If you’re like most real estate agents, all your marketing efforts share the same long term goal: More Leads. Which means you’ve probably considered finding a place to buy real estate leads.
But how can you be sure you’re not just throwing money down the drain?
Not all lead sources are created equal, so it’s important you know your options and decide on a source that’s credible and worth your money.
So, What’s the Best Way to Buy Real Estate Leads?
There are lots of options out there for buying leads, but the best option will depend on your budget and how much time you are able to commit to nurturing leads.
To help you find the best option for you, we’ve picked the top five approaches, and chosen a great source for each to help you understand how these different styles work.
We’re going to talk about five lead buying sources, including Inbox Real Estate Leads, Zillow Premier Agent, REDX, BoldLeads, and Offrs. They each work a little differently, but all aim to put more money in your pocket.
Let’s take a look at the five best ways to buy real estate leads:
The Flat Fee Approach
Example: Inbox Real Estate Leads
Let’s start simple. The flat fee approach is just that: a flat fee. When you sign up for a service that offers flat fee pricing, you don’t pay upfront costs, you don’t pay a geographic fee, you pay per lead. Full Stop.
You tend to pay a little bit more per contact, but with no contract or commitment, you trade a little more money for extra flexibility.
This angle on lead purchasing is perfect for those realtors who are just starting out and don’t have a lot of money to spend. Also, if you have a very busy schedule and can’t always respond to emails or texts in a timely manner, this way works for you too, as the pipeline of leads is not constantly flowing.
Our Top Flat Fee Provider: Inbox Real Estate Leads
Our favorite flat fee tool is a site called Inbox Real Estate Leads. Their platform is simple and straightforward, great for realtors who are looking to start in the lead purchasing game and don’t have a massive budget.
How Does Inbox Real Estate Leads Work?
When realtors decide they want to buy real estate leads, they first decide what geographic area they are interested in leads coming from. In doing so, they opt in to receive email notifications when a consumer completes a lead magnet form in that area.
Once a consumer completes a lead form, any realtor who has opted in for notifications in that particular area gets a notification via email with a preview of that lead. The first realtor to respond back to the notification and get through the automated purchase process gets the lead.
How Much Does Inbox Real Estate Leads Cost?
Each lead is $25. That’s it. There are no other costs, there are no other fees, you pay for what you want, when you want to. IREL even offers a guarantee that you’ll never pay for a disconnected phone number. If you pay for a lead that didn’t supply a good number, you let IREL know and they will credit you for the purchase of another lead.
The number of leads you can expect to get from IREL varies from place to place, but since there is no cost to opt-in on the notifications for your area, you can see for yourself how many come through on a weekly basis.
Pros & Cons
We love this platform because of its flexibility and no-contract status. However, it can turn into an email version of the Hunger Games, especially if you have geographic areas that have a lot of realtors competing for leads.
The flat free approach is perfect for agents who want to simply pay for the leads they receive. You don’t get any extra bells and whistles here, but if you are shopping in this price point for leads, you aren’t expecting that either. Visit Inbox Real Estate Leads today to sign up and start receiving leads in your inbox immediately.
2. The Floating Fee
Example: Zillow Premier Agent
Sometimes determining the price of leads isn’t as easy as 1,2,3. There are some approaches to lead purchasing that depend on market factors. Things like the average home price in an area, the volume of transactions happening, even the number of realtors who are vying for leads all can affect price. We call this the Floating Fee approach.
This style of lead purchasing is perfect for real estate professionals who have some time and money to invest in this process, and aren’t deterred by a little professional competition.
Our Top Floating Fee Provider: Zillow Premier Agent
Let’s do a little word association. I am going to say something and you just say out loud the first thing that comes to your mind (no cheating by looking ahead!)
OK, here we go. “The biggest real estate presence on the Internet.”
If you didn’t say Zillow, it might be time to upgrade that flip phone. Zillow estimates that more than 186 Million unique consumers visit their platform every month, and thus, if you want to buy real estate leads, Zillow Premier Agent is a powerful option.
How Does Zillow Premier Agent Work?
Zillow sends buyer and seller leads (but mostly buyer) to members of the Zillow Premier Agent Program by advertising those agents on their platform, putting them in a lineup of options for consumers to choose from when they want more information about property they’ve seen. When a consumer chooses you, they fill out a quick form with their contact information and Zillow sends you (and only you) that information.
How Much Does Zillow Premier Agent Cost?
The Zillow approach to buying leads is a little amorphous in terms of price. On Zillow, you pay for ad space on the Zillow platform, but that cost is dependent on a number of factors, including the average home price in an area and the number of other realtors who are competing for space.
Your price per lead will fluctuate, but Zillow’s budget tools give good estimates on the number of leads you can expect to see per month for your money.
Most realtors we’ve talked to have said that a budget of at least $250 per month is the bare minimum needed to really get started here, but depending on how competitive your area is, even that may not get you the results you want.
Pros & Cons
Zillow’s market presence and exposure are unmatched, and there’s actually a lot of other benefits that come along with the leads included in the Premier Agent program (a decent CRM, an IDX website, expanded ad options on other platforms, just to name a few.)
That being said, Zillow costs can add up quickly, and currently there is a six month minimum contract required to join the program. Your lead volume might be high, but so are your dollars out of pocket.
Success on Zillow depends on real investment in the platform, and not just in money. Zillow consistently delivers a pipeline of leads, so if you can build out your Zillow presence with great content and feedback from clients, your quick follow up to leads is going to be rewarded with phone calls that turn into clients.
Visit Zillow today and get started with your Premier Agent Account. If you would like to read more about Zillow Premier Agent, we recently wrote an in-depth article on how to make Zillow worth the cost.
3. The Ad Agency Fee
Hiring a generic ad agency to do your real estate marketing and lead generation isn’t a great idea. Though they may be creative and have good instincts, without the specialized knowledge of the real estate market, those efforts are going to fall short of your goals.
However, there are places that act as a specialized marketing agency just for realtors. Pay a monthly fee to have your ads created and managed, plus choose a budget for the ads themselves.
This is a fantastic option for realtors who are looking for leads from sources other than the major third party sites, either in replacement of or in supplement to. This is also a great option for realtors who want a little flexibility. Because you are controlling your ad budget, while there is still a monthly minimum spend, you have the option to make adjustments midstream.
Our Top Provider For Ad Agency Fee Leads: BoldLeads
Far and away, our favorite company tackling this approach is BoldLeads. BoldLeads offers a comprehensive system for not only getting your ads in the places your target audience is spending their time, but also a way to manage them after you make contact.
How Does BoldLeads Work?
BoldLeads creates and places ads that act as lead magnets in places where your consumers are spending their time online (places like Facebook and major search platforms.) When a lead clicks on an ad, they are taken to a custom landing page where they give their information and you are notified that a new lead is in your hopper.
Because BoldLeads also works hard to help nurture your leads as well as acquire them, leads are automatically added to your BoldLeads CRM and will move through your marketing funnel towards a completed transaction.
How Much Does BoldLeads Cost?
BoldLeads starts at $269 per month for the ‘agency fee,’ and then whatever you’d like to spend on your ad budget. BoldLeads has a minimum monthly ad investment of $250 per month, but that number can be adjusted up as you are seeing more success on the platform.
Since your number of leads will depend on your area, breaking down the cost per lead is tough, but the sales staff are are good at helping realtors understand expected volume in different markets.
Pros and Cons
We really like BoldLeads because here you aren’t competing with other agents for your leads. The lead magnets are exclusively for you, there is no wondering if another agent is using those magnets to make money in your area.
However, that sort of personalized attention comes at a high dollar cost, making this not the best option for budget-conscious realtors.
BoldLeads has a great for approach to acquiring leads, but they really stand out in the field with their CRM and nurturing after a lead is yours. Automated SMS texting, emailing, even voice messages make moving your leads closing to a sale easier. If you are looking for real estate leads and a whole lot more, this is your spot.
4. The You-Do-The-Work Fee
We know what you’re thinking: “Why would I pay a fee to someone if I’m doing the work?”
With this pricing model of lead buying, you aren’t technically buying leads, you are buying the possibility of leads. You buy EVERYONE’s information and decide for yourself who is worth reaching out to, rather than waiting for the leads to contact you.
This approach is perfect for realtors who happen to be hustlers. Actually, strike that. This approach is perfect for HUSTLERS who happen to be realtors. If you can commit to lighting up the phones and email every day, this is for you.
Our Top Provider For You-Do-The-Work Leads: REDX
The standout in the category is REDX. REDX is an expert in aggregation, they work to get all the information they can from all over the internet and put it in one, digestible place. You can decide for yourself who might be a person you want to reach out to, and use the REDX dossier to contact them via phone, email, or maybe even a doorknock.
How Does REDX Work?
REDX offers a suite of different products that give realtors access to various pools of potential clients. Each of the REDX apps focuses on a different group, including FSBOs, Pre-Foreclosures, and Expired Listings, just to name a few.
You get names and contact information, and rather than putting out a lead magnet to entice these parties to contact you, you decide who looks like a person who could be interested in your services and you contact them. You decide how many leads you want to go after each and every day.
REDX also has a reasonable Lead Management System (Vortex) that helps you keep track of who you’ve contacted and when, and shows where each contact is at in the funnel. This system isn’t fancy, but it definitely gets the job done.
How Much Does REDX Cost?
REDX provides an a la carte pricing option for their different features, starting as low as $39.99 per month, with discounts for paying in advance. There is also a set up fee to get started, something else that can be waived if you are paying upfront.
Given the fact that you are in control over how many reaches you make to potential leads each day, you control your cost per lead.
Pros & Cons
We have always believed that having more information is better than having less information, and for users of REDX who really dig into the platform, they are usually the most informed realtors in their communities when it comes to the specific niches their apps cover.
Being in control over the number of contacts you make each day also makes the potential cost per lead of this option very low. By the same token, this is technically less of a lead purchase option as it is a cold-call outreach tool, so realtors who get discouraged easily by ‘no’ won’t flourish here.
Because the cost to get into the REDX game is relatively low, and the value of their information is so high, it seems like a no-brainer that this be a part of your toolkit. When you consider that REDX also has an available built-in dialer to automate your calling and dramatically increase your call volume, this is a great value.
5. The Private Eye Fee
When we think about the process of qualifying real estate leads, we typically think about step one being your lead reaching out and interacting with a lead magnet. However, when you have a Private Eye involved, there is actually a step before that. Platforms that employ a private eye approach work to first predict which property owners are most likely to consider selling, THEN target lead magnets at that select group.
Realtors who have been around the block on lead buying before and want to try something different, or perhaps are looking to add a new dimension to an already existing lead game are great candidates for this sort of approach.
Our Top Provider For Private Eye Leads: Offrs
There is one company that claims they have it down though: Offrs.
How Does Offrs Work?
Offrs uses a proprietary algorithm, analyzing millions of data points to help identify what traits the next homes to hit the market are likely to possess, along with which property owners are likely to sell.
Combining these two equations gives them a predictive model of which homes in an area are most likely to become listings.
They then target those potential listings with lead magnets and deliver the results to you.
How Much Does Offrs Cost?
The cost of Offrs varies depending on market conditions (similar to the way that Zillow varies their pricing). However, unlike Zillow, the sky is not the limit as far as how much you can spend per geographic territory.
According to Offrs’ website, most geographic areas are available for between $200 and $500 per month, though to be fair, we had to really dig deep to find that information.
Offrs claims that their algorithm will identify upwards of 70% of listed homes as potential leads prior to them actually going on sale. The specific number of leads you receive will vary based on the number of homes being listed in your area.
Pros & Cons
We love the predictive analytics of Offrs; it’s unique and something your competitors aren’t doing. Adding a “step zero” to your marketing effort definitely gives you a leg up on the competition.
However, when a system relies so heavily on an algorithm, you might ignore easy opportunities that the algorithm misses. Also, the pricing isn’t super clear, which means that every time you consider an adjustment to strategy, an exploratory phone call comes first.
Offrs is a unique option for lead generation assistance, one definitely worth exploring. However, it seems like a natural sidekick to other efforts rather than the star of the show.
We’d love to hear about your success buying leads. Whether it be on any of these platforms, or another we didn’t mention, tell us your stories. How has your business changed since adding this element to your marketing toolkit?
Have any success or horror stories? Drop a comment below, and let’s keep the conversation going!