Door Knocking for Real Estate
It’s the 2020s! Does anyone still door knock?
Apparently! At least, I’ve had a few at my door in the past month.
Despite all the new tech and consumers moving online, some old fashioned prospecting methods seem to last. Who knows, maybe door-to-door sales will make a comeback the same way direct mail did!
Door knocking is still a legitimate strategy to generate leads, aligns well with other prospecting strategies, and clearly has appeal to newer agents who are looking to spend as little as possible on leads.
Pros and Cons of Door Knocking
Here’s what to weigh before deciding on door knocking as your lead generation strategy of choice.
- Free. Door knocking costs nothing but your time.
- Synergy with Other Prospecting Methods. Door knocking blends reasonably well with other lead generation strategies like open houses and farming.
- Targets sellers. List to last! It’s the seller lead that everyone craves. And door knocking generally targets homeowners who may be selling their home in the next year or two.
- The Ring Doorbell. I don’t know about you, but I use my Ring doorbell to screen out salespeople. I couldn’t do that just two years ago. As Ring and other video doorbells continue to catch on, I’d wager door knocking continues to see the ROI drop.
- Seasonal. Real estate is a seasonal business. But your lead generation shouldn’t be. But for a few areas with uniquely beautiful weather, your lead generation will but shut down by rain, snow, or brutal heat.
- Inefficient. You can only knock so many doors in an hour (probably about 30). As fewer people answer their doors, your conversion shrinks even more. Then, unlike, say, cold calling when you can at least work in your CRM while in between pickups, you can’t do much in between homes or waiting to see if you get a response.
- Not Scalable. If door knocking is working, it’s really hard to do more of it. You can only be in so many places, and your time will only compress as you do more deals.
If these don’t appeal to you or your style, consider and compare it to other lead generation strategies.
How to Door Knock for Real Estate
- Select a manageable farm area and knock it twice a year. Don’t knock random neighborhoods every weekend. Select, at most, a few neighborhoods in the same city that is going to be your farm. Pick the price point that you want to work and educated yourself on the neighborhood, trends, original builders, etc. You need to establish yourself as the expert. The best neighorhoods to farm are probably those with high turnover, which tend to be low to mid-tier priced neighborhoods.
- Bring doorknob hangers. Each house you knock that doesn’t answer probably takes about 90 seconds of your time, and might never have even known you were there. Leaving a relevant marketing piece is a way to make a better use of your time. I would add a list of recent sales in the neighborhood or some sort of hyperlocal market update. Providing value!
- Offer value. Give them stuff like the aforementioned market update! This is an opportunity to give them something they might actually look at before trashing, and better establishes you less as a salesperson and more as a neighborhood expert. It’s a lot easier to pitch yourself when you are giving something for free with no strings attached.
- Marry it with an open house or charity event. Even if you don’t have a listing in the neighborhood, work with another agent and their listing to put on an open house. The week before or day of is a great time to pitch your open house (which doesn’t feel as sales-y) and get your face and name out there! Similarly, sharing the news about your charity events is a great match for door knocking.
Best Time to Go Door Knocking
4:00 PM until sunset is the best time for door knocking.
These are referred to as the “power hours”. For obvious reasons, you can catch folks when they are most likely to be home from work. There is the risk of interrupting dinnertime, but it is what it is.
Do not door knock after dark. Many people may have already begun their bedtime routine, and it’s not as safe for you.
On weekends, you are more flexible, though don’t door knock earlier than 10 AM Saturdays (people are sleeping in!) or Sunday mornings during church time.
Best Door Knocking Scripts for Real Estate
Open House Script
Hello! I am Brian Adams, a Realtor with StarPointe Realty. I have an open house this Sunday from 2 to 4 for the Riddle family at [Address]. I wanted to invite you, as well as see if you know of anyone else who might be interested in purchasing a home?’
Out of curiosity, are you considering a move?
Would you like a home valuation? [SELLER] / Would you like a list of properties from the MLS that meet the criteria you are looking for? [BUYER]
What is the best name and email I can send that to?
Market Survey Script
I used this one as a very low pressure way to get engagement. I found a lot of folks seems surprised, expecting some sales pitch, and were more likely to engage.
On the plus, I was able to get actual data that I could repackage as an article or neighborhood mailing.
Hello, my name is Brian Adams. I’m a local Realtor with StarPointe Realty and was surveying White Rock Estates residents for an article I am writing about the best features in the neighborhood. Would you mind sharing your favorite and least favorite things about living here?
[OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS, e.g.] How long have you lived in the neighborhood?
I also have a neighborhood market update if interested. [HAND MARKET UPDATE]
If you like, I can also provide you a home valuation of your home?
What is the best name and email I can send that to?
Market Update Script
Hello! My name is Brian Adams. I’m a real estate agent with StarPointe Realty. I am sharing market updates with White Rock Estates [HAND MARKET UPDATE].
We’re offering free home price analyses, including a review of your tax assessment to see if there is an opportunity to challenge it. Would you or anyone you know be interested in a free analysis?
What is the best name and email I can send that to?
If you are speaking with a renter, you’ll want to be prepared to modify the script and simply ask if they’ve considered purchasing a home, or would like to know more about the housing market.
Door Knocking Tips for Realtors
- Only pitch to adults. It’s not appropriate to engage with minors on a sales call. If a kid answers the door, ask for an adult. If none are available, deliver your market update or open house flier and move on.
- Never go inside. For your own safety, don’t do this.
- You don’t need to live in the neighborhood. That’s not a reasonable expectation for prospects to demand that you live in their neighborhood for you to be a capable agent. If you happen to, then gravy. If they insist on it, then it is what it is and you can move on. Most homeowners won’t care.
- Don’t push. If you can get someone’s contact information and a little about their current housing needs, that is a huge win. You don’t need to set a listing appointment or date to go see homes. Get enough that you can follow up, build relationships, and tailor your interactions to their needs.
- Dress comfortably. Even just a couple hours of door-knocking can be a sweaty or footsore business.
- Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions is a basic sales skill. Avoid yes and no questions and try to get to know a potential client by listening.
- Back away from the door. Especially if you are big dude, you don’t want to appear threatening. Back away ten feet or more so that homeowners feel safe to open the door.
- Knock or ring? I find more and more salespeople knocking, it seems. Knocking is quieter and might be a good place to start. If after 30 seconds there is no response, go for the doorbell. Mixing it up helps as sometimes a knock may be too quiet, or a doorbell inoperable. Give homeowners a minute to respond and, if nothing, cut your losses and move on.
Resources and Training
Remember, here at Hooquest, I believe in spending as little money as possible. I don’t recommend purchasing coaching, training, or advertising until your business is already working. Most of these resources and training materials, however, are free!
The following are some podcast episodes featuring Realtors talking about their blogging tips and tricks in our industry.
- Master Mind Agent: SC120: Nick Shivers. How He Sold 48 Homes His First Year By Circle Prospecting And Door Knocking. Script For Calling Around Other Agents Listings To Find New Sellers Who Want To List. House Warming Parties. Team Agent Career Path.
- ReminderMedia. Ep 85: Get 30 Transactions a Year by Door Knocking (with James Festini)
- Real Estate Rockstars. 682: Door Knock Your Way into NAR’s 30 Under 30 List with Madison Kazes
- Zero to Diamond Podcast. Ben Stephen The Door Knocking Real Estate Agent
Door Knocking Books
Coaching / Training
Tools and Software
I don’t recommend any tools or paid software for the beginner door knocker. Get out and see if it suits you, first.
But if it’s working for you, there are some tools that can make your experience smoother and more efficient.
$25/mo. Active Knocker is an app for door knockers that features a live location tracker, the ability to assign territory, route planning, and map filters.
$29.95+/mo and $99 setup fee. This is an ingenious software with an app designed with real estate agents in mind. It allows you to track the time you’ve been prospecting, schedule revisits, and take notes on your conversations in your farm. It features a free trial.
$39+/mo and onboarding fee. Spotio is an industry leading field sales platform for door-to-door salesmen. The software and app features territory management, sales tracking, and is focused on team tools.
Door knocking suffers from some serious negatives, like scalability, that may dissuade an agent from adopting it even if they can overcome the natural fear of rejection.
But for a new agent bootstrapping their business or committed to a particular farm, is can absolutely still work as an ingredient to successful real estate lead generation in the 21st century.
Successful door knocking requires grit, persistence, and patience, but also demonstrates grist, persistence, and patience to possible customers.
I did a limited amount of door-knocking and got one, excellent listing from it. It was on a door with a no soliciting sign, and the sellers later told me they listed with me because they admired my dedication, which I had demonstrated door knocking.
It does still work.