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Best Lead Generation for Real Estate

Paid leads aren’t for everyone.

Too many agents get sucked into paying for leads but fail to get an ROI because their follow-up is lousy. I only recommend paid leads if you have a solid conversion plan.

There are several considerations when considering paid lead services.

Are you focusing on buyers or sellers?

Do you want many lower-quality leads with long sales to funnel or fewer higher-quality leads?

Are you willing to take a lower cost-per-lead but have to compete for new clients with two other agents who also get that lead?

Or are you okay if your lead service sells leads to other agents in your zip code?

Below are the best real estate lead generation providers for those ready to gas up their pipeline.

Best Lead Generation for Real Estate Software

BEST FOR MOTIVATED SELLERS

zBuyer

$250+/mo. ZBuyer gets seller leads by advertising cash offers for homes. That may not seem so great at first, but many of these responders are better off listing traditionally, and just need an agent to show them the way. That said, it is also an option for investor-friendly agents or outright investors. The leads are reasonably priced, though you have to work them. Volume may be limited depending on your area, but it might be worthwhile in combination with your other prospecting strategies.

BEST FOR NEWER AGENTS

Zillow Premier Agent

~$200+mo. No Zillow haters here! Zillow is the #1 most visited real estate portal in America. It is a great source of leads. Folks submitting their information are usually actively looking to buy a home, and an agent with a prompt response and quality follow up will close deals. If you need a strong supplemental pillar to your business, Zillow is a solid choice.

BEST FOR BROKERAGES / TEAMS

Prime Seller Leads

$99+/mo + advertising spend. Prime Seller Leads is a product from iVortex Media. Unlike other options, PSL manages your advertising spending. It offers a home value estimate on a home valuation landing page promoted via Google Ads or Facebook Ads. They include an option for exclusive real estate leads for an area. Consider Prime Seller Leads if you are a brokerage or team prepared to spend $3000+ on paid lead generation.

OTHERS

BoldLeads

$269+/mo plus $250+/mo ad spend. BoldLeads sells exclusive leads that can focus on prospects who are either buying or selling. It includes a backend CRM and automated follow up system. No sharing your leads with other agents! Most leads are generated via Facebook advertisements. Consequently, they get a lot of leads, but generally low quality. If your systems are set up to process and nurture those kinds of leads, BoldLeads is a competent solution worth considering to keep your pipeline full.

Offrs

$200+/mo. Offrs is a real estate lead generation software mostly designed to generate listing leads, using predictive analytics. Offrs uses big data to guesstimate likely sellers in the next 12 months.

Realtor.com

~$200+/mo. Realtor.com is the second most visited real estate website in America. Realtor.com is owned by Move.com, which is in turn owned by the Murdoch family (Fox, Wall Street Journal, and more). They are also partnered with the CRM Top Producer and lead generation OpCity. Realtor.com is a solid source of buyer leads for real estate agents.

SmartZip

~$1000+/mo. SmartZip combines the high-tech tools of AI and predictive analytics to the old-school tools of direct mail. They use their predictive marketing to identify likely home sellers, and then mail those home sellers personalized pieces designed to get them to call you. It is the tech-savvy way of running your direct mail campaign and focusing on listing leads. SmartZip is worth considering for those who are farming with a direct mail component. And like all leads, they are only as good as you are. You’ve gotta work it.

Other Real Estate Lead Providers

There are several other paid lead services for real estate, including:

  • Lead Geeks
  • Movoto
  • Ownerly
  • ProspectNow
  • Rocket Agent
  • Qazzoo
  • Homes.com
  • SetSchedule

Paid Leads from your Platform

Some quality leads may come from your website/CRM platform that you are already using.

Most real estate industry-leading platforms also offer their own paid lead services.

Running a competent AdWords or Facebook campaign is a fundamental skill set for these companies. These “lead generation” sites send home buyer traffic to your IDX website and forced registration to convert the leads or a home valuation landing page to convert potential sellers. Some include lead generation software backends that allow you to closely monitor and tune your spending and results.

  • BoomTown
  • Curaytor
  • CINC
  • kvCORE
  • Real Geeks
  • Sierra Interactive
  • Ylopo
  • Market Leader

Real Estate Marketing Software

Marketing software is different from paid leads. Buying leads isn’t marketing. You buy the lead. Someone else is doing the marketing to get that lead to you.

This real estate software is designed for you to generate your leads. There are numerous different marketing strategies and tools, including:

  • Referral / Repeat Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing

FSBOs, Expireds, and More

The paid leads above are about paid advertising and inducing a consumer to contact you.

Alternatively, you can get lists of leads you proactively engage in, like FSBOs, Expireds, probates, and more.

Some of the companies that do that for agents include:

  • Espresso Agent
  • LandVoice
  • REDX
  • Vulcan 7

Real Estate Leads for New Agents

Before buying leads as a new agent, you must be realistic about your budget and strategy.

Budget

A “good” return on paid lead spending is about 5x. So if the average commission in your market is $5000, then you reasonably might expect to spend as much as $1000 before you get enough leads per month to turn into a closing.

Big teams that know what they are doing are very well with a 5x return. Think about it. What if I told you, a big shot real estate team leader, to spend $20,000 and you would get $100,000 back a couple of months later? A 5x return is excellent!

But that’s a lot of money for some agents starting.

My recommendation is to budget for that kind of money upfront. I also might recommend sticking to the portals to start because those are reasonably hot leads.

If you don’t have that kind of money, I recommend skipping buying leads altogether. Put together a lead generation plan that focuses on your sphere, referrals, networking, or the myriad of other low-cost techniques for generating leads.

Follow Up

Now about your lead generation strategy.

These leads are worthless if you cannot follow up and convert them with persistent, quality engagement.

The ROI shrinks into negative red territory when you aren’t correctly engaging leads. The agents failing at this are often the same ones you will see complaining about how awful leads are on Facebook.

Get comfortable with making phone calls. Follow-up is more than just assigning drip campaigns.

I don’t recommend spending money on leads unless you know your funnel is working. Before forking out cash, build your business working with friends and family, or cold calling expired or FSBO leads.

At most, start with a small spend so you can tinker with your system and ensure you are engaging the leads well.

Do-It-Yourself Lead Generation

Most paid leads come from major portals (Zillow, Realtor.com), Facebook ads, or Google AdWords.

Perhaps you want to skip the expensive middleman and find potential clients ready to sell or buy a home. Here are some ideas on how to DIY and go straight to the client.

A great thing about building your lead generation is that you earn exclusive real estate leads. No one else gets them.

The business is ultimately lead generation. He who owns the leads owns the business. Even if you are paying for leads now, start working on a way of earning them yourself.

Portal Leads

It would be tough to replicate a portal, though there are things you can do to compete with them.

An IDX-enabled real estate website, some long tail keywords, hyperlocal SEO, and some lead-capturing call-to-actions can earn you organic leads the same way a portal does.

With Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com all involved in iBuying in some way, you, too, can leverage the ability to make cash offers. You might partner with local investors or, more efficiently, become an iBuyer expert and offer to help submit sellers’ homes to all the available iBuyers. This is a great way to capture leads from folks interested to sell their home.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Leads

Nothing is keeping you from running Facebook ads or Google AdWords yourself. Build a slick home valuation landing page and promote it on Facebook, or run a Google AdWords campaign yourself and show up at the top of the SERPs.

Write some lead-capturing ad copy providing a service (home valuation, home search results, market report, etc.) and earn eyeballs, clicks, and conversions.

I recommend being very careful, however. Your competition knows what they are doing. And when you know what you are doing, you can spend more. And when you can spend more, it drives up the price for you, making it all the more critical that you know what you are doing.

For example, professional digital marketers will A/B test all their ad copy. They will A/B test their landing pages. They dig into Google Analytics and Facebook pixels and track the user journey. They use excellent software like Hotjar to see how their pages are converting. And that is their entire job, while you might be juggling a real estate business.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to start by copying the competition – the folks who have put in the time and research in advance.

If you want to generate leads on social media or PPC, you’ll want to keep your conversion as high as possible. The best way to do this is with a landing page. Landing pages are optimized for conversion and collecting a prospect’s contact information. When buying traffic and exposure, you need to be sure you are maximizing how much of that converts into actual buyer or seller info.

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Final word

Real estate lead generation is an essential and often the most expensive part of your business. Buying real estate leads to support even a single high-performing agent will probably set you back $1000s/mo.

Wherever your leads come from, they are useless without good lead nurturing. Indeed, if your lead nurturing is broken, buying real estate buyer leads and seller leads can easily have a negative return on your money. Improving your conversion rate from 1% and 2% can be the difference between a scalable, profitable business and bankruptcy. Don’t buy leads until you have a plan in place for how to work them.

You should have referrals and your sphere of influence, of course. And you should have at least two other sources of leads. Other lead sources like referrals or farming a neighborhood can have much higher ROIs but take time to develop. Be sure you are building other sources of business than just the leads you are paying for.