Generating real estate buyer leads consistently is what sets successful agents apart from the agents who can’t quite cut it, especially early in their careers. If you want to climb the success ladder in the real estate industry, you’ve got to have strategies in place to create a steady stream of buyers.
We reached out to real estate high rollers from across the country to get the inside scoop on the best strategies to get more real estate buyer leads, and here’s what they had to say.
1. Throw a Housewarming Party & Make All Your Buyer’s Friends Your New Clients
New house envy is a real thing for people who are considering a home purchase. Use this to your advantage by throwing housewarming parties for your clients. Jennifer Murtland, a top producer with eXp Realty, uses this approach all the time with great success:
“We get a ton of buyer leads by throwing housewarming parties for our recently closed buyer clients. The formula is simple: We supply the food and prizes for up to 60 people, and they supply the guest list.
This is a great way to introduce yourself to your client’s friends and family, and it’s super-easy to connect with them personally and have great conversations. While at the party, we have a gift card drawing where all guests have to do is enter their contact info, so our lead database grows by the dozens every time we throw a party.”
P.S.: We love this strategy, but it might not be one you’ll be using in a COVID or even near-post-COVID world. Try pivoting this strategy to offering a “virtual housewarming party.” Offer a virtual tour of the home, prizes and giveaways for guests, and even goodie bags you can deliver to attendees.
2. Reach Your Local Neighborhood Online With Parkbench
Want to connect with more local homebuyers? Start with a community website from Parkbench. With a Parkbench website, you become the local hub for all the exciting things happening in your area, and they’re a great way to build relationships with the most influential players in your market.
Try using the approach of interviewing local business owners and giving them a platform to share their stories. This will make you their go-to referral resource, and make your website a place where people in your hometown are returning to hear from the people they care about.
Parkbench works best for community-focused agents who prefer to nurture relationships over buying leads. Check availability in your market on the Parkbench website (they only allow one real estate agent per area).
3. Treat Your Renter Clients Like What They Are: Pre-buyers
Everyone gets excited when a new lead pops into their inbox, but some of us are let down when we read these four words: “I’m looking to rent.”
Some of us, but not all of us.
Brad Pauly, one of Austin’s real estate leaders, actually encourages these moments. He coaches his team to be looking for these opportunities. Here’s why:
“We don’t need to buy leads—we create them ourselves by nurturing lessees. By teaching our agents how to grow their network organically through leasing, we’re handing them a near-sure thing when that leaser is ready to become a buyer. Typically, people want to lease prior to buying, especially when they’re new to the area, so helping them secure a property lease first helps us build trust and establish a relationship. When our clients are ready to move up to buyer status, which typically takes less than two years, our agents are ready to help.”
Want to learn more? Check out our video detailing even more of the strategy for targeting renters as future buyers.
4. Focus on Engagement Instead of Marketing on Social Media
So often, real estate agents look at social media like any other marketing outlet. You write your copy, post your pictures, pay your fees, then sit back and wait for the leads. This should not be your strategy for platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Your buyers are on these platforms and they’re looking for more than just static posts—they’re looking for interaction.
Ashley Hutton lives this mantra with big-time results. She says:
“Social media is a powerful tool, but the way you use it is the difference between generating a serious number of leads and not getting any at all. Social media is meant to be social; if you’re not interacting with people, you’re not doing it right. Make sure you’re actively making new connections every week with people in your community. Interact with their posts, make comments, and engage in conversation. Join Facebook Groups that you can contribute to, and be a resource to people there. Follow hashtags relevant to your area on Twitter and Instagram, let people know you’re around, and have good things to add to every conversation. Yes, this is time-consuming, but the better you get at it, the bigger your returns become.”
Curious about more social media strategy? Our contributor Jeff Lyons wrote a fantastic article all about the mistakes you should avoid on social media—check it out.
5. Use BoldLeads to Capture Exclusive Real Estate Buyer Leads
A lot of strategies for real estate lead generation can be pretty labor intensive. It takes a lot of time and effort to build relationships with people, and that can sometimes keep you from doing what you’re best at: selling houses. Take some of your time back by hiring a full service lead generation company like BoldLeads.
BoldLeads creates ads on social platforms like Facebook. Potential buyers click on those ads and are taken to a landing page where they enter their contact information in exchange for a list of local homes that are for sale. Once they submit their form, they get their list, and you get a notification that a new lead is in your inbox.
Sure, you’ll need to nurture them afterwards (something you can do with the BoldLeads email drips, text messaging, straight-to-voicemail messaging, and easy customer relationship management (CRM) integration), but the hard work of getting them in the funnel in the first place is done for you.
6. Use Social Engagement to Generate More Leads From Your Sphere
According to the National Association of Realtors, more than half of all buyers in 2020 used an agent that they either knew from their personal sphere or were referred to by someone in their personal sphere. Your own contact list is a rich lead source; most real estate agents don’t maximize this opportunity.
We asked Sarah Drennan, a broker over at Terrie O’Connor Realtors, to share the successful strategies she lays out for the agents on her team. This is what she told us:
“I encourage my agents to work the people in their sphere first—the people who already know, like, and trust you! They are your best source of real estate leads because you already have a relationship with them. Pain points lead to real estate needs, so be observant, be helpful, and be ready. For example, if your contact’s youngest child is graduating from high school, they might soon be empty-nesters. Perhaps it’s time to downsize? Maybe the commute to a new job is harder than your friend thought it would be. Selling and moving closer to work might be a great option. Pregnant with triplets? A one-bedroom condo isn’t going to work. You’ve got services that your friends and family need, so remind them you’re there to help!”
7. Meet Your Buyers Where They’re Looking for Real Estate: Become a Zillow Premier Agent
Zillow is the internet’s most frequently visited real estate website, and your buyers are spending time there. A lot of it.
With more than 186 homes viewed per second on the platform, buyers are coming here to get information about their next home. The Zillow Premier Agent program not only puts you in the spotlight along with the homes your prospects are viewing, it also gives you other great perks, like featured placement in the Zillow Agent Finder and access to Zillow’s new Live Connections program.
If you want to learn more about Zillow and their Premier Agent program, we’ve written a comprehensive guide you should check out.
P.S.: Have you heard of Zillow Flex? Zillow has a new program they’re offering in select markets where, rather than paying for their services upfront, you pay a percentage of your commission when a deal closes. Check out our review of Zillow Flex and whether it’s worth it for most agents.
8. Try Demographic Farming Instead of Geographic Farming
Chevy Chase was onto something in “Caddyshack” when he said, “Be the ball.” If you want to attract a certain type of buyer, you’ve got to do more than just know their demographics—you need to know who these clients are as people. This is especially true for younger, first-time homebuyers.
Jamie Klingman knows all about this. As a Certified Military Relocation Specialist, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, and a Certified Master Negotiator, she makes it a point to get into the heads of every prospective client group.
“A great way to generate buyer leads is to identify a niche of buyers and immerse yourself in their world and culture. For example, young professionals often are ready to buy after a year or two in their new jobs. Understand where they hang out, what types of homes they would be buying, and really educate yourself on all aspects of what would make an agent appealing to them. Understanding different buyers and their specific needs and wants leads to not only one lead, but often a large pool of clients!”
9. Get Involved With the Local School District to Become Every Parent’s Go-to Real Estate Agent
Within communities, there are networks that people gravitate toward and organizations around the things that people care about. Communities of faith, community sports leagues, nonprofits, and, of course, schools. Injecting yourself as a resource into the local school community is a great way to get yourself in front of prime-time homebuyers: families with children.
Benjamin Ross of the Mission Real Estate Group uses this tactic regularly while serving his Texas clients. Here’s what he had to say:
“School districts are always looking for people to help volunteer for various programs. Not only is this a great way to serve my community and help our kids learn skills they can use in the real world, it’s also a big-time opportunity to pick up buyer clients. I serve as an adviser to the entrepreneurship program that our local district sponsors. If the school district trusts you enough to let you work with the students, their parents will trust you enough to help them buy a home.”
10. Use Vistaprint to Reach Entire Rental Communities Quickly
Nearly every first-time homebuyer is renting their home before they make the decision to buy. This makes rental communities prime targets for marketing. Direct mail marketing is still an incredibly effective strategy for generating real estate buyer leads.
Unlike even the most effective email, a great postcard ends up on the refrigerator, keeping you top of mind for months to come.
If you’re looking for a direct mail option that is easy to use, has a ton of design options, and won’t break the bank, definitely check out Vistaprint. When it comes to leads for real estate agents, they literally have over 250 different real estate specific templates to start from.
Put in your personal information, make a couple of tweaks to the copy so it reflects your community, and boom, you’ve got a real estate buyer lead generating machine.
11. Use Video to Communicate Your Message, Services & Opportunities
It’s no secret: Video dominates internet content. Google has even started featuring YouTube videos more prominently in search results, giving real estate agents with good video content a chance to outrank juggernauts like Zillow.
Considering that the average attention span on the internet is about eight seconds, few people are going to read your 1,000-word blog post about why you’re the best choice for a buyer’s agent in your city. But many, many more of those people will watch you say the same thing on an Instagram Story.
Melissa Gomez, award-winning broker with ERA Top Service Realty in Queens, New York, is committed to her video strategy. Here’s what she told us about how to make it work:
“I’ve been using Instagram for the past few years to generate business, and it has been a great resource for attracting more buyer leads. I’ve also started a vlog called ‘#MoneyMondaysWithMelissa,’ a weekly YouTube miniseries that poses and answers real estate questions in under 60 seconds. This makes it compatible with Instagram as well. When I use IGTV (Instagram TV), I try to summarize everything in under two minutes in order to keep the audience’s attention. In the series, I take normal questions that buyers will typically ask and answer them through the videos. Posting these videos consistently will result in new followers, and I’ll even receive DMs or direct calls with inquiries about working together.”
Bonus Tip: Make Yourself the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of Real Estate in Your Neighborhood
Buyers want to work with a buyer’s agent whot knows every street, every home, and every nook and cranny of the most desirable neighborhoods in town. If you want to sell the homes in a specific location, you’ve got to know everything there is to know about them.
Neil Clayton, top-producing broker from Engels & Völkers in Nashville, gave us his two cents on how he generates tons of hot buyer leads just from being a hyper-local agent:
“When a real estate agent is laser-focused on an area, they become the local expert. To be the most knowledgeable real estate agent in my area, I make sure I know how many homes are for sale, have sold, the absorption rate, average prices, average marketing time, and so on. Once I have all this knowledge (and a system to stay up to date on any changes), I’m not shy about sharing it. People know that I’m the broker to turn to when they want into this specific spot, and, of course, the homeowners in the neighborhood are easy to convert into seller clients too.”
Getting Buyer Leads for Real Estate Agents: Chris Answers Your FAQs
We heard a lot of great information from experts from all across the country for this piece. As a veteran agent myself and a real estate coach, I talk to agents every day who are looking to up their buyer lead generation game.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions I get when it comes to getting real estate buyer leads.
Should I pay for real estate buyer leads or work to get free buyer leads?
One of my favorite things to say to real estate coaching clients is, “There’s no such thing as a free lead.” One way or another, you’re going to pay for the leads you get. You can pay with your time, you can pay with your effort, you can pay with your checkbook, or you can pay with a combination of these options, so be thoughtful about the best use of your resources.
If you’re light on budget but heavy on time, invest in strategies like neighborhood farming or circle prospecting. If your schedule is booked solid but you have a healthy marketing budget, invest in BoldLeads or Zillow Premier Agent.
How do I attract buyers for my listings?
Whether you’re looking to double-dip a transaction or just looking to shore up some goodwill with your sellers by garnering their listing a little more attention, finding potential buyers for your listings makes your job as a listing agent much easier.
Your first strategy here should be to make sure your media for the home is top-notch. Get professional photos taken, make sure you’ve got great video content, and consider investing in virtual tour technology too.
Next, verify that your listing appears just how you want it to on popular third-party sites like Zillow and Realtor.com. Though these sites pull their data straight from your MLS, you always want to double-check to make sure things translated properly, that the photos are in the order you want, and so forth.
Finally, you can get proactive by placing ads on social media targeted to likely buyers in your community. The rules for advertising real estate on places like Facebook have gotten a little more complicated in the last year or so, but it is definitely still an effective way to get your listing in front of the right buyers at the right time.
How do I find qualified home buyer leads?
Tell me if you can relate to this: You hear your email alert chime, see you’ve got a lead from a place like Zillow, and you get all excited about a potential new client only to find out that the person whose contact information you now have isn’t prequalified or quite ready to buy.
We all want leads that are ready to go right away, but that just isn’t the reality for most real estate leads, especially internet leads. So, before you determine whether a lead is “unqualified” or not, have an initial conversation with them, and get them on an email drip. Use these scripts to try to build a rapport with online leads quickly.
Unqualified leads can be frustrating, especially if you’re paying to get those leads to your inbox, but remember, all your leads, even the most qualified ones, started somewhere.
Bringing It All Together
Anyone can generate a few buyer leads, but if you want to succeed, you’re going to need a steady stream of leads every week. Keep in mind that these buyers are going to eventually turn into sellers too, so investing in your buyer lead funnel now creates opportunities for multiple transactions down the road.
Got more real estate questions? Check out The Close’s exclusive Real Estate Agent Mastermind Group for a place to get fantastic real estate advice and conversation in your news feed every day.