Get leads for real estate: everything you should know

Do you want to get leads for real estate? Here is everything you need to know to get started

Get leads for real estate: everything you should know

Updated 10-17-2023

Getting leads for real estate can sound daunting. Where do you start? How do you nurture the contacts you may already have? What are some strategies for broadening your scope?

Luckily, there are many ways to get leads for real estate. Some are tried and true, such as knocking on doors. Others use digital communication like social media. It is best to have a wide range of options to choose from.

In this article, we will outline these options to give you the best possible start in your career. Here is everything you need to know about getting leads for real estate.

Get leads for real estate: the basics

Before discussing how to get leads for real estate, let’s first look at the basic steps for getting and keeping qualified leads. These steps in getting leads for real estate can be broken down into four:

  1. Start with people you know
  2. Broaden your scope
  3. Nurture relationships
  4. Build your processes for repeatability

Let’s take a closer look at the basic steps for getting leads for real estate.

1. Start with people you know

If you want to get leads for real estate, start with people you know. They have a personal connection with you and will likely be more inclined to work with you than total strangers, at least in the beginning.

People you know can be family and friends or people you know from community activities. It can even be people you are connected to online. They may be able to offer a referral to anyone they know who may require your services.

2. Broaden your scope

After approaching people you know to get leads for real estate, you can then broaden your scope. At this point, you can get creative and reach out to people you don’t know. (More on how to do this further down in the article.) Broadening your scope may mean approaching neighbors, people you meet at networking events, or people you connect to through cold calling.

3. Nurture relationships

In the real estate industry, it is critical to maintain personal connections. They trust you with one of the most important financial decisions of their lives. For this reason, you will want to nurture and grow your relationships by checking in frequently, as well as offering small gifts and well wishes. Negotiating hard on their behalf during the homebuying or selling process is another way to prove to new clients how much they matter.

4. Build your process for repeatability

Now is a good time to reflect on what worked for you at each step. For instance, maybe a certain event was more fruitful for finding interested leads. Maybe contacts responded especially well to certain outreach tactics. Either way, it is important to document your processes for repeatability and continue doing what works.

Where do realtors get most of their leads?

There are many ways for you to get leads for real estate. Lead generation can either be done in person or digitally. While it may require some “get up and go”, you can generate numerous sources by following these 13 tips.

1. Door knocking

While people can be apprehensive about answering a knock on their door if they are not expecting someone, this can be a great way to get leads for real estate. It is especially good if you usually conduct business in a safe neighborhood. It is simple, but it is a great option to get your name and face in front of prospective clients.

2. Cold calling

This is another way to get leads for real estate that may seem old fashioned in today’s digital world. However, like door knocking, cold calling remains a valid tactic to get new clients.

3. Direct mail

Direct mail is another tried-and-true method from what we may term “old school”. The reason direct mail is on this list is that, in many US markets, it remains a successful strategy. You may not have everyone’s email addresses to send them a monthly e-newsletter, for instance, but direct mail is a great option to reach your prospective client base.

4. Past clients

Using past clients to get leads for real estate is by far the best way to attract new clients. In this case, a past client will usually refer you to their family and friends.

Keep in mind, however, that a single good interaction is not necessarily enough to obtain a referral from a past client. It is best practice to stay in touch at least through a monthly or quarterly e-newsletter. This will help you remain top of mind for your past clients.

5. FSBO listings

FSBO means for sale by owner. To get leads for real estate, you can look to FSBO listings to see if any of the owners want to use your services. However, they may not turn to you immediately—despite how strong your pitch may be. It is important to remain patient and respectful of the owners’ decision to sell their property through FSBO listings. You can, however, tactfully show your value so that if they do decide to use an agent, they will use you.

6. Expired listings

Expired listings are another resource, albeit a challenging one. To mine expired listings, it is good to use a similar approach to the one you used for mining FSBO listings. Be respectful of their previous experience with agents. Don’t talk down to them about why their property was not sold or make promises you may not be able to keep. Like many of these tips, you will be better off simply showing the value you will provide. You can do this by charting out a pricing and marketing plan for their property.

7. Former coworkers’ client lists

When leaving one brokerage for another, many agents take their previous clients and their client list with them. However, sometimes they forget. In that case, it is a ready-made list of people who are likely already interested in hiring a real estate agent. Your professional relationship with an agent they previously worked with might also help get your foot in the door.

8. Social media marketing/advertising

Social media is another great—if not necessary—way to get leads for real estate. You may be missing out on a key lead source if you are not already using social media. It could be Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, or another platform. The possibilities are truly endless.

Social media also helps you market yourself. Not only that, but advertising options are much cheaper and more direct than other, more traditional avenues.

9. Traditional marketing/advertising

Traditional marketing and advertising channels still have their place in lead generation despite the reach and power of social media. The ROI may not be the best on certain options, like a giant billboard along the highway. However, it is still worth seeking out cost-effective ways to get your name out there.

10. Social search

Social searching is essentially the updated version of cold calling and knocking door to door. Through social media, you can search (city) condo, moving to (city), or (city) house to find ready-made prospects. Next, just reach out.

If you want to get leads for real estate, use social media to market yourself.

If you want to get leads for real estate, use social media to market yourself.

11. Open houses

Open houses are another good way to generate leads, even if their success in selling a property may be negligible. People who attend open houses are not necessarily going to purchase property. However, you will meet a pool of leads who are in the browsing stages. You may impress these leads by how you conduct yourself and market the listing. It might also cause them to think of you when they do decide to sell their home.

12. Builder and lender business

There are also other professionals you can interact with within the broader real estate industry. These include mortgage lenders and home builders, for instance. Recommending their services to your clients will make it more likely that they will return the favor.

13. Purchased leads

You can use Zillow Premier Agent to advertise a prime location on their site. There is also a list of other options where you can purchase leads as well.

How to get free leads for real estate

If you want to get leads for real estate and avoid up-front costs, you will most likely want to take stock of connections that you already have. In this section, we will look at how to get free leads for real estate.

Remind friends and family

Remind friends and family that you are a real estate agent. While it may seem obvious, it is an important way to get free leads—and people close to you can forget.

A natural way to remind a friend or family member that you are a real estate agent is by bringing up real estate in casual conversation. You may comment on current market conditions, for instance, or tell a story about something that happened at work.

Introduce yourself in your social circle

Your social circle may include other members of your church, your synagogue, or your mosque. This also includes other people in your cycling group, book club, bridge club, or any social group that you belong to. Strike up a conversation at any of these gatherings or events and introduce yourself, casually letting them know that you are a real estate agent. To remain in contact, you can ask to follow them on social media or even get their email address.

Attend community events

Being visible within your community may mean volunteering, speaking at, or attending events. When at an event, make sure you introduce yourself and exchange contact information. You could even hand out your business card or suggest they follow you on social media.

To get started, you can find an event where you can volunteer your expertise or time. Connect with the organizer. Even consider your local Chamber of Commerce. Most organizations host speakers who can speak to success in local businesses. Remember: your knowledge of the housing market makes you quite valuable.

Utilize media

Most communities still have newspapers or newsletters that publish articles of local interest. This can include stories about buying or selling homes, the housing market, or community development, among others.

As a real estate agent, you are an invaluable source of information. You can also start following a nano influencer on Instagram—anything to get the message out that you have knowledge to share.

If you have a local newspaper in your community, you can visit the paper’s office. Introduce yourself to the editor and offer to write articles about real estate.

Get leads for real estate: closing thoughts

To get leads for real estate may seem like an overwhelming task. How do you start the ball rolling? How do you maintain? Luckily, there are numerous ways to get leads, including tried and true methods and using digital communication like social media.

Remember: the more knowledge you have, the better off you will be.

To find out more about how to get leads for real estate, get in touch with one of the mortgage professionals we highlight in our Best of Mortgage section. Here you will find the top performing mortgage professionals across the USA.

Were these tips on how to get leads for real estate helpful? Let us know in the comment section below.