partnerships.
Another effective way to generate real estate leads is through affiliate marketing relationships with other businesses in your area, such as mortgage brokers or home inspectors. This can help you tap into their networks of contacts to find new clients who might be interested in your services.
When you’re just starting out, you often don’t have a lot of personal real estate relationships. Using a platform or networking with an already created real estate community can help you build those relationships and make a name for yourself within your neighborhood.
8. Referral fees or commissions.
If you’re working with other agents or brokers who have access to a large network of contacts, then consider offering them referral fees or commissions for leads that turn into closed deals. This can be an effective way to generate more leads and close more sales in your business.
Specifically, consider networking with agents who can’t work in your area. If you’re in Dallas, you’ve probably noticed a lot of people moving in from California-maybe there’s a California agent who can send referrals your way. Likewise, maybe you’ve noticed a lot of your connections moving to Colorado. Maybe there’s a Colorado agent you can connect with to deliver them referrals.
Referrals may sometimes cost you money, but it’s on the backend; you at least don’t need to pay upfront.
9. Partnering with real estate startups and tech companies.
There are a number of exciting new real estate startups and technology companies emerging, and partnering with these businesses can be another great way to generate free leads for your business. Look for opportunities to collaborate or offer discounted services in exchange for referrals or introductions. Sometimes, they do charge you… but again, it’s on the backend, once the deal has been brokered.
An example of this would be how Better and Rocket Mortgage both have networks of real estate agents that they refer business to. These aren’t real estate agents they employ; they aren’t brokers. They’re real estate agents that are doing business with them, usually without an upfront cost.
10. Leveraging your sphere of influence.
You likely have a large network of contacts already, including friends, family members, and past clients. Utilize these relationships as much as possible to generate more leads for your business. This could be through hosting open houses or networking events in your area, or simply staying in touch with old friends who might become new clients.
Even posting new listings on your personal Facebook could ultimately give you leads. And if your friends and family members know and trust you already, they’re more likely to come to you when they need to broker a deal.
11) Talk to builders.
If you live in an area with new construction, talk to the builders. Many times they are looking for good real estate agents to recommend to their buyers. This can be a great way to get leads.
Builders have been going up and down for a bit now. They’ve been very popular due to the hot market; a lot of people have given up on trying to buy a house and have considered building. But with interest rates going up, a lot of people are wary, too.
Regardless, having this in your back pocket can make you a better agent. It’s possible that the best thing for your clients isn’t trying to compete in the real estate rat race, but to try to make a deal with a builder instead.
12) Get involved in your community.
There are many ways to do this, such as volunteering, coaching a sports team, or being a part of the PTA. Getting involved will help you meet new people, which can lead to getting new clients.
As a real estate agent, it’s important to understand that every single thing you do is really a networking opportunity. Let people know what you do and how you can help them. You don’t need to be in “sales mode” all the time; you just need to be open to these connections. Eventually, they’ll pay off.
13) Reach out to FSBOs.
Many home sellers don’t want to deal with the hassle of listing their properties. If you have a proven system for working with these leads, they can be extremely valuable.
You can look up FSBO homes on Zillow or Trulia right now. Another idea is to look at Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and even (sometimes) NextDoor. You can walk through your neighborhood and look for signs.
Sometimes FSBOs have a negative impression of the real estate market and don’t want to deal with real estate agents at all. More frequently, they don’t really understand what an agent can do for them, are intimidated by the process, or worry it would cost them too much. Reaching out in a personable, friendly fashion can help.
14) Contact expired listings.
You may not be able to get past clients as leads right away, but it’s worth trying to contact them after a certain period of time has passed. Expired listings indicate that someone tried to sell a property and was motivated to sell their property, but just could not.
It’s possible that something happened in their life situation, maybe they were just pricing their property too high, or perhaps their property needed too many repairs. Regardless, it’s possible that you can find a solution.
Most of all, just keep going. There are dozens of strategies out there to connect a real estate professional with leads. But it’s really about the energy you put out there. If you’re working hard every day, talking to people, and forming connections, you’ll get those leads. It’s just a matter of time.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to get leads within your community. Some of them are simple, and some of them are complex. Some of them can pay off immediately… others will take some time. Importantly, all of them are proven methods that real estate agents are using today to bolster their reach.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get leads. But you do need to take the time to reach out to people and to get creative. The more effort you put in, the more you’ll get back.
How can I get free real estate leads?
There are a number of ways to get free real estate leads, including online advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and partnering with other businesses in your area. Networking is the #1 way to get leads: always look for opportunities to connect.
Are Zillow leads free?
Zillow offers a variety of lead generation services, including pay-per-click advertising, featured listings, and contact forms that allow consumers to request more information from agents. Some of these leads are free, while others come at a cost. If you’re looking to generate raw leads (without listings) on the site or to use something like the Zillow Premier Agent service, you’ll have to pay. If you’re looking to advertise a listing or an open house, you can put it on the site for free.
Where is the best place to get real estate leads?
It depends on your area, your target market, and your marketing budget. That said, many agents find online advertising and social media marketing to be the most effective lead generation strategies.
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