Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Leads in 2021

When you are starting of with real estate leads, there would be many options out there for you. Should you focus on the maximum number of leads or should you focus on the quality? Where is the best place to get those leads, how do you measure it, and what does the customer journey look like? These are some of the questions we hope to address with this beginner’s guide to real estate leads.

To make your initial experience fruitful for you, we have put together a simple guide below. In this article, you’ll learn the most important considerations and how they can impact your lead generation in your business.

1) Quality over quantity

Before you dive into online lead generation, it’s important to define exactly what a lead is. Starting a lead generation campaign without a clear understanding of what kind of information you want is a recipe for disaster. 

For some, lead means a name and email. For others, more information is required. At LeadHornet, we define a lead as someone who has submitted their name, email, and phone number. The additional, and the most important criteria for us, is that the lead should have an intent to buy or sell. The intent is the most most important criteria for us in the definition of a lead. 

Many services will promise thousands of cheap leads and they can deliver contact information. With that being said, the leads delivered have little to no intent to buy or sell. They’ve simply harvested contact information under misleading conditions and have passed them on to you. 

As you’re well aware, quality always beats quantity. Fifty high intent leads beats 1,000 uninterested leads every time.

2) What ad medium to use?

This is an incredibly important consideration. There are countless places to advertise to potential leads. New ones are popping up every single day. There are native ad platforms, display networks, push notification ads, social media ad platforms, and more. Not all of them are created equally and your costs can vary significantly between them. 

There’s a reason certain platforms have grown over the years while others have disappeared. The ones with staying power deliver a positive ROI to advertisers. In our experience, we’ve seen that Google Search Engine Result Page(SERP) Ads, when used properly, consistently delivers the best quality leads.  If your target audience is online and is already interested in your property, then you can get in front of them through Google SERP Ads. 

A close runner up is the Facebook/Instagram Ad platform. Together, they reach billions of people a month and has the ability to implement laser targeted ads. 

3) What value do you offer to potential leads?

Leads are humans and they want to make sure they’re giving you their contact information for a good reason. Asking them to sign up so you can send them marketing messages won’t cut it. 

Instead, offer what’s known as a lead magnet. This is something you give prospects in exchange for their contact information. The kind of prospect you’re talking to will determine the most effective lead magnet to present. Potential buyers and potential sellers have different needs. 

For example, you may offer people who want to sell property a free CMA (comparative market analysis) or home valuation service. Though this may take time and energy on your part, it builds goodwill and is only something qualified leads will want. It serves two purposes. It filters out people who’re too early in the process or tire kickers and it positions you as someone with deep experience in the market. 

For a buyer, what they perceive as valuable is a bit different. You can offer them access to MLS information about the area they’re interested in. Conversely, you can give them historical selling prices of homes in the area. In both situations, you’re giving away something that’s extremely valuable to qualified leads.

4) How you measure success?

With a lead generation campaign, there are many ways to measure success and it’s important to define what and how you’re measuring it before you get started. For example, you can measure how many new clients you’re getting from the leads, the lead conversion rate, the cost per lead and many more. 

You don’t have to measure one metric. In fact, it’s ideal to measure different metrics at different stages of the prospect lifecycle. LeadHornet is on the frontlines generating leads for clients so we focus on Cost Per Lead (also known as CPL). This is the total amount spent divided by the number of leads generated. 

This is an important metric but online lead generation for real estate requires more metrics than just an aggregate Cost Per Lead. You should also measure the quality or conversion rate of the lead. If there is one thing we hope you take away from this beginner’s guide to real estate leads, then it is this. 

To illustrate with an example. Say, your CPL using Google Ads may be $30 while your CPL using Facebook ads is $10. Does that mean Facebook is the best platform for you? Not exactly. It might turn out that more of the Google Ads leads convert than Facebook leads. It all depends on how those leads perform over time. This brings us to the last thing to consider with online lead generation.

5) Customer journey?

What happens after someone becomes a lead? Do you send them an email welcome sequence, do you call them immediately, or do they sit around in your favorite CRM for a while? According to a study by LRM, the odds of qualifying a lead drops 21 times when calling within 30 minutes vs 5 minutes. The faster you are the better. 

You also need to make sure that you have enough online reviews so that you get better conversion of leads to leads. You can decide if you want the reviews of Google Review, RankMyAgent or any other platforms, but make sure you consistently build reviews. You can use a review management for small business service to make this happen.

After contacting and qualifying a lead, it takes between 4-5 months to close a deal. During this time, it’s important for you to act as a resource and guide on their home buying/selling journey. 

What can you do?

Map out the common roadblocks people encounter when buying or selling a home and pre-empt them. For example, if you know people have trouble deciding on a listing price, develop or offer yourself as a resource to assist them. If you know it’s always an issue deciding between 2 or 3 homes, offer tips ahead of time that can make the process easier. 

The key is to stick with it until the lead buys or sells a home. Not all of them will end up patronizing you but that’s alright, it’s a numbers game. The longer you stick with it, the better you’ll get at identifying the your best lead sources and developing a repeatable process to close leads that come through your online lead generation efforts.


This article has looked at 5 different things to consider before you launch any online lead generation campaign. All of them are important but it may be overwhelming to tackle them all at once. Instead, focus on the most important ones like lead quality and CPL. 

It’s an iterative process that never ends. 

At LeadHornet, we have experience serving clients just like you and understand what matters and what doesn’t in lead generation campaigns for real estate agents. Take a look at how LeadHornet works and book a no obligations consultation to start generating more leads today.