September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.
This article was last updated Sept. 12, 2022.
As we’re seeing some changes in the market as we head into fall, now is the perfect time to do a gut-check on your pipeline and growth goals. A thriving real estate business depends on a steady flow of leads to grow.
Here’s my list of 40 lead generation strategies that agents are using to win deals out there right now. Watch the full video above to find out why new agents should start with the last three.
1. Target renters who moved in 8-9 months ago
Most rental or lease agreements for residential real estate are for 12 months, so renters whose lease is a few months from ending could be potential buyers who can buy at a lower monthly cost than their current rent. Go back in the MLS to identify homes rented 8-9 months ago and find potential buyers.
2. Identify property owners who rented their property 8-9 months ago
Many investment property owners are either looking to sell and reposition or buy another rental property. Because the market changes, if you connect with these owners a few months before the end of their current lease, you may find clients who are looking to sell their properties or investors who would like to buy additional rental properties.
3. Reach out to your past buyer clients
With prices moving up over the past year and a half, your past buyers might be considering a change. A simple check-in to see how they are doing is a great way to deepen relationships and find listing opportunities.
4. Upload community videos to YouTube
Add valuable information about the communities you serve using YouTube videos. You can shoot these 1-2 minute videos with a smartphone, or you can hire someone to shoot them professionally. Nothing shows your local expertise more than sharing local information, and the organic search traffic from these videos is tremendous and growing in value every day.
5. Join a referral group
Organizations like Business Network International (BNI) or groups through your local chamber of commerce are a great way to find other people looking to grow their business and share leads with each other for the mutual benefit of the group. These are a great place to build a network of referral partners that will feed your business growth both in the short term and over the long term.
6. Knock on doors
Old-school door-knocking still works, and there’s no better way to get face-to-face with potential clients and provide them with something of value. Tell them about an open house, a new house on the market, a recent sale in their neighborhood or changes happening within the local market.
The number of transactions you have is directly proportional to the number of real estate-related conversations you have, and door-knocking is a great way to have more real estate-related conversations.
7. Farm a neighborhood
Farming is the most fundamental way to build a successful real estate business. Identify a neighborhood where you can establish yourself as the local expert, and provide value to the people who live there and those who want to move there. If you don’t have a farm yet, now is the time to start farming.
8. Post listings on Facebook Buy Sell Trade groups
Most areas have a local Facebook Buy Sell Trade group where you can share an available property with the group members. If you don’t currently have any listings you can share, ask another agent if you can promote one of their properties on social media, and then watch for the people who comment or engage with the post.
Private message those people to answer questions from potential buyers and generate showings, and use those listings to drive customers to pages where you can capture their information if possible.
9. Host a first-time homebuyer seminar
Partner with a lender and credit repair company to host a seminar to teach renters how to own a home.
You can offset event costs through partners or sponsors you bring in to help, and the whole seminar can help renters learn the true costs of renting versus owning a home. This strategy is a great way to build a pipeline of current and future first-time homebuyers.
10. Host open houses
Open houses are another one of the most foundational ways to grow your business, and they’re especially beneficial right now as people want to get out and go places. Open houses can help you get in front of potential buyers and sellers as well as curious neighbors who want to know what their homes might be worth.
11. Contact newly engaged couples
A life change like marriage often leads to new housing needs, as well. The couple might want to move out of an apartment into a home, or they might want to sell their separate homes to buy something larger together.
Their changing situation might require new housing arrangements, so take advantage of the opportunity to congratulate them and offer any assistance if they are considering a change.
12. Reach out to pregnant couples
Couples whose families are growing may want or need to increase the size of the home they own as well. Congratulate new couples, and remind them that you’re here to help if they have any questions or need to change their current housing situation.
13. Connect with new empty nesters
The change in the number of family members at home also often leads to reevaluating the ideal home for empty nesters. Homeowners might decide to downsize or buy a different home that will accommodate their children and their guests when they visit. They might also consider moving closer to children or grandchildren once their youngest child has left for college.
14. Optimize your Google My Business Page
The best source for organic traffic on the internet right now is your Google My Business Page. Every single person I know who has optimized their Google My Business page has generated business.
Now more than ever before, your Google My Business page should be a priority for agents who are serious about growing their business.
15. Ask for referrals
Share on social media how much you appreciate referrals, and publicly thank the people who provide them for you. The adage, “Ask and you shall receive,” absolutely applies to referrals.
16. Call listings that have expired in the past 6-18 months
Expired listings always present opportunities, but targeting six- to 18-month-old expired listings that have not been relisted or sold is an excellent place to find listings.
The market has shifted, and prices increased by as much as 20 percent in some areas, so homes that might have been overpriced six to 18 months ago might be priced just right in today’s market. It’s likely that very few agents and quite possibly no other agents are calling them anymore. It’s a great opportunity in a relatively low competition part of the market.
17. Post Reels on Instagram
Short Instagram videos are the best way to generate organic traffic on social media right now. Use these to share information about your farming area or about a particular property, or to answer frequently asked questions about real estate.
There’s no end to the ways you can use videos to add value for your audience and generate leads.
18. Write LinkedIn articles
Articles generate the most organic traffic on LinkedIn right now. If you post good content with effective hashtags that mention the areas you’re serving, you’ll generate new leads for your business.
19. Contact for-sale-by-owners
These homeowners have indicated that they want to sell, but they haven’t found the right agent to help them. Make sure the homes haven’t been listed, and then work to provide value to the owners so you’ll be top-of-mind for any who decide to list with an agent.
20. Contact your sphere of influence
These people know you already, and they want to see you succeed. Engage these people by pointing out how rapidly the market has changed, and remind them that you’re here to help if they’d like more information about their own homes or hear of friends or family who are considering buying or selling.
21. Buy Google Ads
Buying Google Ads offers a great way to generate targeted leads via Google search, and you can either learn the process yourself or pay someone to do the work for you.
22. Run Facebook ads
Facebook ads present another great way to generate targeted leads, and you’ll find plenty of courses to teach you how to build them for your business.
23. Contact preforeclosure homeowners
This process begins when paperwork (lis pendens) gets filed with the county to indicate that the home is in preforeclosure proceedings. You don’t have to mention the foreclosure to the owner, but you can remind them that the market has changed and find out whether they have considered selling.
24. Throw a housewarming party for your buyers
Cover the cost of a housewarming party for your clients so they can invite their friends into their new home. Invite the neighbors nearby to meet the new homeowner, and include your clients’ friends and family.
Offer to send the invitations personally — because it’s a great way to gather contact info for their friends — and then follow up with a thank-you note for attending afterward.
It also takes the stress of coordinating the party off of your client. It’s a great way to introduce them to the neighbors, meet their friends and offer your services to people who might also need real estate help in the future.
25. Throw a going away party for your sellers
This one is another excellent way to meet their friends and neighbors. It provides the opportunity to generate referrals by hosting a party and inviting people to meet you as the agent who helped sell the home. It will also help potential customers see you as a friend in addition to a real estate agent.
26. Buy Zillow leads
Zillow can quickly provide leads who are highly motivated to buy.
27. Buy Realtor.com leads
Like Zillow, Realtor.com can provide leads that are pretty far into the funnel and who are calling about specific properties. If you’re willing to spend a little money, these leads can ultimately turn into closings as well.
28. Work divorce leads
Divorce is another life change that often results in the sale of a house, and you’ll find an opportunity to add value to people who truly need it. Build a relationship with a divorce attorney, and watch the divorce filings in local public records to find potential customers who might need your help.
29. Sign up to provide BPOs
During the preforeclosure process, the banks need a broker price opinion (BPO) of the home. Signing up to provide banks with BPOs is a great way to find distressed listing opportunities, and you can also make a little bit of money from the bank for doing the BPO. You’ll learn more about the process itself, and you’ll identify people who can benefit from your help.
30. Sign up for referrals through Realtor.com
The product formerly known as Opcity is available through Realtor.com as a referral lead source that will send you leads without any initial cost, and you’ll pay a referral fee when you close the transaction. It’s a great way to generate leads without any upfront costs and only pay fees for those deals that actually close.
31. Call owners in tract-built neighborhoods that are 3-5 years old
National builders pull their sales team from neighborhoods as soon as the final house sells, so many of those homeowners are orphaned sellers whose homes have tons of equity right now.
Find these neighborhoods, and talk to the homeowners to establish yourself as the expert on the local market. These are often great neighborhoods for farming as well.
32. Buy Bold leads
Bold leads run ads to find sellers who are interested in learning about their home’s value. It’s an efficient way to build a database of people who own property and then provide a valuation to them as a way to begin building a relationship and identify listing opportunities.
33. Work probate listings
When someone passes away, estates are settled. And there is often real estate that will be sold. The estate’s executor will have the authority to clear the estate, so this is a great way for you to add value to people during a difficult time and identify properties that will potentially come on the market soon.
34. Build relationships with agents in feeder markets
Identify the markets that your buyers are coming from, and build relationships with agents in those markets. Send them notes in the mail, and offer higher-than-normal referral fees for agents who are willing to refer their clients moving to your area to you.
35. Contact rental owners
Generate business with investors by engaging with owners who are managing their own property rentals. Ask them if they have considered selling since the market is so high, and if they aren’t, ask whether they are considering buying another rental property in the near future.
36. Write articles for local magazines
Write an article about five reasons people love living in your area or five reasons so many people move to the area. Publishing an article will help establish you as the expert in the local area, and you’ll help the outlet generate fresh content, which is essential for its audience.
37. Add value to local Facebook groups
These groups centered around the local city or neighborhood, and many of the questions people ask will come from people interested in moving to the area.
Answer questions about the area, and provide value so that when they ask a real estate question, you can private message them and add even more value. They’ll typically do business with the first agent they talk to.
38. Execute circle prospecting
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that when a house sells, three of the owners in the closest 20 houses will consider selling within three weeks.
Reach out to these 20 homeowners in the days following the sale to let them know the details of the sale and to explain how the sale will impact their own home value. They may not sell right away, but you’ll have the opportunity to generate immediate leads and future leads as well.
39. Start a digital farm
Generate an email list of owners, maybe even those in your own neighborhood, and send them a monthly email that includes a video of you talking about the previous month’s sales.
Share details about recent sales, pending sales and how the market is currently performing. Include a call to action at the end that invites curious homeowners to contact you for a no-obligation update about their specific home values.
40. Do unsolicited video CMAs daily
Send unsolicited video CMAs to past buyers, people in your farm area, and anyone else in your circle of influence. Simply record your screen, and share the comparable sales and home’s value range without the homeowners asking for it. People are often surprised by their home’s value, and when you do something that people don’t expect, you’ll create raving fans for your business.
These 40 ideas offer a small start for agents looking to build their businesses, and there are countless more ideas out there. When you do the work to generate new leads, you’ll create new business now and into the future as well.