As a real estate agent, you can always invest in paid advertising, contact a lead generation company, build a website, or send out mailers. But all of that costs money. So how do you get real estate leads with no upfront cost?
When you start your career as a Realtor, you may be operating on a lean budget. And that’s not a bad thing. You can build a real estate business quite easily with very little spent at all. After you’ve spent the money on your real estate license, you can get started with these ways to build real estate leads with little to no upfront cost.
“Friends and Family” Referrals
Referrals from friends and family members will always be the best bet for anyone in the real estate industry.
Most people will work with the local agent they are closest to. Not only do they want to support their friends and family, but they also want someone they can trust.
Talk to your friends and family members about whether they’re considering buying or selling a home. You might be surprised to find out who is a potential buyer in your family.
Posting Regularly to Social Media Accounts
You don’t need to pay for Facebook ads to make a name for yourself on social media. You can build a digital following by posting regularly to social media accounts (often both in the morning and in the evening).
Target your content to those in your region (such as highlighting houses in your city), and you’ll quickly have a list of many prospective buyers. A real estate seller can double or triple post most of their MLS listings to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to build a following. This process costs nothing.
Reaching Out to FSBO Owners
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) houses are being sold without an agent.
If you work with an FSBO house, you can still be the buyer’s agent. You might even be able to convince the FSBO owner to let you be their agent, too. This is great, as it means you won’t have to split the commission with another party.
Some FSBO owners do need help finding prospective buyers. They just don’t have a partner agent they can trust. You can reach out to interested buyers or offer to provide your services to them. You can find FSBO owners online and on bulletin boards.
Going to Community Events and Volunteering
Make a name for yourself in the community by attending events and volunteering.
The more you connect with people in your area, the more likely your name is to come up when someone is buying or selling a home.
It’s not complex psychology; people feel safer and more secure with someone who gives back to their community. Through community events and volunteering, you can establish yourself as someone everyone should trust.
Host a Class or Speak at a Conference
Not only does it not cost anything to host a class or speak at a conference, but an agent might even get paid to do so.
By hosting small classes, speaking at conferences, conducting seminars, and even creating online lesson plans, you can reach out to other people interested in your industry.
As long as you are clear about your profession, every interaction you have with people has the potential to turn into a referral. If you’re not getting leads, it’s possible that you just need to meet more people.
Post on Third-Party Marketplaces like Craigslist
Craigslist lets Realtors post their listings for free.
You can take your MLS listings and transfer them directly to Craigslist, Facebook, and other online venues. You can also post them online on your website.
The more places you post, the more exposure you have. Craigslist has a tremendous amount of exposure, while Facebook also lets you target your ads specifically to certain demographics. You’ll find it easier to sell properties when you properly target your audience.
Use Sites like Zillow, Redfin, or Agent Pronto
There are many lead generation sites out there today that promise to give you leads. The major ones, such as Zillow and Agent Pronto, can be surprisingly effective.
However, you should note that even though there may not be an upfront cost, there’s often a substantial cost in the future. For example, while you don’t need to pay upfront for Agent Pronto, they will take a referral fee of 10 percent. You should be aware of what deals you’re making and how they will cut into your bottom line.
With the right lead generation pipeline, you can spend your time closing deals with motivated buyers and sellers—rather than always chasing down the next potential client.
A good real estate agent will eventually find themselves using many of the strategies above and more. The real estate market is constantly evolving. Anything that you do that causes you to meet people will eventually become a lead source.
For now, you can focus on building out your network, fostering relationships with prospective and past clients, and figuring out how to better identify a quality lead.
Do you need to spend money for real estate leads?
Nearly every lead does come at some cost. But most real estate leads come at an eventual cost rather than an upfront one.
A referral lead is nearly always going to take a percentage of the money you would make during closing. So, while they are paid leads, you don’t need to pay the referral fee until you get paid.
What’s the best way to secure real estate leads with no upfront cost?
By far, the best way to secure real estate leads without an upfront cost is always going to be through family, friends, and former clients. When you network with people directly, you get leads without having to put any money in. And you don’t need to pay a referral fee later.
Should I work with a lead generation company?
Companies that specialize in online real estate referral are becoming far more common. In fact, many real estate professionals swear by them. They can offer exclusive leads and know what a qualified lead is.
But because there are so many real estate lead generation companies, you need to be able to tell a trustworthy lead service from the rest. Big names, such as Zillow Premier Agent, tend to be the most reliable.
Will my brokerage get me leads?
It’s your brokerage’s job to send you leads such as prospective buyers and seller leads. But that doesn’t mean you should rely on your brokerage for free lead information.
First of all, a brokerage’s leads aren’t free. While it is not upfront, a broker will take a serious percentage later, whether you’re the listing agent or representing the home buyer.
Second, a broker has responsibility for all its agents. It can’t focus on you exclusively; it has to ensure that each real estate team gets its own real estate leads.
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