How to Generate More Real Estate Leads (for Free)

Use These Easy Strategies to Attract New Real Estate Clients

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas


You have big plans for your real estate business. One day, you’ll be a household name, respected in the industry, and living comfortably from your real estate hustle. Your first step is to get clients. Your next step is to rule the world.

The only speed bump in your path to greatness? Your minuscule marketing budget.

How can you attract new real estate clients when you barely have enough to keep your head above water? When you first start off in real estate— before those sizeable commission checks roll in— you’ve got to stretch every single dollar. You’d love to invest hundreds of dollars each month into Facebook ads or billboards or even yard signs, but you simply don’t have the money to spare. You’re firmly in “fake it ‘til you make it” territory.

This post was written just for you. Below, we’ll share absolutely free ways to generate new real estate leads (i.e. potential clients) for your real estate business. Let’s get started!

Host an Open House

Open houses don’t sell houses. Ever heard that one before?

Some agents say that open houses are a waste of time. And that’s true. The majority of open house visitors are nosy neighbors or others who aren’t actively looking to purchase a home. Serious buyers typically work with agents and attend private showings instead of open houses. So why should you waste your time hosting one?

To generate new leads! Every person who visits your open house will either need to buy/sell a house in the future or know someone who does. They may not be looking to move next week, but if you can start nurturing a long-term relationship with them now, you’ll be the top choice when they do need real estate services.

While you should definitely do your best to sell the opened house, don’t miss the opportunity to sell your services, too. Collect every visitor’s name, email address, and phone number. Then (this is where the magic happens) follow up with them. If they’re not ready to buy, ask if you can continue to check back with them or add them to your email list in the future. Getting their permission is crucial to building trust (not annoyance) in the future.

So, next time it comes up, volunteer to host your colleague’s open house if they don’t want to. You’ll be doing both of you a favor.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of hosting an open house.

Reach Out to Your Social Circle

two women sitting down

Everyone you know should know you sell real estate. That includes your grandmother, your ex, your mailman, and the barista at the local coffee shop.

Telling people what you do is not annoying. It’s information sharing. Everyone needs shelter and it is useful to know that shelter is your specialty.

Even if your family and friends don’t need your services now, they probably know someone who does need to move or sell a home. People are so busy that they often forget to connect the dots. So, explicitly ask your social circle to share your details with anyone who needs real estate services.

There are several ways to contact your social circle, including phone, email, and social media. Don’t be shy. Tell everyone that you’re a real estate agent now (if they didn’t know) and actively accepting new clients.

Network With Everyone

In addition to your friends and family, you should also be prepared to network with every human that you meet. By the end of your interaction (whether it’s real estate-related or not), that human should know you’re a real estate agent. And they should also have one of your business cards.

Here’s your new mantra: Everyone is a potential client.

You can’t afford to eliminate anyone in real estate because everyone needs a home. You never know who’s going to need one next — and sometimes they don’t either.

Anytime an envelope opens, you need to be in attendance. Be an active member of local organizations, volunteer at events, participate in fundraisers, and host your own meet and greets for small business owners. If you attend one event each week, you’ll have attended 50 events each year. That’s a lot of handshaking and business card swapping — enough to generate at least a few leads.

Focus on Referrals

If you’ve already worked with a client or two, you can start working on a word of mouth marketing strategy to generate new leads.

Need tips on scoring your first listing client? Check out this post.

Word of mouth is the best marketing that you can hope for, and it’s absolutely free. The problem with word of mouth is that you can’t do it on your own. Your clients must do it for you.

But the good news is that you can actively cause clients to refer others to you. Here’s how:

  • Send a closing gift to your client. This gracious act can earn you serious brownie points and cause your happy client to return the favor by referring others to you without you having to ask. Here’s a list of 50 gift ideas for both buyer and seller clients.
  • Throw a housewarming party for a new homeowner client. You’ll do something nice for your client (and welcome them to the neighborhood) while also giving you the opportunity to network with new people. Remember our mantra: Everyone is a potential client.
  • Continue investing in your relationship after the transaction is over. Now that you’ve helped them buy or sell, keep in touch by sending handwritten notes each year or staying connected via social media and email.
  • Ask them to refer others to you. In addition to nurturing your relationship with them personally, also ask them directly to tell others about you.

Use Social Media

android social media apps

Social media is great for generating new leads, but it’s not exactly “free.”

Sure, there’s no price for creating a business account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube, but these platforms have become “pay to play.”

Facebook

Let’s take Facebook for example. Once upon a time, all you needed to do was collect followers on Facebook to pop up on their newsfeed. Now, thanks to Facebook’s newest algorithm that prefers and promotes paid ads or posts from family and friends first, it’s difficult to reach your audience organically (i.e. for free) these days.

That's not to say that you won't show up on your followers' feeds. You will. But if you want to show up consistently, you've got to show Facebook that your audience enjoys and interacts with your content.

Here are a few things you can do on Facebook (for free) to increase your organic reach:

  • Start a conversation by ending each post with a question.
  • Create beautiful, funny, or engaging posts that your audience will want to share with their social circles.
  • Reply to every comment, no exceptions.
  • Go live on video. Tour a home or answer follower questions.
  • Post at the right times. Don’t post at 2 AM if your audience won’t be on Facebook until 11 AM. Use Facebook Analytics to figure out when the majority of your followers are online (time of day and day of the week). Then, post at these peak times.

Of course, Facebook isn’t the only game in town. Here’s how to generate leads for free on two other big social media platforms:

On Instagram

  • Use high quality and captivating images to draw users in
  • Post frequently. Instagram is a fast-moving platform and your images are likely to get buried. Post several times a day to boost your chances of getting seen.
  • Encourage user-generated content. For example, ask open house visitors to share a picture of their favorite room with a branded hashtag (like #105brandsonplace)

On YouTube

  • Create video tours of your listings
  • Share quick tips for buyers and sellers
  • Upload neighborhood guides aimed at people who are moving to the area

On All Social Platforms

When posting on social media, remember to adhere to the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status (i.e. protected classed). You cannot target, show preference to, or discriminate against any of the protected classes in your social media posts. This means that if you show images of people in your post, your images should be inclusive. Also, don't single out one group as the preferred resident (i.e. "great for young families).

Check out this post for more information on the Fair Housing Act and how to copywrite your way to a winning listing.

Canvas the Area

It’s time to hit the pavement, and I mean that literally.

Go knocking door-to-door in your preferred neighborhood to generate new leads. It may be an old school method, but it’s still effective because everyone else is sending direct mails. Plus, we’re focusing on free lead generating methods exclusively in this post. Door knocking is free and just crazy enough to work.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when canvassing your area for real estate leads:

  • Do it in the daytime. Safety first. Here are most tips on staying safe as a real estate agent.
  • Bring your business cards to hand out to anyone who answers the door.
  • Wear your name badge. Get in the habit of doing this anywhere and everywhere.
  • Consider bringing a simple gift, like cookies or cupcakes.
  • Leave behind flyers for people who don’t answer the door. Not everyone will answer the door. Most people are either at work or suffering from stranger danger.
  • Follow up with a handwritten note or email. Here’s how to follow up with your real estate leads.

Here’s What to Do Next

Use the above tips to generate leads for free, but don’t stop there. Check out these additional resources to get even more ways to attract new clients:

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