Generating Leads

Real Estate Lead Generation Guide

By / August 24, 2021

Are you overwhelmed by multiple lead generation platforms and confused about where to concentrate your efforts and spend your money to get the best leads? If yes, then this post is a must read for you.


The real estate industry runs on leads. Ask any realtor and they will confess, that out of everything, leads are the most important thing that keeps their business running. This is reflected by the fact that agents spend an average of $2000 per month on lead generation alone. And with that much money spent, the leads better convert to a sale. 

From our experience at Aiva, we have seen, that while expensive leads from renowned lead generation websites and sources do convert at a higher rate, the best agents often diversify their lead gen sources. The idea is to create an optimal mix of leads acquired from multiple paid and free sources that generate revenues, give maximum average conversion rates, and keeps their employees engaged all at the same time. 

Free Online Leads

Paid Online Leads

Commission Based Online Leads

Free Real Estate Leads from Traditional Methods

Offline Paid Leads


We will look into multiple sources from where agents can acquire real estate leads in 2021. And we broadly classify these leads under online and traditional leads. So without further ado, let’s begin.

Free Online Leads

The reliance on online leads has increased. More and more real estate agents are tapping into multiple online platforms to generate real estate leads. These leads could be acquired for free or from real estate portals for a charge. 

Free real estate leads, especially buyers leads are available in plenty over the web. However, to acquire these leads it needs some preparation and consistent efforts from your side to have them coming every day. Most of these leads would be inbound acquired from multiple online channels that are likely to have a high conversion rate. Some of the top sources for free real estate leads can be: 

Website, SEO, and Blogging

After Covid, more people are searching and buying things online and the real estate industry is no stranger to this. A lot of tech savvy agents already had their own website and blog benefitted big time in the pandemic. 

Buyers often search homes with neighborhood names and websites with updated and fresh listings that are bound to get picked up by Google and show up for local search queries that are zip code, location, or neighborhood specific. 

If you couple it with a few Google SEM ads, you can have a lot of traffic and leads coming in from your website alone. 

While having your own website can prove to be a game changer, it comes with a high fixed cost and investment. The more features you add, the higher the price. To begin, you need to have a site that has a contact form, maps integration, and a photo gallery.

If you are planning to add a blog to your SEO optimized site, then your dreams of building a real estate lead generation are going to be certain. 

You can blog about multiple topics that are written with respect to your neighborhood to draw the right crowd. These users can then be sent to property listing pages on your site to capture their information. 

An SEO driven strategy will take time and money but rest assured, a website with a blog that is updated every week with new content has the potential to do wonders within 6 months to a year. 

Organically acquired leads are by far the most sought after leads as they are very qualified and easy to convert. 

Youtube and Instagram

Both Youtube and Instagram allow agents to present the property in its full glory from every angle. When buyers are really interested in a property they want to check out every little detail and this is where youtube and Instagram really helps. 

Make a complete walkthrough of the property and label each part of the property in the video. You can embed these videos on the property listing pages with a lead capture form. 

You can also go for live streaming your walkthrough as an event on Youtube live or Instagram live. Additionally, you can also opt to live stream your open home events over Youtube and Instagram and collect the details of all the attendees. 

Youtube videos can be discovered on youtube or may be used as content that can be used on websites, eMails, and other social media platforms. Use them 

Linked In and Facebook Groups

Linked In and Facebook Groups are great to bring together agents from across the country. Active groups that are run by thought leaders and influencers can potentially bring in referrals from time to time. But what’s most valuable about these groups are the inputs that help real estate agents improve their skills and overall strategy. 

Some of the top Facebook groups to join would be What Should I Spend my money on, Social Agent, Agent War Room, and Lab Coat Agents. For Linked In groups, you can follow Smart About Real Estate, Real Estate Professional Group, Social Media for Real Estate, and Photography for Real Estate. 

Online Reviews

Millennials constitute the largest buyer group in America and they tend to refer to online reviews before making a purchase decision or even hire a real estate agent. The first thing they look for is a Google My Business listing on the web. 

A Google business profile with an average rating of 4+ is a great indicator that you are a trustworthy business or a person. If you have not yet made a Google my business profile, now is the time to do it. Get your past clients to give you a 5 star rating on your Google profile to get a head start. This way your online reputation goes up, helping you get more leads and business.

Remember that a Google profile alone does not help you boost your revenue figures but what it does is serve as a point of validation about your business and your personal brand. It is the green light that your buyers or sellers are looking for before they sign you up for the Job.


Referrals are the most preferred free leads for real estate agents. Referrals often come from your previous clients whom you helped sell or buy property. One of the best ways to get referrals is to be in touch with your previous clients. 

Running email drip campaigns targeted at your previous customers is a great way to get started. Here, the idea is not to make them sell or buy but remain in their minds. You can send market reports about property valuation for their neighborhoods. 

Another great strategy to attract referrals is to run drip campaigns based on birthdays and Anniversaries of your past clients. This never fails to strike a chord with your clients and many times put a smile on their faces if the message is awesome. 

You can also get referrals from other agents for buyer’s or seller’s leads who are looking to transact in your area. If they operate in another neighborhood, they may refer you leads. This is where rapport building with other agents and being a part of Facebook and Linked in groups helps.

Paid Online Leads

The next category of leads we are going to talk about is paid online leads. Paid leads constitute a large percentage of lead share for many agents who generate real estate leads. By far, paid leads from portals such as Zillow get you the best quality of leads that can be acquired from any online channels possible. This makes paid leads a go to option for many real estate agents. 

Overall there are 6 platforms to acquire paid real estate leads. These are:


Zillow is the most trusted lead generation platform for thousands of real estate agents across the country. As of 2020 Zillow boasts of a total of 245 million unique users on its website, most of them being buyers who are looking to buy their dream homes. 

The majority of Zillow leads are qualified and ready to sign the offer as soon as they come across a property they really want to buy. 

A Zillow lead can cost you around anywhere between $20-$60 but may go beyond to more than $100. But at the same time, the conversion timeline for Zillow leads is the shortest of all online leads. You can expect anywhere from 30-90 days to close a Zillow lead. 

To generate leads, you can create listings on Zillow to bring in potential leads. Additionally, you can also create Zillow ads for your listings that appear for zipcode specific searches within Zillow. 


Realtor is another real estate portal similar to Zillow that allows buyers to buy properties. Like Zillow, agents can create listings in Realtor to attract buyer leads. Realtor makes money in the same way Zillow does. It charges referral fees on closed sales and also from ads that run in the same fashion as Zillow. 

One of the major differences between Zillow and Realtor is the fact that Zillow provides exclusive leads. Yes, every lead received by an agent is an exclusive lead that is not parallelly pursued by other agents. However, Realtor sends one lead to many agents which means these leads acquired through Realtor are likely to be tough to convert. 


Redfin is yet another real estate portal that brings buyers and sellers to the same place online. Redfin’s business model is also simar to that of Zillow’s. However, the lead acquisition cost is lesser than that of Zillow which makes it lucrative for many agents. 

You can generate leads in the same way you do on Zillow. Like Zillow, it charges referral fees. Redfin also allows agents to create ads that appear on searches within the Redfin portal. 


Homesnap takes a revolutionary approach to real estate as compared to the other portals. Homesnap is a mobile application that has access to multiple MLS’s across the country that allows buyers to access properties with respect to their location, preference of bedrooms, and other features. What sets it apart from Zillow or Redfin is its live messaging feature that allows buyers to directly chat with an agent to get information about the property.

Buyers can also send the property to their relatives and friends and seek their opinions using the messaging feature built within the app. 

You can generate leads via Homesnap by listing the property or buy their social media ads that would allow your listing to appear across these platforms.

Homesnap charges for an annual subscription that costs $299 in the first year and then $699 for successive renewals. If you are running ads using Homesnap that would cost you extra money. 

There are two types of google ads. Search ads and display ads. Search ads are costlier than display ads and produce better results as far as clicks are concerned. Google Adwords for real estate gives you a great potential to acquire mid funnel leads who know what type of home they want to buy but have yet to decide on affordability, mortgage, and more. You can expect an average cost of $8-$30 for a Google lead and a timeline of 90-180 days for conversion.

The best way to go about lead generation campaigns for real estate is to strategize your ad groups with respect to the zip code. It is a basic way to target the right audience. You can also create other ad groups based on property price or neighborhood name. 

Facebook Ads

Against the unpopular opinion that Facebook does not convert, we believe that Facebook ads do convert given that they are taken through comprehensive lead qualification campaigns using drip emails and multiple Facebook ads.  

We suggest you create Facebook ads that are focused on buyers who could be at any stage of the buyer’s journey.  In other words, you will be running many parallel ads that are focused on a respective stage of the funnel. Read our post and ebook on how to go about achieving the same. 

Facebook leads cost anywhere from $1 - $10 and takes more than 6 months to convert. Due to a long conversion timeline, it is always best to keep Facebook leads as an additional component of your lead gen strategy. 

Commission Based Online Leads

The next category of leads is the ones that are acquired on the basis of commissions. A lot of iBuyer companies fall in this category. 


Homelight is a real estate referral company that finds the best real estate agent to buy or sell a property. The company sends the leads with respect to the zip codes and pays the usual commission to the agents. However, Hoemlight will charge a referral fee from agents. If the agent is representing both sides, the amount is generally 25% of the total gross commission. 

In order to receive leads from Homelight, you must sign up for Homelight Elite which has its own evaluation criteria to select agents. The leads are of good quality with a satisfactory conversion rate.


Opendoor is the leading iBuyer company in the United States that allows sellers to sell their property within a few days for cash offers. But Opendoor does not deal with buyers and sellers alone. The company also works with real estate agents if they list the house on Opendoor. What’s best is, Opendoor gives an extra 1% commission on top of the 6% that agents earn from the transactions. 

Opendoor leads could be very lucrative due to the fact that the transactions often take a few days to complete. You can earn your commission within a short period of time without putting in much effort. 

Now that we have covered online lead generation platforms, let’s have a look at the conventional channels that are time tested and always produce results. 

Similar to online channels, traditional lead generation methods can also be paid or free. Let’s look at them one by one. 

Free Real Estate Leads from Traditional Methods

There are many lead generation strategies to generate free leads using time tested traditional methods. These are:

Door Knocking

Door Knocking might sound a little old fashioned but it still remains a reliable prospecting strategy that gives you high quality leads who want to buy or sell. However, before you go knocking from door to door, make sure you do some research for your efforts to be effective. 

  • Decide your target area or neighborhood that you manage to farm
  • Have a script ready. Keep it short and sweet and on the point. 
  • If a house is empty, leave a door hanger for them to call back.
  • The best time to go door knocking is in the morning time. Evenings are also fine as long as you are keeping it before 4oclock. 

Leads From Your Local Community

Your local community can help you generate a lot of free leads. Community pages have a lot of data on schools, area attractions such as lakes and parks that buyers are looking for. Overall, community pages can be a goldmine for agents that they can use to drive home a compelling narrative.

Apart from buyers sellers can equally benefit from these pages. Home sellers can use this info to build their narrative on why purchase their home that is located in a specific neighborhood. These pieces of information are certainly helpful to convince buyers to sign the deal.

Open House Event

Open House events can provide a great opportunity to collect free leads that many agents ignore. A lot of agents want to wrap up the open home as soon as possible to avoid wasting much time. However, Mitch Ribak believes that agents should use the opportunity of conducting an open house and draw as many potential prospects as possible. 

One of the best ways to do it is to put as many open home signs as possible in the neighborhood. This is likely to draw more crowds into the property. Once inside, you can collect their details and then schedule follow ups. It is also emphasized that agents try creative open home ideas that seal the deal and elevates their brand as an agent. 


Expireds might be the last option for real estate agents to scour as they are already being bombarded with calls from other agents. On top of it, expired listings are those sellers or buyers who somehow failed to buy or sell the property with the help of an agent. This is why it is necessary to keep a list of objection handling scripts as they are likely to put all your advances to halt until you really convince them otherwise. 

The best way to deal with expireds is to ask them what went wrong and how their current course of actions (that does not involve an agent) is going to change the scenario for them. 

If you can persuade them that working with you would bring better outcomes without repeating their previous experience, you can convert these leads. 

Offline Paid Leads

There are a number of ways traditional methods can help you generate real estate leads. Some of these could be Postcard Marketing, Seller pre listing package, buyer consultation packet, and much more. 

Post Card Marketing

A lot of people in the country do not mind receiving a great postcard in their mailbox. Real estate agents can leverage this fact and send personalized postcards to their targeted farming area to generate hot leads. 

Some of the dos while crafting your postcard marketing strategy:

  • Use market trends, local testimonials, neighborhoods name, etc. to personalize your postcard campaign. 
  • Target based on zip codes. You can also use apps to target based on multiple other variables.
  • Keep the post card simple and concise. 
  • Try different variations of post cards to better gauge the results.
  • Use QR codes for receivers to land on your site to engage further. 

Seller Pre Listing Package

Pre listing packages are great to warm up your seller leads and establish your rapport as a reliable agent. A seller pre listing package may have:

  • Your biography 
  • Testimonials from previous clients 
  • Your marketing plan to sell their property 
  • Your brokerage plan and other details
  • You marketing material 
  • Affiliations
  • Listing agreement 
  • Information on title insurance etc. 

The package allows the seller to better prepare for the selling process and gives you vital insights into the seller’s level of commitment to selling their property. The package does not cost you a lot of money but goes a long way to establish your credibility and kick start the process. 

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