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Having qualified, consistent leads as a real estate professional is the lifeline of a successful business. So knowing the best practices for lead generation in real estate is crucial, especially in a competitive, ever-changing real estate market like today.

Whether you are looking to grow your leads or need help getting started, this guide to lead generation in real estate will help you build a stable of quality potential leads in no time.

What is lead generation in real estate?

Lead generation is the process of sourcing prospective clients to increase exposure or interest in your business with the hope of converting the lead into a sale. In real estate, lead generation is the way you source potential buyers and sellers for real estate transactions.

Why is lead generation important for real estate professionals?

In the real estate industry, lead generation is important for both real estate investors and real estate agents because it’s the manner in which you find and market to potential leads in order to grow your business.

Lead generation can be free or paid and can include scouring online websites, searching for “For Sale By Owner” signs, buying leads, direct mail marketing, email marketing, or using social media, but a good lead generation method will bring the leads to you — rather than you having to hunt for your next sale.

How do you generate leads in real estate?

Build your online presence

In today’s digital world, one of the best ways to source leads for your business, by far, is to build a strong online presence. With social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and online content, it’s easier than ever to grow an online presence that promotes and connects your company or service with your target audience.

All real estate professionals should have a real estate website that, at a minimum, explains:

  • Who they are.
  • What they do.
  • Who they can help.
  • How to reach them.

To increase the website’s SEO, or the manner in which the website will be discovered organically through search engines, the real estate professional can blog or write informative content on topics their audience typically searches for. A well-done website and strategic blogging can significantly boost the number of people who find their service or product online.

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Another way to build an online presence is by interacting and getting social. Platforms like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Instagram, LinkedIn, BiggerPockets, and YouTube can increase your marketing reach for your business, especially with the use of video.

However, it’s important to note that not every platform is right for every company. If you’re going to use social media as a marketing tool, make sure you are using the correct platform for your business and using it in the right manner.

Buy leads

While far less common for real estate agents, a common practice in real estate investing is to purchase a list of potential leads. Large data companies like DataTree, Melissa Data, or ListSource sell leads specific to your target audience. For example, you can buy leads for out-of-state vacant zombie homes — homes that are vacant and distressed or in poor condition — within a specific zip code, city, county, or state or a list of heirs who recently inherited a property and will likely want to sell.


Networking can be an incredibly powerful lead-generation tool. Start attending local events in your community that your target audience would attend. One of the best places to market as a real estate investor is a local real estate investment association (REIA). I’ve personally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in private capital and partnered with other investors on deals as well as bought and sold deals at my local REIA.

If you’re a real estate agent, you can join different groups (like a group on Meetup) and associations (like your local chamber of commerce) and attend different social mixers or events in your community. Just remember: If you’re going to take the time to network, make sure you attend events your clients would likely attend.

Use referrals and word of mouth

Referrals are incredibly important in the real estate industry. I know some real estate agents solely work off of their referral network. If you conduct business well, delivering on what is expected of you and more, others will be more likely to recommend your service. Send reminders to past clients to keep you on their mind, or possibly offer referral incentives like a fee or gift for your referral network.

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How do you manage the leads you get?

From there, you will want to start your marketing efforts. Common real estate marketing methods in real estate include:

  • Paid ads, like Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Ads, Facebook Ads, or paying to become a Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) (NASDAQ: ZG) Premier Agent.
  • Email marketing.
  • Direct mail marketing.
  • Cold calling.
  • Social media.

Once you build a pipeline for sourcing business leads, you need to manage the leads you get. Keep your leads organized in one place, possibly a Google Sheet or a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Excel spreadsheet.

Additionally, there are dozens of customer relationship management (CRMs) systems that allow you to collect information on your buyer or seller leads, including the lead source, contact information, notes about the lead, and actions for follow up. While a CRM system isn’t required, it is extremely helpful in keeping your leads organized and ensuring you engage in the proper follow-up.

Very few leads actually become sales after initial contact, so it’s important to nurture the leads you get, continuously marketing to them with additional calls, mail pieces, retargeting ads, emails, or contact on social media.

Real estate lead generation in summary

Lead generation in real estate is not a one and done. It’s a constant effort that requires a plan and consistency. If you aren’t confident with generating your own leads, you can work with lead-generation companies like BoldLeads, Real Geeks, or REDX, but at a minimum, you should understand the basics of lead generation and real estate marketing to ensure the company is spending your money in the right way.

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