Skip to content

Real Estate Lead Generation: The Basics

intro to lead gen for real estate

Intro to Lead Generation in Real Estate

Lead Generation: The Basics

The modern home-buying process is constantly changing, but the tried and true way to generate leads still stands: it’s all about building relationships with potential, current, and past clients.

A recent National Association of REALTORS® study found that 90% of buyers and 87% of sellers say they would use their REALTOR® again, but very few (around 12%) actually do so.

Bottom line: clients will forget about you if you don’t reconnect.

The first thing to understand are the channels in which you can acquire real estate leads.

Types of Real Estate Leads

Referral Leads

NAR lead stats

Referral leads are high quality leads that most often come from your network: your friends and family, past clients, business partners, etc. Irrespective of what role you are working in, whether you are in commercial real estate, residential real estate or property management, your sphere of influence is your #1 source of leads. People trust the advice of their friends and family over just about anything else. And most prospective home buyers and sellers ask their friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. Moreover, many top agents run their business exclusively from referral leads, saving them time and money on marketing.

Organic Leads

Organic leads find you naturally through internet search engines, email marketing, social media, or via a link on other websites. These leads are high quality and, once you’ve established trust, cost you nothing in terms of marketing dollars.

Real Estate Websites

You can purchase paid portal leads from home search websites like Zillow,, and others. Advertising on one or more of the large real estate portals is a great way to get your name in front of your target audience. These leads are generally considered hot because they’re likely browsing the portal to buy or sell a home. Paid portal leads are usually faster to convert into business because they’re ready to go.

Pay Per Click

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing allows you to use targeted search engine ads of earning the clicks.  These leads have shown some level of intent by typing in their search query.   Every time a lead clicks on your ad, you pay the search engine a small fee for the exposure.

List Generated

As the name suggests, list-generated leads are those that come from various prospecting lists. Many companies charge a monthly fee to provide lists of leads to agents prospecting in a specified zip code or region. These leads are usually considered to be pretty weak.

Paid Social Media

Much like PPC leads, these leads come from paid ads on social media like Facebook. Paid social media ads are usually weak leads. They could be actual prospective buyers or sellers, or they might just be looky-loos who aren’t in the market at all.

Leveraging SEO for Real Estate Lead Gen

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 93% of home buyers believe real estate websites are the most useful source of information when buying a home, and 44% of home buyers start their house hunting online. That means if you’re not doing everything you can to drive prospects to your website and convert them to leads, you may be missing out. Search engine optimization (SEO) has never been more important to real estate professionals.

SEO is largely about filling your pages with thoughtful, meaningful content and including the right keywords—the ones that your prospects are entering into search engines—to bring people to your website.  Search engine optimization can be a very complex and is consistently changing.  Although many SEO gurus claim that THEY can teach you SEO, that usually just to sell you an SEO course.  We recommend that you hire an SEO company or an SEO freelancer to actually do the work on your website.  Because there is a tremendous amount of competition with online real estate websites, We would even go as far as to recommend hiring an agency that specializes in real estate SEO.


A consist ant way to acquire leads is critical for any real estate practitioner.  In addition to getting the lead, you also need to know how to incubate that lead to get to a closing.  But that is a conversation for another day…