Real estate leads can be challenging to find.
It’s even harder when the market is in flux.
But to be a real estate agent, you can’t be easily discouraged. You’ll have to build a complete toolkit of lead generation strategies–and explore many ways to nurture real estate leads.
Leveraging existing relationships, developing a social media following, or even cold calling are lead-generation ideas that can help you build your very first book of business.
How does a new agent get real estate leads?
It’s hard to get leads as a new agent. You might not know anyone in real estate. And your broker isn’t likely to help.
So, how does a new real estate agent get started?
Most agents start with family, friends, colleagues, and even former employers. They work their networks for leads and referrals.
Most people will invest in real estate at some point in their life. Most of them want to invest in real estate through someone they know.
From there, a real estate agent will start participating in events and networking outside their social sphere (and, frequently, comfort zone). Eventually, an agent may find they don’t need to perform much lead generation at all. Instead, they’ll start generating leads passively due to their reputation.
As a new agent, it can feel impossible. You can chase a hundred real estate leads with zero sales. But while real estate lead generation does take time, it gets much easier with practice and experience.
1. Reach out to your existing network
Tap into your existing contacts to generate leads. Reach out to friends, family, and former colleagues. Tell them you’re an agent and ask if they’d be interested in buying or selling a home. Even if they aren’t interested now, they may be in the future.
Real estate is a long game. Your existing network might not be buying or selling a house right now, but who knows what could happen in a year or two.
Give your closest friends and family members your business cards to help them reach out to other contacts and potentially pass them on as referrals. The best lead generation starts at home.
2. Build out Facebook Business and Google Business pages
When someone searches for your business, they’ll first find your Google Business and Facebook Business pages. Use these pages to post content regularly and show potential clients what you’re all about. Keep them updated and ask your clients to post positive reviews.
On your business pages, you can upload photos of your office, showcase listings, and let people know about new developments in the area. Pay for a few Facebook or Google ads to boost your lead generation.
3. Create and curate social media accounts
Social media is a great way to build relationships and brand awareness. It’s also a great place to connect with real estate leads directly. Today, a significant portion of lead generation is performed entirely online.
Create accounts on all of the significant sites and create content that engages people in your target audience. Post content regularly and talk to people directly. Real estate is foremost a people business.
4. Attend local events
Get out of the office and attend events in your area related to real estate. This is an ideal way to meet potential clients, get their contact information, and follow up afterward.
You may feel like the market is already saturated in your region or that you’re fighting with other real estate agents for attention. But everyone has a niche, and you can more likely generate referrals.
5. Ask your clients for referrals
Even if you’re a new agent, you likely have at least a handful of clients. Ask former clients for referrals, and offer them a reward if the referral turns into a paying customer.
Offer discounts or rewards to current customers who help spread the word about your services. When you work with customers, pay attention to what they say and whether they may hint at someone who needs your services.
6. Advertise in local publications
Send an ad in a local magazine or newspaper to promote your services. You can also consider running a radio or television ad if you have the budget. Many people buying a home or passively thinking about it might not think to talk to a real estate agent first. Instead, they’ll have their interest piqued when they see your ad.
Physical ads are one of the more expensive types of lead generation. But they tend to generate real estate leads that are fairly well-motivated, as they need to make an effort to call you rather than shoot off a quick email.
7. Create an email newsletter
Develop an email newsletter and send it out to your existing contacts. This will keep you top of mind and allow you to stay in touch with potential leads. Tools like Substack and Hubspot both make the process of managing an email newsletter easier.
Many real estate leads want to sell their house or buy a house eventually, but the timing isn’t right. If you become the voice of real estate in their eyes, they will come to you first once they’re ready.
8. Partner with other professionals
Reach out to professionals such as attorneys, accountants, or financial advisors who may have clients in the market for real estate. Ask them to refer their clients to you and offer a referral fee if they do, but do check any guidelines within your state regarding referrals.
In reality, people like, for instance, estate attorneys deal with real estate quite a lot (to say nothing of real estate attorneys). They can produce real estate leads for you because they’re already helping people manage their properties. Estate sales professionals also work closely within the real estate industry.
9. Talk to builders
Establishing a relationship with a builder is a great way to get consistent leads in the door. You can offer to take on any of their overflow clients, or you may be able to negotiate a referral fee for each lead.
Many builders want to work specifically with a handful of agents for their real estate leads. They want someone to make themselves available to them and their potential sales. You won’t make as much with these real estate leads as you might otherwise, but it’s a good way to get your foot in the door.
10. Use online advertising
Google Ads and other online advertising platforms provide an effective way to reach potential leads. You can bid on keywords related to real estate or use geo-targeting to target people in specific areas.
Online advertising is being used less to develop real estate leads due to privacy concerns and limits on targeting. But it’s still very effective for those who aren’t bringing in leads organically yet.
11. Host seminars
Educate potential leads by hosting seminars or workshops on topics related to real estate. This is also a great way to network with people in your area, so be sure to add time for a meet and greet. You may be a new agent, but you can still run seminars for things like home staging.
Local universities, community centers, and even home improvement stores will frequently welcome seminars by real estate agents. Look for upcoming conventions and other similar opportunities.
12. Join the Chamber of Commerce
Become an active member of your local Chamber of Commerce and take advantage of the networking opportunities they offer. You can also sponsor events on their website.
Talk to your Chamber of Commerce, as there’s likely a coalition of business owners you can join.
13. Make cold calls
You’ll have to buy call lists, so find a reputable, affordable service—all people in your area who may be interested in buying or selling a home. Be prepared with information about your services and why they should work with you.
Note that this tactic for lead generation is harder to pull off now; many people have gotten used to real estate professionals calling them to purchase their homes.
To develop quality leads, you should probably try a different strategy. But it doesn’t hurt to make a few calls.
14. Reach out to FSBOs
You can find FSBOs on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Reach out to them to find out where they are on their home-selling journey. You can then offer your services if they need help. Pay special attention to listings that have been up for a while, but remember that they may have a reason that they aren’t selling.
Another way to find FSBOs is to drive around a location you want to sell. You will see “for sale by owner” signs in the yard. Consider talking to them about the real estate market and offering your help.
15. Knock on doors (or leave flyers)
Take the time to go door-to-door in neighborhoods you would like to target and introduce yourself as an agent. This is a great way to meet people interested in purchasing real estate. But try not to bother people when they would be otherwise occupied, such as during dinner. You’re interrupting people, so bring a gift.
If you don’t want to knock, leave a flyer instead. Your flyer can highlight a current real estate listing or some of the houses that you’ve previously sold.
16. Sponsor a local event
Host or sponsor a local event related to real estate and ensure your contact information is readily available. People who attend the event may be interested in working with you in the future. Even if not, it’s a great way to make other connections in your region.
When deciding which events to sponsor, consider who you want to connect with. You want quality leads in your area interested in the housing stock you can provide.
17. Direct mail
Don’t want to go out? You don’t have to. Create targeted direct mail campaigns to reach potential leads within your area. Include a call to action and ensure your contact information is easy to find. Think carefully about where to send the mail. For instance, an area high in renters is a better candidate for targeting buyers than sellers.
There are many types of mailers available for real estate lead generation. You can send out current and previous listings or even an estimated offer on their home. Take a look at templates used by other real estate professionals for ideas.
18. Host open houses
Hold open houses for other real estate agents. Focus on neighborhoods you’d like to target and invite people from the area to attend. You’ll be introduced to people looking to purchase a house while also helping sell a colleague’s listing.
Working more closely with your colleagues often throughout their lead-generation process can help you build your own. You’ll get a better handle on identifying quality leads and a deeper connection with the neighborhoods you service.
19. Offer incentives
Offer incentives to people who refer others to you or come in for a consultation. This could be anything from discounts on services to gift cards.
Ask your brokerage or consult your local NAR resource regarding what referral gifts are allowed and advised in your area.
20. Invest in marketing technology
Take advantage of marketing platforms to consolidate your advertising. For instance, a customer relationship management suite can help you automate your social media and email marketing to make it faster and more efficient. CRMs can also score leads for you, identifying the leads most likely to commit.
In the real estate business, you need to juggle vast numbers of contacts. Real estate lead generation doesn’t come easy. Technology makes it easier to remember things about your buyer and seller leads and to ensure that you aren’t missing something important.
21. Buy real estate leads
Not just lead lists. You can buy leads directly from services like Zillow. These leads are already interested in real estate, and the service will provide you with contact information. You need to contact them and follow up. Sometimes, you can pay a flat fee for leads. Other times, you’ll have to pay a referral percentage.
Which service is better is constantly in flux. Most won’t offer exclusive leads, though some let you purchase exclusivity within a specific zip code. Today, many real estate agents work with multiple services for their lead generation.
22. Network at broader industry events
Take the time to attend industry events, such as trade shows or conferences. This is a great way to get your name out there and make new connections that can lead to potential leads.
Be ready to make a great first impression. A national event, for instance, might garner local referrals from real estate agents who operate out of town.
23. Join a real estate team
Joining a real estate team can help you learn the ropes and quickly generate leads. Working with experienced agents will give you access to their contacts and knowledge, which are essential to succeeding in the real estate industry.
24. Connect with local businesses
Reach out to local businesses with employees looking to buy or sell a home. Offer your services and let the business know they can refer their employees to you.
The more local businesses you connect with, the more opportunities to you have to build your reputation.
25. Join networking groups
Join local networking groups in your area and attend events related to real estate. This can be a great way to meet people and make connections that could lead to new clients. You’ll often find that networking groups are also filled with people new to the industry; these can become career-long contacts.
26. Talk to expired listings
Reach out to expired listings and offer your services. These people may be open to working with you, as they couldn’t sell their home before. You can purchase lists of expired properties. Your real estate CRM may often include a list of expired properties as a tool. Remember that an expired listing may still be under-representation; there’s a cooling-off period.
27. Donate to charities
Make donations to local charities and include your contact information with the donation. Those who receive the donations may be interested in working with you for their real estate needs. Live auctions are an excellent method of getting your name out there, as the items frequently say who they have been donated by.
28. Join Meetup groups
Join Meetup groups related to real estate in your area and participate in the conversations. This is a great way to build relationships with potential leads and make connections that may lead to more business. Meetup groups are primarily recreational so you can relax and network without being “on.”
29. Create a blog
Think about McMansionHell. There are many famous real estate blogs. Create a blog site with content related to real estate and share it on social media. This will help you build your brand and demonstrate your expertise in the industry, which may lead to more leads for you.
30. Purchase a marketing service
Invest in a marketing consulting company. These services will help you target potential leads and give you advice regarding your branding and strategies. This can be even more important when starting, as you still need to establish a baseline for your branding.
These are just a few ideas to get you started when it comes to generating real estate leads for new agents. With creativity and hard work, you can build up your client base and succeed in the industry.
Generating real estate leads can be a challenging task for new agents. However, with the right strategies and hard work, you can get the leads you need to start ramping up your business.
Try a few of the above strategies. And then try a few more. Eventually, you’ll figure out what kind of real estate agent you want to be.
New agents can generate leads by hosting open houses, offering referral incentives, buying leads from services like Zillow, networking at industry events, or even joining a team. Use a lot of strategies. Eventually, you’ll find the strategies that you enjoy best.
It depends. It may be worth investing in paid lead services if you are in a competitive market and need leads fast. However, if you have time to build your network and create relationships within the industry, it may be better to focus on free-generating leads.
Realtors can get client leads through word-of-mouth, social media, or even creating a blog. They may also purchase lead services from businesses specializing in real estate consulting. Additionally, Realtors can reach out to expired listings and donate to charities to get their name out there.