Top 5 FREE ways to Generate Real Estate Leads

Real Estate Leads
Written by Travis

Real Estate Leads for SALE!  Okay, not really but it seems that everywhere I go people are always wanting to sell me something.  So as a real estate agent, there are many people that will be glad to help you spend your hard earned cash as they promise to “grow your business”.  While some of these companies have great tools and can legitimately help YOU grow your business (I stress you because in the end it is up to YOU to grow your business).  I’m of the mindset that you must first be able to help yourself. So I have put together a list of 5 ways to get out there and generate FREE leads to help kickstart your business.  To me, these are foundational for a real estate agent.  They are not grand new ideas but rather proven ways to get out there, beat the pavement and grow your business. It takes work to grow a business.

“Luck is a dividend of sweat.  The more you sweat, the luckier you get”.

      – Ray Kroc (founder of the McDonald’s Restaurant chain)

Here are some ways to sweat!


1. Host Open Houses

I’ve mentioned this before in other posts and I think it deserves to be said again.  Hosting open houses for your listings and for other agents in your firm will help you get real estate leads.  I’m currently working with a very nice family that I met at an open house several months ago.  They were just starting to look and knowing that they were several months away from seriously looking so I stayed in regular contact with them and helped them with any questions that they asked and now I am their buying agent for their new home.  I’m very confident when I say open houses WILL get you new leads.  Think about this – where else will potential buyers come to you?

Here is a quick download of my strategy for getting buyer leads at open house:

 – Spend Time Researching.  Before I go to an open house I look at the neighborhood and check out the area sales activity and know what is on the market around the home and what has currently sold.  I’ve been asked many times about the prices on other homes in an area and details about them so I’ve learned to have a sell sheet with summary details of each home that is on the market as well as recently sold.

 – Make Sure House is Presentation Ready.  I talk with the homeowners about what makes a good open house.  Some items include first and foremost a clean home, make sure the house smells homey (candles, cookies, etc.) and also please turn on all lights and make it bright inside the home.

 – Get Marketing Materials Together.  I print out ample fliers of the home with my contact information.  Make sure I have my sign in sheet and plenty of business cards.  I put out signs as early as local city ordinances will allow (for me it’s 12pm on Friday for an open house on Sunday).

 – Greet Each Visitor.  When people come in I greet them and let them know a few highlights of the home ask them to please fill out the sign in sheet and please ask me if they have any questions.  I DO NOT hang around people.  I make sure they have their space.  If I’m talking with someone else I will excuse myself to personally hand the new arrivals a flier then head back to the conversation.  Everybody should feel as though they are important in your eyes no matter how they are dressed or appear).

 – Ask the “All Important” Question.  As people are wrapping up their visit and/or they are asking me questions, I then ask if they are currently working with an agent and depending on the response I then will tell them about myself and how I’d be glad to help them.  PLEASE respect other agents and do not pursue people who are already connected with an agent.  Would you want people to do that to you?

 – Lastly, Follow Up!  After the open house follow up with the seller to let them know how many people came to visit and if there were any interested parties.  Then send an email to everyone who came (and left their email address) thanking them for visiting.  These should be sent to each person with a personal comment relating back to what we may have discussed.

This approach has worked for me for years and has generated numerous buying and selling real estate leads for me.  I’m always open to new ideas and would love to hear from you.  Please know that as with leads in general, this is a numbers game.  The more people you come in contact with the better your chances of getting that lead.

2. Working Your Sphere of Influence

This is all about your database of contacts and should demonstrate how important it is to maintain it.  Sending out regular emails to your contacts will remind them that “Hey, I sell real estate!”.  We are all caught up in our daily lives and even your close friends can have tunnel vision and forget what you do for a living or simply not connect the dots when they have other friends that are asking about real estate needs so you need to be there reminding them.  This does not mean to bombard them with marketing materials and newsletters every week.  There are many strategies out there that tell you how many times you should reach out to your contacts and they offer great advice.  I may be wrong but I try to balance it with my own personal judgment.

There are several ways to contact people in your sphere.  Mass emails are great and easy but they need to be written with the idea on providing value to your contact list.  An example would be – giving them tips on winterizing their yard.  You can also pick up the phone and call them.  Have a conversation with them and catch up on what is going on with them (don’t make it about you).  Also, something I’m horrible about doing but is a nice touch is a personal handwritten letter.  If I get one from a person then I generally take time to read them.  This takes time but getting real estate leads is a numbers game.

Here’s an idea – start looking at who contacts you through your postal mail and email and pick out things you like and that you respond too.  You can pick up on some great ideas by paying attention to what marketing materials makes you respond.

3. Get Involved in the Community

Get out there and join a couple of professional organizations like the Lions Club, Rotary Club, etc.  Personally, I’d like to actually get more involved with my city government and get on a committee to stay in the loop with how things are running in my town.  I think the overall purpose for joining one of these clubs is two fold, first is that we will give back to the community in which we live and secondly is to meet more people and grow our database of contacts which increases the opportunities to get real estate leads.  The more you are out there in the public, the more conversations and opportunities you will have to let people know that you are an expert real agent.  Plus, getting involved with city government will help you keep an ear on the ground for what’s happening or going to happen in your market.

4. Get Connected, Social Media platforms

Social media is not going away anytime soon and will only become more increasingly important in communicating with your sphere of influence.  Posting little victories and sales and celebrating a new designation will help keep your “friends” reminded that you are a real estate professional.

There are many articles out there that an help you best utilize your social media.  I’m definitely not an expert in this field (as some of you have seen by checking out the BTFRE Facebook page) but I see the importance of keeping your social media contacts reminded that you are an agent.

Blogging is another way to not only generate leads but to also build your credibility.  However, this is not necessarily a “free” way to generate leads.  But it is a good way.  Check out my post on how to build a real estate blog.

5. Door Knocking

This will likely be an uncomfortable idea for many of you (myself included) so start off on a small scale if needed.

  • The next time you have an open house go to the surrounding homes the week before and knock on a few doors letting the neighbors know that you will be there on Sunday and to please stop by to take a look around so that they can tell their friends who may be interested in moving to the neighborhood.
  • If you just listed a home then start knocking on their neighbors doors and introduce yourself, tell them about your listing and then give them a card and flier of your listing and ask them to please let you know if they know of anyone who might be interested in your new listing of other homes in the area.

As you get more comfortable meeting with people then you can expand your homes for door knocking.  If you are interested in “farming” a neighborhood then this is a great way to introduce yourself to them home owners.

Few words of caution:

  • Be careful to mind the neighborhoods that state clearly no solicitation and know your local laws around this method.  Don’t want you to get into trouble.
  • Very Important! With this method of lead generation you must consider safety first.  If you are uncomfortable then bring a friend or don’t do it.  Always pay attention to surroundings as well.  Someone from your office or home should always know where you.  (this just gave me an idea for an upcoming post – Real Estate Agent Safety!  More to come about this topic!).


There are many ways to generate leads for your real estate business.  I am just touching on what I believe to the top 5 free foundational ways to grow your business.  Some may say it’s old school and that may be true but they still work for me.

I’ve seen lists on the internet that say a top reason real estate agents fail is due to lack of quality leads.  That’s probably why Gary Keller is so focused telling us in his book “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” that we need to spend quality time EVERYDAY to generating leads.

I sincerely hope that some of these ideas help you generate business and et you to your goals.  I’d love to hear your feedback in the community forum.  Here is a link to the forum talking about getting leads.



About the author