20 Ideas for Generating Real Estate Leads for New Agents

When you first became a real estate agent, you may have been concerned about the ins and outs of sales contracts and complex contingencies. However, any experienced agent will tell you that the first thing you need to think about is finding new clients. Our guide offers a host of strategies for generating real estate leads for new agents so that you can hit the ground running in your new career.

May 11, 2020

12 min read


As a newly-licensed agent, you likely don’t have much of a contact base to start with. Knowing where to even begin looking for real estate leads for new agents can be overwhelming, and there’s a lot of different advice out there on the effectiveness of different strategies. Take a look at our suggestions below for 20 ideas that will help you start generating valuable leads.

Steps for Earning Real Estate Leads

Before we jump into the ideas for lead generation, it’s important to understand the basic steps or framework for earning and keeping qualified leads.

1. Start with People You Know

People you already have a personal connection with will be more inclined to work with you than total strangers. Start with people you know from community activities or are connected with online to see if they know anyone that could be in need of your services. A referral from a friend is one of the most surefire ways of earning a new client.

2. Move on to People You Don’t Know

Once you’ve sent out your feelers to people you’re already connected with, it’s time to start getting creative and reaching out to people you don’t know. These could be neighbors, people you meet at networking events, or even people you connect with through cold-calling. Most of the strategies we outline below will help you with this step.

3. Nurture and Grow Relationships

Putting together a list of warm leads is great, but just because people are interested in your services doesn’t mean they’ll actually hire you. In the real estate industry, maintaining a personal connection is essential as people are trusting you with important life decisions and hefty financial assets. Continue to nurture and grow your relationships through frequent check-ins, small gifts, and well wishes. You can also prove to new clients how much they matter by negotiating hard on their behalf during the homebuying or selling process.

4. Build Your Process for Repeatability

After a few weeks or months of cultivating contact relationships, you’ll hopefully have a good percentage that do end up becoming clients. At this stage, it’s important to reflect and identify what worked for you at each step. Was a certain event more fruitful for finding interested leads or did contacts respond particularly well to a certain outreach tactic? Document your processes for repeatability - there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

And, repeat steps 1–4! You’ll likely be constantly cycling through reaching out to people you know for referrals, finding new contacts, nurturing existing contacts, and further refining your process. When laid out this way it sounds easy enough to follow, but it’s no secret that generating real estate leads for new agents is the most difficult part of the process.

20 Places to Find Real Estate Leads for New Agents

Below are 20 ideas to help you out with “Step 2” above.

1. Reach Out to Friends and Family

Like we mentioned earlier, the easiest place to start is anywhere you already have a personal connection or referral from someone. If they don’t already know, reach out to extended family and friends on social media to let them know you are a newly-licensed agent looking for clients. Chances are a few of your connections will have their own connections who may be in need of a real estate agent and you can start building a few contacts from there.

2. Attend Chamber of Commerce Events

Many cities’ chambers of commerce will host networking and informational conferences for real estate professionals in the area. You should definitely take advantage of these opportunities to connect with more seasoned professionals in the industry. Though they could technically be your competitors, you’ll be able to learn a lot and possibly find agents or firms looking to connect with younger agents to share jobs or contacts.

3. Get Active on Social Media

illustrations of lead generation on social media

Again, connecting with other professionals in your sector is essential to staying on top of city-specific trends and learning the ins and outs of the market. Join real estate groups or pages on social media and engage with discussions with other members. Some great places to start include:

  • Facebook pages - these may be private, in which case you’ll have to request entry
  • LinkedIn groups - a quick search of your city should turn up a number of options
  • MeetUp groups - these are usually for in-person networking events
  • Quora - answering questions here can demonstrate your expertise
  • Slack communities - join broader city-wide communities focused on tech or business

4. Research Instagram Hashtags

Speaking of social media, Instagram can be an untapped source of lead potential, especially when it comes to millennials. Though there aren’t specific pages or groups like other social platforms, Instagram allows you to conduct robust hashtag research in order to find qualified leads. Some of the best hashtags to start searching include:

  • #apartment
  • #newhome
  • #househounting
  • #apartmentsforrent
  • #apartmentliving
  • #property
  • #broker
  • #listing

You can also pair these with city-specific hashtags and location tags to try to narrow down your search.

5. Reach Out to FSBO’s

FSBO, or for sale by owner, are homes that the owner is trying to sell on their own without the help of an agent. However, FSBO homes typically sell for less than agent-sold homes, and many owners eventually turn to the help of an agent when they get tired of handling all the time-consuming and complicated tasks for finding buyers. Find FSBO listings online or in the newspaper, then reach out to the owners via email or phone explaining how your services can earn them more money in the long run.

6. Reach Out to FRBO’s

The process for contacting FRBO’s, or for rent by owner, is similar to FSBO. Research FRBO listings through online databases and reach out to the landlords offering to help them find qualified tenants. Though you might feel like you’ll be stepping on toes, if you contact them politely and clearly explain the ways you could help them, there’s a good chance they’d be relieved to let you handle the day-to-day of finding renters. This is especially true if they’re looking to rent a vacation home in a different part of the country, as finding and managing tenants remotely can be a challenge.

7. Give a Free Seminar

Sign up to teach a class or give a presentation at your local library, community center, or even a career fair or community college. Choose a topic related to your job and specific market that you feel confident explaining in-depth. These types of opportunities allow you to demonstrate your expertise, build your personal brand recognition, and meet a wider range of people who may end up becoming leads.

8. Host an Open House

This is one of the most tried and true methods for gathering warm leads. Once you have a client looking to sell their home or rent their apartment, host an open house and advertise the hours across your social media channels, to your email contact list, with signs on the street corner, etc. For everyone who walks through the door, make sure you have them put down their names and contact info on your sign-in sheet. Though they may not end up being interested in the property, the fact that they showed up is an indication that they’re on the market for a new place. You can follow up with them after to tell them you appreciate them attending and feel out what types of places they’re looking for.

9. Give Cold-Calling a Shot

It’s no secret that this is one of the least-liked lead generation methods for real estate agents. But, it’s also no secret that it’s been working for agents for decades before the internet took over. Before completely ruling it out, try to work 30 minutes to an hour of cold-calling into your daily routine and see if it could be a viable strategy for you. To put contact lists together, you can start with compiling phone numbers for FSBO and FRBO listings without an email, along with any other phone numbers you’ve gathered through networking and events. When first starting out, you’ll likely want to have a cold-calling script prepared so you don’t get caught off guard.

10. Contribute to Thought Leadership Pieces

illustrations of websites to get featured online

As we discussed earlier with answering Quora questions, getting your expertise out there can help build your brand recognition and allow leads to find you online. One of the easiest ways to do this is to sign up for PR-focused email lists such as HARO, SourceBottle, and JournoRequests. These platforms will send you an email every day to journalists looking to add expert quotes to their pieces. It takes just a few minutes to scan through and respond to any that you could contribute to. In addition to contributing quotes, you can also apply to be a guest author on sites such as Forbes, Inc., or Entrepreneur and submit your own expert takes on any business or real estate topics.

11. Monitor Marriage/Engagement Announcements

This tip may seem a little old-fashioned, but you can still make it work with a modern spin. The idea is that when a couple announces their engagement or marriage, they’ll likely be looking for a new home within the next year or so. Instead of combing through the newspaper like in the past, you can instead take to Instagram and search for relevant hashtags. Some good ones to start with include:

  • #marriage
  • #weddingday
  • #bridetobe
  • #engaged
  • #shesaidyes
  • #weddinginspiration

Once again, you can also combine these with city-specific hashtags such as #bridetobe + #LAwedding. Once you’ve found a couple in your market, you can reach out via an Instagram direct message offering your congratulations and letting them know you’d be happy to help them with their house, apartment, or condo search.

12. Invest in Social Media Ads

The great thing about social media ads is that you can put a very small budget behind them and still see solid returns. Consider running a couple of ads on Facebook and Instagram each targeting specific demographics in your audience. The ads can be set to either push people to a specific website, to your own social profile, or as a way to give one of your existing posts an extra boost, such as an open house or new listing announcement. You can monitor them over the course of a month and see if investing more of a budget in one or the other would be a better use of your funds.

13. Build Out Your Website

Speaking of pushing users to a specific website, as a new real estate agent it’s worth your time to set up a website for your services. Even if you mainly find leads through in-person connections and manual outreach, it’s still important for prospective contacts to be able to find you online. Not all of your leads may have social media accounts, and having a website gives you a universal address to include on all your promotional materials. You can also include your website URL on your social media sites, and publish blog posts that you can then promote on social media. Your website doesn’t have to be anything too complicated; a blog section, contact form, and gallery showcasing your work is all you need.

14. Sponsor Niche Events

illustrations of creative meeting ideas like tours and events

Keep an eye out for community events or fundraisers with a strong tie-in to a potential audience segment. For example, an event for urban history and architecture lovers would draw people who are already interested in your city’s buildings and could want to learn more about available homes in a certain style. A food festival celebrating local businesses in a specific neighborhood could appeal to people who would be interested in moving to that neighborhood. Even a fundraiser for an animal shelter could be a good opportunity, as it would bring animal-friendly people who may be interested in learning about your animal-friendly renting opportunities. Think about the unique interests that could relate to your specific expertise and find creative ways to meet them.

15. Send Out Postcards

Another timeless tactic that’s easier than cold-calling is sending out postcards advertising your services to neighborhoods or areas that you’re working in. The great thing about postcards is that you can order them in bulk and save them for new neighborhoods down the road. Your design should be simple and not too salesy, as people are inundated with pushy ads every day. You can find design inspiration online, and even create the designs yourself using free tools like Canva.

16. Contact Expired Listings

Another oldie but a goodie: reaching out to homeowners or landlords whose listings have recently expired is a mainstay in finding real estate leads for new agents. Whether the homeowner is a FRBO landlord or a homeowner who worked with an agent, something didn’t go according to plan as they failed to sell or lease the property before the listing deadline. You can find expired listings by signing up for your state’s MLS (multiple listing service), buying leads from companies like Zillow, or manually combing through sites like Craigslist. When you do reach out via phone or email, make sure to be short and to the point and highlight your unique advantages, as they’ll likely be receiving a number of other messages from other agents as well.

17. Partner with Divorce Lawyers

An untapped market that agents are just now starting to turn their attention toward is couples who are recently divorced or in the process of divorcing. There’s no one else out there who is going to need to sell and buy or rent a new home as quickly as a couple splitting up. Be on the lookout for any divorce lawyers you may meet through networking and local business events, or even a distant relative or family friend. Take them out to lunch or coffee and let them know how you’d be able to be of assistance to their clients, and see if they’d consider referring clients to you who need to sell or find new homes quickly. It can even be as simple as asking them to leave some of your informational materials in their waiting room.

18. Provide Small Value-Adds

illustrations of small value adds like holiday-themed cookies and gift baskets

The next time you’re sending out a round of postcards or emailing about an expired listing, think about where you can include an extra little gift, personal touch, or value-add. This helps people remember you and appreciate that you took the time to make things more meaningful. These can be as small as an extra note wishing them well for the holidays, a $10 gift card celebrating their birthday, providing pumpkin-spice coffee or hot cider at a fall open house, or any number of other small gestures that show you care.

19. Sign Up for BPO’s

BPO’s, or broker price opinions, are typically ordered by banks or other lenders when a homeowner is falling short of their mortgage payments. The lender is preparing to possibly foreclose or do a short sale on the home, and they hire an agent to determine the value of the property. You can find these opportunities by searching through online BPO listings and databases. Though the payment for conducting a BPO isn’t high and they are becoming more competitive, you can make the most of these opportunities by connecting with the homeowners and offering to help them both sell the home and find a new place to live. The real worth of BPO’s isn’t as much in the actual payment as it is in the possibility of gaining a new lead.

20. Invest in Lead Generation Software

Once you’ve built some momentum in your leads and revenue, you should at least try out some of the numerous lead generation tools available. Though they may not be as accurate as manually finding real estate leads for new agents, they can save you a lot of time and effort and allow you to focus more on nurturing your existing leads. Some of the most popular tools can cost several hundred dollars per month, so it’s up to you to experiment and decide which ones are worth your money, if any. A few of the most popular include:

With all of the lead generation tactics out there, both tried and true and untapped, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Finding the right mix of outreach strategies will take time and practice, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Luckily for those agents that deal with rentals, RentSpree makes the tenant application and tenant screening process fast and easy in order to help simplify the process for busy agents. Try it out today by signing up for a free demo.


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