Looking to get more real estate seller leads in 2023? If you’ve worked in real estate for more than 30 seconds, you’ve probably come to the (painful) realizations that 1. You need seller leads to become a top producer, and 2. Finding and converting seller leads is hard work.
In order to make the process a little easier, we updated our list of proven strategies to get real estate seller leads in 2023 and beyond. There are tons of great tips here from our expert real estate pros at The Close and a few brokerages across the country, as well as links to a ton of deep-dive articles with scripts you can start using today.
1. Learn How to Find Hidden Listing Inventory
In his 28 years as a broker and coach, Sean Moudry has heard agents give every excuse in the book for why they can’t get real estate seller leads. You can probably guess what the most common excuse was: “But Sean, there’s just no inventory out there!” Sound familiar?
With interest rates rising and properties continuing to be snapped up in 2023, inventory is still at historic lows in many hot markets. But do you think that stopped Sean from getting leads and closing deals well above asking? Of course not. He just worked a little harder and leaned into other sources of listings. Here are three sources that he thinks will be especially promising this year:
- Homebuilders: The fact is, builders can’t turn on a dime with buyer demand, so they’re going to need help offloading inventory in a cooler market.
- Homeowners turned landlords: With the downturn in asking prices, there are bound to be owners who are renting out their properties, waiting for prices to rise again.
- Preforeclosures: There are struggling homeowners out there who could benefit from your expertise.
You can learn how to convert these three potential customers (and learn about six more inventory sources) in Sean’s article on the best strategies to find hidden listing inventory here:
9 Proven Strategies to Find Hidden Listing Inventory
2. Drive Traffic to Home Valuation Landing Pages
Every owner wants to know how much their investment is worth, and that’s even more true in a volatile market. In 2023, driving traffic to home valuation landing pages is still one of the best ways to generate top-of-funnel seller leads online. The only problem is that getting a low price on pay-per-click ads and designing landing pages that actually convert is very difficult. Most agents don’t have the time or tech skills to do it.
Luckily, there is a much easier way to get seller leads from home valuation landing pages: You can “rent” your ZIP code on homevalues.com from Market Leader and start getting seller leads right away.
7 Stunning Real Estate Landing Pages + 6 Hacks to Make Yours Better
3. Learn How to Work Expired Listings
The best advice I ever got about success in real estate—and maybe in life—was also the simplest: “It’s better to be their first love, second spouse, and third real estate agent.”
While we don’t give relationship advice (yet), we can tell you from experience that this is true. First-time buyers and sellers almost always choose the wrong agent. That makes expired listings—properties that a real estate agent couldn’t sell in time—an excellent source of seller leads.
Of course, like all cold outreach, winging it is probably not a good idea. You likely won’t be the only agent trying to contact these owners, and they’ll have objections lined up for you. That’s why you’ll need a lead source and auto-dialer like REDX’s Power Dialer, and you need to practice tried-and-true scripts including objection handlers if you want a shot at actually converting them.
The 26 Best Expired Listing Scripts + Objection Handlers
4. Join a Team With Well-known Listing Agents
When you started out in real estate, you may have thought of yourself as a lone wolf, enjoying working without a boss telling you what to do when. But joining a team led by experienced listing agents will give you insights and the direct experience to start working seller leads faster. Sure you could figure it out on your own, and working under someone else might not live up to your expectations, but if you want a head start becoming a listing agent, joining a team is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door.
3 Foolproof Team Models: Hiring, Splits, Lead Gen + More
5. Use Predictive Analytics to Target Homeowners Before They’re Ready to Sell
If you want to get a taste of what the future of generating seller leads will look like, you need to integrate predictive analytics into your lead generation strategy. Of course, using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate seller leads sounds pretty intimidating to most agents—myself included. But you don’t need to know a lick of code to leverage the futuristic power of AI to generate real estate seller leads.
Predictive analytics companies like Offrs work their tech magic behind the scenes, using AI to parse more than 250 data points. They use that data to deliver a set amount of leads every month—guaranteed. Offrs has also partnered with ROOF, a referral network that contacts, qualifies, and converts your leads. Plus, you can get all of this without an annual contract.
6. Help Distressed Homeowners
No matter how good the market is, there are always homeowners who fall behind on payments. With the recent rate hikes and markets softening in many cities, there is a good chance we will see more homeowners falling behind this year.
In some cases, they are able to recover from their situation by getting caught up on payments or negotiating a loan modification, but in most cases, they will have to sell the home to avoid foreclosure. That’s why working distressed properties can be a great way to get seller listings in any real estate market.
While we don’t have a crystal ball to tell us where the housing market is heading this year, the Federal Reserve’s options are limited. They have signaled that quantitative tightening—raising interest rates to lower demand—will likely continue for the foreseeable future. But whatever happens in the market, learning how to help distressed homeowners is a crucial skill for every Realtor to learn. You never know when it will come in handy. Learn more about how to find and work with distressed homeowners in Sean’s course, “Survive and Thrive,” in The Close Pro.
7. Find Real Estate Seller Leads in Your CRM
If you’re not working your sphere, you are leaving seller leads on the table. Period. According to the National Association of Realtors, 63% of all sellers find their agent through a referral. Since you’ve already got some sort of relationship with the people in your sphere, you can skip the cold outreach tactics and start straight in on strengthening your existing relationship and nudging people toward becoming clients.
Miltiadis Kastanis, senior director of luxury sales in Miami Beach for Douglas Elliman, gets most of his seller leads from his network:
“My seller leads come from my network, from being on the scene, and from always being at the most happening events. My tips and tricks to keeping them as a full-time client is by being at their call even when it’s not related to real estate.
“I go to their personal events, support their causes, invite them to dinner parties, and so on. I become a part of their daily life and offer a superior level of service to make sure they don’t think of anyone else for their referrals or their personal real estate needs. I come from a hospitality background, so it’s really simple for me.”
8 Tips for Building Your Sphere of Influence in Real Estate (+ Script)
8. Create an Action Plan for Lead Nurturing & Automate It
Since even the hottest seller leads can take months to convert, successful listing agents create action plans to nurture them for the long haul. Once they have a plan that works, they automate as much as they can. This makes your leads feel like you are devoting time, energy, and interest to their needs even when you’re busy drumming up new business.
Here’s a quick example of a nurturing action plan from Dina Goldentayer, a Douglas Elliman agent in Miami:
- Text message: Once per week
- Market update call: Every two weeks
- Coffee meetup: Once per month
Using an affordable customer relationship management (CRM) system like LionDesk, you can easily automate market analysis drips, birthday and holiday texts, meeting invites, and more. LionDesk also has an AI assistant, auto-dialer, and click-to-call features, so you won’t get bogged down with busy work.
9. Convert Rental Leads Into Seller Leads
While traditionally a buyer lead generation strategy that only really worked in big cities, converting rental leads has become a viable plan for agents all over the country. Once you look at demographic shifts, it’s easy to see why. First, more people are renting now than ever before, and second, developers are building more and more high-end rentals outside of larger cities.
Here’s Manhattan luxury agent Adrian Radomski on just how lucrative converting rental leads can be:
“Treat every rental showing as if it were a large sale—you never know who you’re showing to. I’ve converted a $9,000 rental showing into a $4.2 million sale. That person then referred me to another family member, whose apartment we sold for $1.3 million.”
10. Get Over Your Fear of Cold Calling Potential Sellers
While many people tend to avoid phone calls as if they were actually allergic to them, I still believe that the personal connection made on the phone is equal to 10 postcards or emails. It’s simple really—human beings are conditioned to both remember and react to interpersonal communication.
So when you’re planning out your lead generation and nurturing campaigns to convert seller leads, make sure you add regular phone calls to your plan. That means setting aside a few hours each day to cold call, as well as regularly picking up the phone and calling former clients just to check in and remind them you exist. Jennifer Alese, Ryan Serhant’s head of new development, didn’t mince words when we asked her how important calling leads is to getting listings. She also added a quick tip about diversifying your outreach methods to get a response:
“Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk. This is so important and goes such a long way. It’s a work day? Text them! At the end of the day, we are all in the same world and evolving with technology. Not everyone checks emails, answers calls, or listens to voicemail.”
11. Build Your Network of Local Service Providers to Drive More Referrals
Another great way to collect more seller leads is to build a library of local service providers. The idea is to be known as something of a local fixer. So if someone in your sphere needs something, they know you have connections.
Brian Babst of Compass in New York City agrees:
“For everyone I come in contact with, I position myself constantly as a helpful resource, and not as focused on the immediate listing. If they are confident I know the most cost-effective painter, the easiest place for window treatments, or best slice in the neighborhood, I know I’m going to be on their list when it’s time to sell. Especially in a time when there is a ‘concierge’ or an Angie’s List-style referral source for everything, people want to trust a ‘Brian’s List’ that’s actually handpicked and tested. Money and time matter—if you can prove you’re a helpful resource, the sellers will remember.”
7 Savvy Ways to Generate More Real Estate Referrals
12. Nurture Relationships With Local Business Owners
One underappreciated way to get real estate seller leads is to develop relationships with local influencers who will then become evangelists for your business. No, we’re not suggesting you go out for drinks with the local equivalent of Kim Kardashian. Instead, you can work to develop relationships with local business owners. Why local business owners? Simple. They know everyone, and new people moving to your area want to know them. It’s a win-win.
13. Work Open Houses to Find Seller Leads
Open houses can be an excellent place to find seller leads. Yes, you’ll get the inevitable parade of tire kickers and curious neighbors, but you’ll also get serious would-be sellers checking out the competition to see what their home might sell for. After all, every consumer thinks they’re the real estate expert these days, and what better way to get a lay of the land than checking out listings in person?
Open houses can be an especially fertile source for seller leads in affluent neighborhoods, as most residents never even see their neighbors’ driveways—let alone their living rooms.
Barbara Leogrande, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman Long Island, sees open houses as a perfect excuse to skip right past online lead gen and meet potential clients in person:
“Open houses are hands-down the best way to generate seller leads. I typically do two to three every weekend and find that it’s not only buyers who attend, but also homeowners scoping out the competition and subconsciously interviewing the agents they meet. Nothing beats a face-to-face, personal experience and making a great first impression. When they call me to list, they say, ‘Do you remember me? We met at your open house!’”
14. Work With Real Estate Investors & House Flippers
If you’re working in a reasonably sized city, chances are there are dozens of investors and house flippers buying, renovating, and selling houses every day. What most people don’t realize is that investors weren’t born yesterday. They know that their best chance to get top dollar when it comes time to sell their listing is to hire an agent to aggressively market the property.
Why shouldn’t that listing agent be you? If you have local expertise, marketing chops, and enough experience to get them great prices, then you can set yourself up with a steady supply of listings to close every month. Check out forums such as BiggerPockets to find potential contacts.
9 Skills Agents Need to Work With Investors & Close 50-100 Deals a Year
15. Find a New Niche to Work Seller Leads
If you’ve tried all the other ways to get seller leads here and you’re still not getting any, you might be working the wrong niche. Markets change, and staying ahead of the curve and working niches that are growing rather than shrinking just might be your ticket to getting more leads.
Just make sure you do your research here. Transitioning to a new niche is a risk and might not pay off if you choose the wrong one. And, of course, every market is different. Understanding the cycle that your particular area is in could be key to making the right choice. If you’re not sure where you stand, check out Sean Moudry’s guide to deciphering local real estate market cycles.
Also, here are six niches that we think will grow in the future:
8 Red-hot Real Estate Niches That Can Double Your GCI in 2024
zBuyer originally emerged as a tool for real estate investors and iBuyers, which is why it uses a fairly niche approach to lead generation: The cash-offer lead capture strategy. The cash-offer strategy attracts potential off-market properties whose sellers would be interested in selling—for the right price.
16. Pitch Homeowners With a Highly Detailed Listing Marketing Plan
Where and how you market a home for sale is at the very core of your fiduciary duty as a listing agent. After all, your plan for marketing a property is one of the key pieces of information homeowners use to make the decision to hire you or move on to the next agent. Unless you’re working in the middle of nowhere, there will always be another agent.
So take the time to put as much work into your listing marketing plan as you would into your comparative market analysis (CMA). While you should tailor your marketing plan for every new listing you pitch, you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, create a marketing plan that will work for any listing and modify it to appeal to the owners of each listing.
While you might think your CMA is more relevant to the homeowner’s pain points, chances are it’s not going to be very different from your competitor’s. Pay attention to the details here and do your homework. You’re going to want to get hyper-localized and showcase your knowledge.
The Ultimate Real Estate Listing Marketing Plan (PDF Checklist)
17. Try Inheritance & Probate Leads
Inheritance and probate leads are a great way to find listings. While some of these properties may have the mortgage paid off, those that don’t often fall into the hands of people who either can’t or don’t want to pay that mortgage. This means motivated sellers who are ready to list.
The only problem is that finding these leads can be time-consuming. You can develop a relationship with a probate attorney or take a class to understand how to obtain the leads directly from the courthouse yourself.
However, you can also try new technology to easily beef up your inheritance listing game. Catalyze AI uses predictive analytics to find inherited properties that are likely to sell before they enter the probate system.
18. Sow Seeds in Your Geographic Farm
As the saying goes, “The seeds you sow today are the rewards you reap tomorrow.” Listing a home is not an impulse decision. You need to plant the seeds of your personal brand in your farm so that you’re top of mind when homeowners decide to make a transaction.
An easy way to do this is with print marketing and personalized postcards. Services like Addressable and Boomerang DM help you send print marketing that people will actually read. Pair those tactics with a voicemail drop via software like Slybroadcast in the same area with recent listings—how long they were on the market, the addresses and how much they sold for. When you offer value to your farm, you’ll reap the rewards.
19. Start Hosting Community Events
Community events are a great way to increase your neighborhood credibility and establish connections with sellers. The Close’s resident real estate coach Trevor James agrees:
“In the neighborhood I grew up in, one local real estate agent handed out a newsletter once a month. On top of the community newsletter, the agent would rent a park to hold annual neighborhood events, like hosting an Easter egg hunt in April, passing out American flags on the Fourth of July, and helping coordinate a free pumpkin patch in October.
“Everybody knew who Mike was, and he always had a few for-sale yard posts in the neighborhood. In fact, Mike’s neighborhood farm events were some of the best memories I had in that community growing up. You can’t buy that kind of neighborhood goodwill.”
Over to You
Have a great strategy for getting seller leads that we missed? Let us know in the comment section. We update our articles frequently to always give you the latest information, but technology and the markets are changing faster than ever these days. So if you have questions, pain points, or just want to share a cool tip, our digital door is always open.
If you’re really struggling and want some support from fellow agents, join our Facebook mastermind group. Or check out our special report on the best real estate coaches to find someone who can help today.