new real estate leads

How to Generate Real Estate Leads

Anyone who works or invests in property needs the same thing: real estate leads. Real estate agents need good properties to represent and investors need good deals on properties to flip or wholesale. And you both need buyers.

Those are two very different kinds of real estate, but the strategies for real estate lead generation are often very similar. Agents and investors, after all, are both looking for owners who are ready to sell and people interested in buying. So let’s talk about how to generate real estate leads.

How to use your website for real estate lead generation

Building and maintaining a website is a little bit of work, but it’s crucial. Where is the first place most people turn when they need something—from a recipe, to a quick fact, to a ‘how to’ video, to a professional service? Google.

1. Build out and optimize your website.

It doesn’t have to be the next Wikipedia: just start with a few pages that you can point people to. Explain what you do, brag about how you help people, and make sure there’s a way for visitors to contact you.

There are some simple services that will make building a site pretty simple, even if you’re not techy. The web has come a long way in developing tools that don’t require any coding. There are also digital freelance marketplaces where you can hire a talented low-code developer to put together a small website for you, without breaking the bank.

2. Blog.

Now that you have a website, you should do something with it. Adding a blog is a simple way to help it grow and get more attention. It’s also a simple way to demonstrate your expertise.

Just remember to write for your target audience. If you’re a flipper, for example, remember that you’re not writing (primarily) to inspire other flippers. If the point of the website is to generate leads, you want to share updates that matter to people who are trying to sell discounted properties or who might be in the market to buy your latest investment.

3. Create gated content.

Gated content is any ebook, webinar, PDF, etc., that visitors have to fill out a form to access. Your blog is “free” information, because anyone can see it, but you might save the really big, valuable information for more intentional lead generation. 

Again, make sure you’re creating valuable content for your sellers. Real estate agents could probably put together an ebook on their top tips for selling a home, but your target audience doesn’t need that. They need a moving checklist or a guide on how to stage their home to sell.

How to use social media to generate real estate leads

Social media is where people are, so your business should be there too. There are several good social media channels for connecting with sellers and lots of lead generation strategies that work on each one. So first, a word of caution: Start small.

Any social media account needs to be active. If people engage with your business on social media, they expect a timely reply. Don’t jump into every social media network at the same time. Start with one, and when you’ve got a good handle on it, add one more.

social media for leads

4. Instagram

An active Instagram account can be a great source of free real estate leads. You can pay for ads on Instagram, but building a network and fan base by connecting with your target audience and posting content they enjoy is often much more effective anyway.

A key strategy for getting started on Instagram is hashtags, because they link content together. Figure out what your audiences are doing on Instagram and get involved.

5. Facebook ads

You can take a similar, organic (unpaid) approach on Facebook, but Facebook is almost too saturated to break through. Facebook ads, however, are very powerful and simple to create. Because Facebook has so much data on their users, you can target ads to be seen by people living in certain neighborhoods, with specific educational backgrounds, and more.

6. Pinterest

Pinterest is a huge platform and still growing. Unlike other social media channels, people use Pinterest to find products and plan projects. They’re not relaxing, trying to ignore ads, they’re in business mode. Your target audience might be looking for ways to boost curb appeal or low-budget renovation strategies.

7. Quora

Quora is a really simple way to get your name in front of people and start generating real estate leads, and it’s completely free. Set up an account and start looking for questions in your field and about your city—especially those from your target sellers. 

An added bonus to quora is that the site is so well trusted, that its answers often appear on the first page of Google search results. It will take some time to build up the authority of your own website to that level, so good answers to popular questions on Quora can get your name on Google much faster.

8. Google My Business

It’s not really social media, but Google My Business is a digital profile that you really need to set up well. Most Google searches—especially for location-specific services like real estate—deliver a map with several businesses listed. And that’s as far as a lot of people get.

There’s no formula for getting your name at the top of those map results, but a robust profile—with all your business information and a dozen helpful, high quality images—definitely helps.

9. Request reviews.

On Google and on any other social media channel you decide to use, invite happy clients to leave you a review. You don’t want to do anything unethical, of course, such as paying or trading services for an inauthentic, 5-star review, but there’s nothing wrong with asking happy customers to be honest.

This can be an email campaign to past clients and/or a simple addition to your closing process. Digital reviews are the new word-of-mouth advertising, and word-of-mouth has always been the best form of lead generation.

Real estate agent lead generation strategies for investors

The real estate industry has some tried-and-true insights on how to generate leads that work just as well (if not better) for investors and flippers.

10. Search For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

Digital accounts and profiles are necessary strategies, but they’re not always the most immediate. Searching the FSBO listings instantly puts you in touch with people who are selling, not someday—right now.

This can be a little harder for real estate agents: Most FSBO owners are selling themselves because they don’t want to work with a real estate agent. For investors, though, finding FSBO opportunities on distressed properties is an easy way to make a list of warm leads. 

The key, in either case, is to build a relationship. These owners probably don’t want to work with a real estate owner or sell to an investor, so get their story. Answer any questions you can. Be genuinely helpful. If they’re not interested in working with you, ask if you can check back in a few weeks.

Craigslist is another good resource for what are essentially FSBOs.

11. Search expired listings.

Similar to searching FSBOs, expired listings are a great lead gen resource for both real estate agents and real estate investors—depending on the property. Normal, non-distressed properties may have expired for any number of reasons, and the seller might be interested in working with a new agent. Distressed properties, or sellers who really need to close, might be more open to discounting the property for an investor.

In either case, you know the owner is ready to sell, so these can be great short-term leads.

12. Host open houses.

Open houses have started to fall out of practice with some real estate agents, but others still swear by it—even in 2021 and beyond. Post about it on your very active social networks and use lots of signs at nearby intersections.

13. Host housewarming parties.

When a buyer closes on your property, help them celebrate the big move! Help organize a small event or at least show up with a thoughtful gift. If you do help with a party, make sure it’s about the homeowners and not about your company. Wear a name tag and have cards ready, but hold off on the swag bags.

Free real estate lead generation ideas

If you’re just getting started, you don’t have a lot of money to invest in real estate lead generation strategies and services. The good news is, there are even more free, in-person tactics to meeting the right people.

14. Knock on doors.

Not just random doors, of course, but introduce yourself to neighbors in areas where you’ve been working. If you recently helped a homeowner sell—or recently helped someone buy—in the neighborhood, drop off some business cards with the neighbors. 

Introduce yourself, explain how you recently helped their neighbor, and ask if you can leave a card. The neighbors probably aren’t planning to sell right away, but when they are ready, it will help them to know an agent who has already had success in their neighborhood.

15. Get involved in the community.

Any kind of real estate work ties you to local communities. When people are ready to sell, or when they want to move in, they want to work with an expert who is invested in the area. 

The simplest way to do this is to just volunteer in whatever capacity you want. Local soup kitchen, food drive—anything. Wear your name tag or your company t-shirt and share about it (casually, not in an overly showy way) on the appropriate social media channels. You can even blog about it afterwards.

You can be a little more intentional by investing in relevant service opportunities like neighborhood parks, Habitat for Humanity projects, etc. Something real-estate-related demonstrates your commitment, not just to the neighborhood, but to the property value.

Cheap real estate lead generation ideas

If you have just a little more to spend on active lead gen, these strategies are very effective on a dime.

16. Send mail.

Physical mailers seem like a dated strategy, but plenty of local businesses still use them … because they work. Catchy postcards with short copy and some sort of digital tie-in, like a QR code, still generate a good ROI on local leads.

But sales fliers aren’t the only way to use the post to your advantage. A quick, handwritten follow-up in the mail is a simple, affordable way to stand out from competitors.

17. Make bandit signs.

“WE BUY HOUSES” You’ve seen the signs. Some are printed, while others look like black marker scrawled on a leftover white yard sign. Those are bandit signs, and they’re a classic strategy for real estate investors (although agents also use them with some good success).

Just be aware that every city has their own rules about bandit signs. Check local laws and regulations before you start printing and placing signs.

The key to a good bandit sign strategy is the intake. Get a phone number that’s easy to remember and not traceable. A lot of investors send the number straight to a voicemail, but if you want to be really effective, send it to your phone and actually answer those calls.

18. Create a referral program.

Setting up a referral program is as simple as you want it to be. Decide what you’re willing to give for a successful referral, and start letting past and current clients know about it. You can send out an email, post a blog, share it on your social networks, and tell customers or prospects you talk to. The reward for a successful referral doesn’t need to break the bank, but it should be valuable enough to get people’s attention.

Discounted real estate leads for investors

If you’re a flipper or investor specifically looking for discounted properties, we have some specific insights for you at, “How To Find Houses To Flip: 7 Best Strategies And Secrets.” Click over there next for more details on …

new house flippers

19. Real estate auctions

Properties at auction are good deals, but come with certain risks. Learn how to vet each one as best you can and how to win at an auction.

20. Real estate agents

We always recommend that flippers work with local real estate agents, and generating leads is just one reason why. Learn how to find the right agent.

21. REO properties

REO properties have reverted to the lender, and we promise: The lender does not want them. Learn how to find and get these properties for a bargain.

22. Short sale properties

Short sale properties are discounted by definition, but there’s a trick to getting the best investments. Learn why timing is crucial.

23. Real estate wholesalers

A good real estate wholesaler can supply property leads for you. They’ll pad the price a little, to cover their services, but if you really don’t like lead gen, a wholesaler is your best friend.

24. Real estate investment groups

A local real estate investment group has a lot to offer flippers. You’ll find mentors and partners, and probably even some good leads.

25. HUD homes

Similar to REO properties, these homes have reverted to HUD, and the department is eager to offload them. The risks are similar to REO properties as well, so learn how to make the most of these opportunities.

Start generating real estate leads

There are so many ways—inbound and outbound, passive and active, free and cheap, digital and analog—to generate real estate leads, that you’ll never not have a strategy to work on. 

The first step is to decide where you’re going to start. If you’re new to the industry, you want to start with warm leads that are going to take action sooner, so try searching for owners that you know are trying to sell—expired listings, FSBOs, REO properties, etc.

If you’ve been in the game for a little bit and you’re looking to expand, make sure you have a website set up and functioning well, then start building a social media following on your favorite network.

And when you’re ready to start your next Texas real estate flip, or invest in your next Lone Star State property, get in touch to talk financing. Loan Ranger Capital is Texas’ favorite hard money lender, and we’d love to talk about your project.

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