Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

Unique Ways To Acquire High Quality Real Estate Leads

Written by Than Merrill

Key Takeaways

  • It is important to differentiate between real estate buyer leads and real estate seller leads when devising your marketing strategy.
  • Helpful ways to generate real estate leads include business auditing, networking, and honing in on conversions.
  • Be sure to explore several unique ways to generate high quality real estate leads, so that you can stand out from your competitors.

One of the key ingredients for a real estate investor’s ability to create new business at a sustainable rate is being able to generate plenty of real estate leads. This is an acquired skill that can take several years to develop, and it can be especially tricky to gain momentum when first starting out. Read on to receive insights on how to not only effectively generate real estate leads, but also how to implement unique strategies to produce leads that are high in quality.

Real Estate Buyer Leads Vs Real Estate Seller Leads

Although the terms real estate buyer leads and real estate seller leads are quite self-explanatory, it is nonetheless important to define the difference between the two. Seller leads are a notable source that can lead to an investment property. By identifying homeowners who are motivated to sell for one reason or another, an investor increases their odds of negotiating a deal before the listing hits the market. Depending on the exit strategy, the investor will then shift to targeting buyer leads once the investment project has reached its completion.

The difference between these two types come into play when determining how to get real estate leads, as the strategy for generating each lead type can vary. One of the most relied-upon methods for identifying investment properties is to build lists of motivated sellers who are willing to sell their properties under market value. Possible sources of seller leads include, but are not limited to:

  • Homeowners in tax default
  • Properties that appear vacant
  • Listings that have failed to sell
  • Homeowners in pre-foreclosure
  • Landlords who live out-of-state
  • Homeowners in probate

A local county website can be a great source of free real estate leads, as investors can often search for tax default, probate and foreclosure data that are made public. Some investors may opt to buy real estate leads, such as through paid websites or software.

Determining what type of buyers to target will usually be based off of the investor’s exit strategy for a property. For example, if they acquired a wholesale property, or a property to prehab, then their end buyer might be another real estate investor. On the other hand, if they fix and flipped a property that would make for a great starter home, then perhaps they would target first-time homebuyers. The following are some potential strategies for developing buyer leads:

  • Work with a real estate agent
  • Publish on property listing sites
  • Host an open house
  • Attend real estate investing networking events
  • Create a lead-capturing website
  • Network with wholesalers and bird dogs
  • Participate in real estate investing social media groups

Differentiating between buyer and seller leads, as well as identifying ways to target each type, can prove to be quite tricky. There is no tried and true method of generating leads; rather, it is up to the investor to brainstorm creative ways to identify, engage with, and convert leads into winning deals. The following provides some helpful tips on how to generate leads in real estate with a bit more ease.

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How to generate real estate leads

How To Generate Real Estate Leads: 3 Helpful Tips

It should be made very clear that learning how to generate leads in real estate is no easy feat; there is no one best way to get real estate leads, and is a skill that is developed over time. One advantage, however, is that there are generations of real estate investors from whom savvy techniques can be gleaned. Three helpful tips for how to get leads in real estate, include business auditing, networking, and focusing on conversions.

Business Audit

Before setting out to hunt for leads, it is helpful to first build a solid foundation by running an audit on the way you manage your business. One such way is to evaluate the key performance indicators (KPIs) you use to track your progress. Some examples of KPIs include the number of leads you contact, the number of calls or meetings resulting from campaigns to leads, and furthermore, the number of deals and profits you make per lead. The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that you are effectively tracking the profit generators in your business. If you are not properly tracking your progress, then there will be no way that you can evaluate how to improve in the future.

A second method is auditing your methods of obtaining deals, in conjunction with the types and frequencies of your marketing campaigns. Are your current methods just as effective as they have been in the past? How frequently are you following up on your leads? Are you investing enough time, effort and resources? What are some strategies being used by your competitors? If you find areas in which you can improve, spend some time refining your strategy.


The value of networking as a part of your marketing strategy cannot be stressed enough. Growing your network of professional relationships will not only provide you with a support system, members of your network can be a valuable source of real estate leads! Start out by joining your local real estate investing club, and attend organizational meetings and events. Building your network requires taking an interest in other professionals and cultivating genuine relationships.

Unfortunately, some of your colleagues may have a scarcity mindset and hesitate to provide you with tips and advice, especially if they view you as a direct competitor. Try supplementing your local networking efforts by going nationwide. There is no shortage of regional and national real estate investing associations, networking opportunities and conferences to participate in. By not being in direct competition, some of your new contacts might be more open when it comes to sharing information and advice.

Focus On Conversions

Anyone who tells you that the quantity of leads is more important than the quality of leads is ill-advised. For example, let us say that you acquired 300 probate real estate leads, but you were only able to make appointments with 3 of these leads. This translates to a mere 1 percent conversion rate, which may not be enough to sustain your business. If you catch the drift, it is that quality is more important than quantity.

Manage your leads in such a way that as many as possible are guided through your marketing funnel. Design your campaigns in such a way that gets as many eyeballs as possible on your website, and provide calls to action that incentivize people to pick up the phone or enter their contact information. You can also divide your leads into categories, a method called ‘segmenting’ in marketing, and implement more specific targeting messages for each. At the end of the day, your goal is to meet or speak with as many leads as possible so that you can nurture those relationships into business opportunities.

Online Real Estate Lead Generation

The widespread access to information and data is a remarkable benefit of today’s internet and technology age. Knowing just where to find real estate investor leads can be a frustrating challenge in itself, but luckily, there are several websites that provide an immense amount of data with just a few mouse clicks. During your next round of online lead generation, be sure to check out the following websites recommended by The Balance:

  1. Loopnet is a leading source for those interested in obtaining commercial real estate leads, and provides users with access to a large inventory of investment properties.
  2. serves as a source of auctions for many types of real estate, such a real estate-owned, foreclosures and short sale properties. Investors can attend auctions that are hosted online.
  3. This site is a great way to find organic leads by region and specific markets. One might find owner leads for distressed properties or for sale by owner.
  4. Serving as the official website for the National Association of Realtors, provides listings from over 800 MLS databases. Users have the option to exclusive search for foreclosures, and can sign up for email notifications.
  5. For investors who favor sites that offer in-depth search criteria options, be sure to test the use of Trulia. This user friendly site allows for simple or deep searches, and provides detailed market data.
  6. Realtytrac serves as a central resource focused on foreclosure properties. Use this site from anything to learning about how foreclosures work, how to buy them, and access the latest foreclosure listings across the nation.
  7. To complement all the sites listed above, Propertyshark serves as an excellent source of property records. Once an investor has created a list of leads, they will need a way to identify the owner and address, as well as other property information such as assessed taxes and purchase price. This information will assist in devising a targeting strategy, as well as evaluate the potential profitability of the investment.

Best Ways To Find Real Estate Leads

As today’s market gets increasingly saturated with savvy real estate investors, tactics for finding real estate leads that used to work several years ago may no longer seem as fruitful. Perhaps you have noticed bandit signs crowding street corners, or noticed that your direct mail campaigns get lost amongst dozens of other yellow letters. This is a sign that it is time to put on your thinking cap and identify unique ways to generate high quality real estate leads. Below you will find five ideas to help inspire some creativity:

Real estate leads

Create A Lead Generating Website

Many professionals understand the importance of establishing a web presence, such as through their website, social media, and community blogs. However, some miss a major opportunity of using their website to capture leads. This can be done by embedding forms throughout your website to solicit and collect the contact information of your site visitors. The tricky part here is figuring out methods of incentivizing people to enter their contact information. Popular calls-to-action include the offer for a free service or a downloadable resource. Strategically place forms on your pages that generate the most traffic to your site, and be sure to design a ‘Thank You’ landing page for after the visitor fills out their information. Some investors will go the extra mile by sending a follow-up email, which includes the option to subscribe to further updates.

Invest In Real Estate Software

Many investors who understand the value of technology in maximizing their time and scaling their businesses will choose to invest in real estate software. One such product is Realeflow, which provides a myriad of ways to automate and manage several aspects of a real estate business, including repair and rehabilitation estimations, deal analysis and document management. Moreover, the system offers several tools to help investors with their marketing efforts, including a database with thousands of leads, website customization tools and automated direct and email campaign marketing.

Enlist The Help Of Bird Dogs

‘Bird dogs’ is not a reference to hunting, but rather, an important tool to be aware of in real estate marketing. Bird dogs are individuals who will drive for dollars and locate motivated sellers and distressed properties on behalf of real estate investors. These services are typically in exchange for a flat fee or a percentage of the resulting deal, but it is important to be familiar with your local and state regulations on bird dog-type activity. Keep in mind that other types of professionals can serve as excellent bird dogs, such as emergency responders, post office and delivery drivers who spend many hours driving around neighborhoods. These individuals can prove to be a great resource for insider knowledge in your target market.

Network With Professionals

Spend some time brainstorming whom inside or outside of your network might work regularly with homeowners that may become motivated to sell their properties. For example, a bankruptcy or divorce attorney regularly work with clients who will have to sell their property as a result of a legal situation. Other types of professionals might include accountants, title professionals, real estate agents, and tax advisors. Be sure to keep your network of professionals regularly updated with the current markets or types of properties you are focusing on, so they know what to keep an eye out for.

Look For HUD Foreclosures

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will foreclose upon and sell properties that were financed by a Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed mortgage. As a way to recover loss, the HUD will sell properties they have reclaimed via auction, and by listing them on their website. Members of the public have the opportunity to purchase residential properties with one to four units, but need to place a bid by working with a licensed real estate agent.

Creating robust lists of real estate leads requires patience, dedication and a good amount of creative thinking. Keep in mind that there are several popular methods of generating leads that your competitors might be pursuing as well, meaning that multiple individuals will be marketing towards similar lead lists. Although this is unavoidable at times, it is a good idea to always be in search of unique methods of obtaining and marketing to leads.

Do you have a unique method of finding real estate leads? If you care to share, feel free to comment in the section below: