5 Ways to Get Real Estate Listing Leads

With the current squeeze on housing inventory right now, real estate agents are wondering how to get real estate leads, particularly listing leads.

In a recent article, real Estate news leader, Inman.com states that, “In the second half of 2011 we began to see an acceleration in the decline of inventory levels nationally, and since that time the available housing inventory has continued to remain historically low.” They go on to give reasons for the continued decline.

Regardless of local listing inventories, the fact remains that people are moving. According to Realtor.org, the typical home seller in 2013 was 53 years of age, had a median household income of $97,500, and lived in their home for 9 years.

So, what do you do to drum up real estate leads in a tight market.? You could always sit it out, but there could be two adverse effects from that. The interest rates could begin to rise resulting in higher payments over the years of the loan. Plus, waiting usually will result in increases in purchase pricing. These could be a costly move on your part. Your best bet would be to jump in and utilize a few tactics that may get you real estate leads quicker than you may think.

1. Real Estate Leads from Stale Listings

Check out active, expired, and withdrawn real estate listings that were on the market in the past year or so that never sold. It could be that they were overpriced then, and now they are still viable properties if still interested in selling.

Read “How to Get Real Estate Leads from Stale Listings”

2. Tap Into the Demographics (Why do People Sell?)

Think about why people decide to sell their home, then approach people who fit the demographic using postcards, phone calls, or emails (using good practices and within the law, of course).

Moving Up.

First-time home buyers typically start out in a more affordable home, often compromising their wishes for more bedrooms, a large back yard, or their favorite high school. Find demographics that fit this type of mover.

The US Census estimates that by age 18, a person will probably move at least 9 more times, and 2-3 of those moves will likely be after he is 45.

According to Zillow , the average first-time homebuyer is about 33, their median income is $54,340, and only 40% are married.

Put the two together, and you have your relocation demographics for great real estate leads for both sellers that will likely turn into buyers. We can project that a person between the ages of 35-45 has good relocation potential, either now or in the next few years.


When a couple goes through divorce, the family often needs to sell their current home prior to moving to the next step.

Death in the family.

In a Newsday article, “Selling the Family Home After a Death,” writer, James Kindall, writes, “Estate sales can be a challenge for several reasons, not the least of which is emotional.”

As the population ages, more and more people are looking for help when selling a family home.

Empty Nest.

A parent or couple who see their youngest child move out often look around and decide, “it’s time to sell.” The house may be too big, too far from town, or in a climate the parents are ready to leave.

A CNBC article reveals that 29 percent of Americans ages 50 to 64 plan to move in the next five years, and 14 percent of Americans over 65 say they will move in five years (according to the Conference Board’s 2012 Consumer Confidence Survey).

“Even that relatively small percentage could put as many as 4.75 million additional houses on the market over the next five years.”

Job Change.

With a changing economy comes job changes. After years of staying put, the percentage of workers relocating for a new job in 2013 climbed 35% from a year prior (source: MarketWatch). This is another indicator of an improving economy, and a source for potential new listings. Outplacement experts Challenger, Gray & Christmas, reported that in the first half of this year, 10% of job seekers moved for employment, which is actually down 5% since the end of 2014.

Even in these optimistic times, there is still opportunity.

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3. Creating Inventory from Unlisted Foreclosures

In an article addressing how agents can get real estate leads from unlisted foreclosures, RealtyTrac revealed, “Banks nationwide — along with the federal government — are sitting on hundreds of thousands of unlisted  distressed properties at a time when housing inventory is at an all-time low. Roughly 80 percent of all real estate owned (REO) properties — some 515,000  homes nationwide — are not listed by banks on local multiple listing services, according to RealtyTrac. Another 803,000 homes are in the foreclosure process but have not yet been repossessed. Of those, some 167,000 are vacant — sometimes called ‘zombie’ foreclosures, where a bank starts the foreclosure process, but then cancels the  foreclosure sale.”

US Real Estate Statistics and Market Trend

In July, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in U.S. was 7% higher than the previous month and 14% higher than the same time last year. Home sales for June 2015 were down 24% compared with the previous month, and down 50%compared with a year ago. The median sales price of a non-distressed home was $214,000. The median sales price of a foreclosure home was $115,253, or 46% lower than non-distressed home sales. (Source: RealtyTrac, September 15, 2015) [space]

4. Off Market Real Estate Leads: Houses for Rent or Vacant

Many landlords find renting out a home to be a huge headache. However, rents in many parts of the country are high, so there is great incentive for property owners to continue to rent out their house. Zillow recently posted on this approaching rental owners in an article about finding a home in a tight market. “The owner may have lived in the home at some point but had to move for a job transfer, divorce or life change. At that time, their home could have been underwater or the market simply wouldn’t support the asking price. Instead of listing it with an agent, they just decided to rent it and ‘ride it out’ for a couple of years. Their current tenant might have given notice and, without knowledge of the changing market, the owner simply wants to rent it again. Go see the home. If you like it, find out if the owner would be open to selling. Make it easy, and they may be on board.” Timing is everything, so when the “For Rent” sign goes up, you may want to contact the owner to explore his or her position and goals with the property. As you drive around to find rental leads, keep an eye out for vacant homes. When you discover a property that is clearly vacant, contact the owner to discover his or her wishes for the property and whether he/she is willing to sell — you may be helping the owner by offering a price opinion.

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5. For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Leads

FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2013 The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales — so let’s help more sellers get more for their homes! (Source, Realtor.org) In a seller’s market, FSBO’s can be a bit more tricky. However, the best way to show sellers that you are the professional they would want to come to for help is to give them help for free. Yes, I said, FREE. Realtor.org goes on to list the most difficult tasks that FSBO sellers have are

  • Understanding and performing paperwork: 18%
  • Getting the right price: 13%
  • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 12%
  • Helping buyer obtain financing: 3%
  • Attracting potential buyers: 3%
  • Selling within the planned length of time: 7%
  • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 6%

A great approach would be to ask if the seller would like a free flyer, price opinion, or if you can include their listing in your next email newsletter. Gestures like these will help build rapport, and you have a better chance to be the agent brought in when a seller gets tired of trying to do it himself.


Now Is the Time

As you seek out real estate leads, it appears that the time homes stay on the market is up, so the market is better for securing listings.

Source: Trulia, “America’s Fastest Moving Markets Finally Slowing Down,” August 26, 2015

Featured Image by Mark Moz, Creative Commons 2.0