We get it: Being a full-time real estate agent isn’t easy (unlike what some “experts” on TikTok want you to believe). You face a lot of challenges every day, and one of the biggest is lead generation.
Real estate agents—especially new ones—typically have lots of questions when it comes to lead generation. Questions like, How do you generate leads? What are some free ways to do lead generation? And, Is using a lead generation service worth it?
If you’re asking yourself one of those questions, or a similar one, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to go over everything you need to know about generating leads in real estate and how to do it the right way. Let’s dive in!
What Is Real Estate Lead Generation?
Lead generation in real estate (or prospecting, as some agents call it) is the process of identifying potential clients and getting them interested in working with you when they’re ready to buy or sell a home.
But here’s something you need to keep in mind about lead generation and prospecting: It’s a slow process that requires having a long-term plan and executing it. If you’re looking for some kind of magic sauce that’ll cause your real estate career to explode overnight, you should stop wasting your time—it doesn’t exist.
See, becoming a successful real estate agent comes from putting in focused intensity over a long period of time. It’s a lot like growing a business, writing a book or losing weight. Think about it: Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone in a day—it took years of work. J.K. Rowling didn’t crank out the Harry Potter series by pulling an all-nighter. And the people who won The Biggest Loser didn’t get rid of all those extra pounds by going for a run one afternoon and eating some broccoli afterward.
So, don’t expect to find something on this list that you can implement tomorrow to get your phone ringing nonstop by the end of the week. That’s not how this stuff works, and anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or wants you to buy something from them.
But if you implement all—or even most—of these seven methods for how to generate leads in real estate and stay consistent with them over time, you will start to see big-time results down the road. Remember: Slow and steady wins the race. That’s where real, deep success as an agent comes from.
7 Strategies for Real Estate Lead Generation
1. Tell everyone you’re an agent.
For someone to give you a call when they’re ready to buy or sell a house, they need to know you’re an agent. Makes sense, right? So, it’s time to tell the world you’re an agent. Now, you don’t want to be obnoxious about it, but this doesn’t need to be a secret!
As a starting point, all your friends and family members need to know you’re an agent—get on the phone and tell them that, if they know anyone who’s looking to buy a house, they can send them your way. Then, think about anyone else you can tell, whether in-person or online. LinkedIn connections? Yep. Facebook friends? Uh-huh. Twitter followers? You bet.
You should also make a habit of talking to strangers in public, especially if you figure out they’re about to need an agent. That guy in front of you in line at Starbucks who’s swiping through online home listings while waiting on his mocha caramel latte-chino needs to know what you do for a living!
2. Become an expert in your local market.
There are a lot of real estate experts out there—just Google “how to buy a house” and take a look at how many results come up. (Spoiler: It’s over 5 billion.) But even though there are a ton of experts on real estate, chances are there aren’t a whole lot of experts on real estate in your local area.
Every business goes through five distinct stages. Find out which stage your business is in with our free assessment.
Here’s what we mean: There are thousands of experts on the housing market in the U.S., but there aren’t very many on the housing market in Topeka, Kansas. And plenty of people have a lot of knowledge on whether home inventory is high or low across the country, but only a handful of people are studying the inventory in Casper, Wyoming. Or Eugene, Oregon. Or Billings, Montana.
The point? If you want to truly stand out as an authority in real estate within your community, don’t just study and become an expert in buying and selling homes. Instead, study and become an expert in buying and selling homes in your local area. When you do that, you build trust within your community, and you become a go-to source for real estate information. And when you’re the go-to source for information, you naturally become a go-to source for business.
3. Serve people well.
Yes, we realize that this one requires you having existing clients. But here’s the deal: One of the best ways to generate leads in real estate is serving the leads you already have really, really well. Why? Because, when you serve your clients with excellence, they will tell their friends about you. And they’ll tell their friends. When you’re really good at what you do, you start to create raving fans—and that’s what can make your career explode.
That’s how business works—whether you’re a real estate agent or own a construction company. People who are good at what they do and develop a reputation for serving people well get business. And since there are so many bad and below average agents out there, you’ll stand out big time if you commit yourself to constantly growing and going the extra mile for your clients.
Again, this strategy won’t make your phone start ringing off the hook tomorrow afternoon—it takes time to develop the kind of reputation we’re talking about here. But once you do get to that point, you’ll be unstoppable.
4. Create educational content on social media.
The best real estate agents don’t just help their clients fill out paperwork and hit important deadlines—they also have the heart of a teacher. That means, throughout the buying or selling process, top-notch agents are constantly educating their clients, helping them navigate all their decisions with confidence.
A great way to generate leads is to take that mindset a step further by teaching people who aren’t your clients (yet!). How exactly can you do that? With the power of social media!
Start creating educational content centered on your areas of expertise and post it on any platforms you can. Make some YouTube videos showcasing your local area. Create a TikTok teaching people about how mortgages work. Write a Facebook post on how to know if you’re ready to buy or sell.
Using social media to help people and offer them value—rather than pestering them with ads for your services—will help you stand out from other agents and help you develop trust with your audience. That will make them much more likely to come your way when they’re ready to pull the trigger on hiring an agent.
5. Get involved in your community.
If you want the people in your local area and community to know and trust you enough to give you their business, you’ve got to be around them. That means you’ve got to develop a lifestyle of being involved in your community.
What does that look like? Build a habit of showing up where people in your community hang out. Think restaurants, rec centers, farmers markets and gyms. Attending local events, like festivals and other celebrations. Do you have kids in school? Be the parent who doesn’t miss a single ballgame, open house, talent show or parent-teacher night.
You can even take all this a step further by serving your community. Ask local churches if they have any projects that need volunteers. (Trust us: They will.) Find a small venue and host a town-hall style event where you can teach first-time home buyers about the buying process.
No matter how you get involved in your community, you must make a clear effort to do it. You’ll build trust, develop relationships and generate leads along the way.
6. Grow your network by building relationships.
Have you ever been to one of those slimy networking meetings? You know, the ones inside a dark room where everyone hands out business cards like Halloween candy and bounces between conversations like ping pong balls? The ones where people are constantly scanning the room to find someone more important than the person they’re currently talking to?
Yeah, those events are terrible. And they’re basically useless when it comes to generating leads in real estate. What isn’t useless, though, is building and developing actual, real, meaningful relationships within your community.
What’s the difference? Networking events are transactional—it’s all about “What’s in it for me?” But when you seek to form connections, rather than network, it’s a relational process—it’s all about investing in others and focusing on them as people rather than how they can help your bottom line.
When you start to develop those kinds of relationships—where you add value to others and they add value to you—you’ll see big-time results. So, go get connected! Form solid connections with agents in other markets and send them any leads that aren’t a fit for you. (And they’ll probably return the favor.) Get to know local contractors, architects, HVAC repairmen and anyone else who works on people’s homes for a living.
Following that approach and building a strong network by connecting with people on more than a surface level is a great way to generate leads.
7. Use a real estate lead generation service.
Finally, you can use a paid lead generation service to help you generate real estate leads. You do need to be really careful, though, because there are some bad programs out there that will charge you a lot of money to send you a whole lot of leads that wind up never closing with you.
Now, it’s obviously unrealistic to expect every lead that comes your way to close. In fact, a close rate of just 3–5% is considered really good for lead generation services. But lots of programs charge agents to send them thousands of leads—almost none of which wind up closing.
So, to avoid throwing money (and time) out the window like that, make sure you use a lead generation service that values the quality of the leads they send over the quantity. What does a quality lead look like? Great question! Let’s take a peek.
A quality lead . . .
- Has specifically requested to be contacted by an agent.
- Is actually interested in buying or selling a home (preferably within 90 days). They’re not “just looking.”
- Understands the basics of the home-buying process, like their home-buying budget, down payments and mortgages.
- Values a real estate agent’s expertise.
- Isn’t just wanting someone to help them buy a specific house they found online.
The more of those boxes a lead checks, the more likely they are to convert. And that’s why our referral program, RamseyTrusted, puts a major emphasis on connecting pros with clients who possess those traits.
RamseyTrusted leads come to us specifically wanting to be connected to an agent. They’re high-intent leads who want an agent to coach them through the process of buying or selling, and lots of them follow the financial principles we teach—which means many of them will be debt-free with a full emergency fund and a strong down payment saved up before buying a house.
If you’re a full-time agent with at least three years of experience, we’d love to talk with you about joining our network.