How to Generate Real Estate Leads

how to generate real estate leads

Are you building your real estate business, but finding it hard to generate leads? If you don’t have a background in sales, you may be sitting in your new real estate office wondering what the big deal is about “leads”. Everyone seems to be talking about them, yet your own supply of this resource seems to be fleeting (if not non-existent). Thats going to be a problem!

In this article, lets break down some of the top ways to generate real estate leads.

What Are Real Estate Leads?

Let’s start with the basics. A “lead” is an inquiry or contact for/from a potential client or customer. A lead is not:

  • Just a random phone number or email for anyone with a pulse.
  • A tip on a lead coming up, without getting any actual contact information.
  • Someone completely unqualified reaching out to you.

In sales, when we prospect business, it is essential that the person you are trying to prospect actually wants and is able to buy what you’re selling. In this case, you are selling real estate services. You are prospecting for leads (or prospects).

A Word On Qualifying Leads!

It is paramount that you qualify leads! Any experienced agent should be able to determine if the lead is worth their effort (or not) in a very short amount of time (generally a couple emails or quick phone call).

As a new agent, you should spend your time with every lead! Senior agents may try their hardest to shrug off tire-kickers or difficult-to-convert prospects. They waste little time answering questions for people they don’t think are going to materialize into a sale. DON’T DO THIS AS A NEW AGENT!

You likely don’t have a lot on the go in terms of deals, so you should take the time to really speak with every inquiry you get. Book a 30 minute call or meeting with each lead. This will help you hone your qualification skills, become comfortable answering questions about your market, and increase your odds of finding and connecting with true prospects other agents may overlook.

Ok, So How Do I Generate Real Estate Leads?!

Yes! Let’s get down to the important stuff. There are a few key ways most agents generate leads:

  • Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Waiting Around (or setting a trap?)
  • Prospecting
  • Digital Assets

This isn’t an exhaustive list; senior agents may also take advantage of their database and simply prospect their long list of current clients. If someone bought from you 5-10 years ago – they might be willing to Sell, for instance. But that isn’t going to work for you if you’re new to the business.


This one seems obvious, because it is. And guess what? Every other real estate agent in your community has figured it out, has been doing it for longer, and has a way bigger budget than YOU to spend on all the advertising out there.

Just because consumers are awash in a sea of bus benches, newspaper ads and facebook blasts doesn’t mean you can’t stand out, though. My advice is to make your ads better. This isn’t a high bar to vault – most real estate agent advertising is dated photos, cheesy slogans, and ham-handed “I’m the #1 X” data. Speak directly to a specific audience, invest in quality photography and design, and place your ads where your competition are not.

Oh – and be prepared to pay. Advertising is not cheap, and as a new agent you likely don’t have the deep pockets your competition have. That’s why I prefer the other methods listed below.


Referrals are a big deal in the real estate business. There are two types mainly: referrals from clients, and referrals from other agents.

Referrals from clients are great because it means they are happy with the work you did for them. Keeping in touch with clients and letting them know you’re around and available is a great way to generate leads. Use a monthly email newsletter, combined with periodic touches (Christmas, holidays, anniversaries) to refresh their memory of you. It never hurts to ask if they know of anyone looking to make a property move sometime soon!

Referrals from other agents are excellent as well (though you may have to pay out a percentage of your commission to them). The best ways to generate these are to network with agents in other markets/communities that may have people moving to where you work. Reach out to other brokerage offices and introduce yourself as the go-to-person in X town/city. Your phone will ring eventually! Having positive online reviews also really helps with this.

Waiting Around…. yawn

So, this is a method I don’t really believe in… but can’t deny works. In fact, my first $1M sale was achieved this way.

Setting up at an Open House on a weekend, or taking on a desk shift at your brokerage office can generate leads. Sure – 90% of the people who walk in the door are really just looking for a bathroom. But that 10% who may actually be interested in buying (the open house or another) – thats a great way to get the wheels spinning on your real estate business.

Open houses can also be a great way to meet Sellers in the neighbourhood. Curious folks love to pop in and see what their neighbours homes look like – and maybe find out what their own could be worth.


Now this is where the rubber meets the road. Prospecting is the best way to move the needle in your direction when it comes to generating real estate leads. Prospecting is really anything that involves you going out and getting the business to come to you. Of course, the majority of folks won’t be interested (and may even be upset you called). But even if the odds are against you, there is still some gold to be found.

I’ve gotten a $2.5M listing from door-knocking!

The best ways to prospect in real estate are door-knocking and cold-calling. When you door knock, you target a specific neighbourhood you want to build business in. Go door to door (always making yourself visible and friendly looking), and ring the bell. “Hello! I’m a local agent and am just handing out these flyers for free home evaluations. Are you thinking of making a move any time soon? Know anyone who is?” A great idea is to bring a flyer, door hanger, treat or gift along with you – this makes your visit much more appealing.

Cold-calling is when you reach out to local homeowners out of the blue, via their number or email. Depending on local legislation in your area, it may be hard to do this. But there are databases and companies who can provide contact info for folks in geographic areas you want to target. Take the same approach as above, and present value to them first. Maybe you can call with some recent market data they may find interesting?

Building Digital Assets

This is something I plan to explore in another post and through my course, but I figured it was worth a brief word in this post. One of the best ways to attract leads like a magnet, is to build assets for your real estate business. Assets are like marketing pieces, but the difference is that you own them (where advertising is really just renting space for a fee).

Examples of assets are things like YouTube Videos, Blogs, and Websites. My definition of an asset is: something you exclusively own, attracts business to you, and gets stronger over time/is not time limited. For example: if you purchase space in a newspaper, you pay X dollars to be in it for Y time. When your money runs out, poof, your lead generator disappears.

When you have a killer youtube video or blog post guiding leads to you like a beacon, it will only get better with time! Youtube view counts only go UP. Remember this! Invest in something you control that can grow grow grow. You’ll thank me later.

Youtube view counts only go UP.

The Best Way To Generate Real Estate Leads

In my opinion, a combination of approaches will always create the best return. Homeowners will be much more receptive to your door-knock if they’ve seen your friendly face on a billboard. No matter what your strategy, you should always be trying to convert past clients into referral business.

Until you have the ball rolling on your business, you should expect to pay for some marketing and advertising. When you do, make an impact by ensuring your material is at least twice as attractive as your competition. Follow your marketing push up with a calling or knocking campaign to try and hit a goal for touches and impressions to make a splash in your market.

You’ve got this! Now go get some leads.


The Modern Salesman

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