If you’re like most real estate agents, all your marketing efforts share the same long-term goal: more real estate agent leads. Which means you’ve probably considered finding a place to buy real estate leads.
But how can you make sure you’re not just throwing money down the drain? Not all lead sources are created equal, so it’s important you know your options and decide on a source that’s credible and worth your money.
So, What’s the Best Way to Buy Real Estate Leads?
There are lots of options out there for buying leads, but the best option will depend on what type of real estate agent leads you’re looking for, your budget, and how much time you are able to commit to nurturing leads.
To help you find the best option for you, we’ve reviewed the top options out there and chosen five of the best real estate lead sources in 2021.
The 5 Best Real Estate Leads Sources of 2021
|Provider||Starting Monthly Cost||Best For|
|BoldLeads||$399 per month, plus $250 minimum ad spend||Agents who want local, exclusive leads from professionally managed ads|
|REDX||$39.99||Agents who are looking for a budget-friendly option and want to be in control of the number of leads they get|
|Zillow Premier Agent||$250||Agents primarily looking for buyer leads|
|Offrs||$200||Agents who haven’t had success with traditional lead gen methods|
|Market Leader||$99 + $20 to 30 per lead||Agents who are looking for a guaranteed number of leads every month|
Let’s take a closer look at each of these lead sources to explore which provider is best for you and how to get the most out of the leads you’re paying for.
Looking for some help developing your real estate lead generation plan of attack? We’ve got a great Lead Generation Plan template you can use to help organize your efforts.
Best for Agents Who Want Local Leads: BoldLeads
Our favorite example of: The ad agency approach
BoldLeads is a lead generation tool that acts like a specialized marketing agency just for real estate agents. They create targeted Facebook and Google ads to attract prospects to high-performing landing pages that convert prospects into real estate leads.
This is a fantastic option for real estate agents who are looking for leads from sources other than the major third-party sites, either in replacement of or as supplement to. This is also a great option for real estate agents who want a little flexibility. Because you’re controlling your ad budget, while there is still a monthly minimum spend, you have the option to make adjustments midstream.
Buying Real Estate Leads From BoldLeads
BoldLeads creates and places ads that drive traffic from places where your consumers are already spending their time online (places like Facebook and Google). When a lead clicks on an ad, they’re taken to a custom landing page where they give their contact information to receive exclusive content, like a home valuation. You are then notified that a new lead is in your hopper.
Because BoldLeads also works hard to help nurture your leads as well as acquire them, leads are automatically added to your BoldLeads customer relationship management (CRM) software and will move through your marketing funnel toward a completed transaction.
How Much Does BoldLeads Cost?
The cost of BoldLeads is broken into two categories: the account fee, which is $399 per month, and the budget for your ads. The minimum BoldLeads ad spend is $250 per month, making the starting cost for BoldLeads $649.
For that cost, BoldLeads will create, implement, and manage all your ads and lead forms, as well as help you manage your ad budget across the different platforms where your BoldLeads ads appear.
BoldLeads Pros & Cons
We really like BoldLeads because here you aren’t competing with other agents for your leads. The lead magnets are exclusively for you; there’s no wondering if another agent is using those magnets to make money in your area.
However, that sort of personalized attention comes at a high dollar cost, making this not the best option for budget-conscious real estate agents.
BoldLeads has a great approach to acquiring leads, but they really stand out in the field with their customer relationship manager (CRM) and nurturing after a lead is yours. Automated SMS texting, emailing, and even voice messages make moving your leads closer to a sale easier. If you are looking for real estate leads and a whole lot more, this is your spot.
Best for Agents Who Are Great at Prospecting: REDX
Our favorite example of: Budget-friendly, you-do-all-the-work approach
REDX is an expert in aggregation; they work to get all the homeowner information they can from all over the internet and put it in one digestible place. You can decide for yourself who might be a person you want to reach out to, and use the REDX dossier to contact them via phone, email, or maybe even a door knock.
This approach is perfect for real estate agents who happen to be hustlers. Actually, strike that. This approach is perfect for HUSTLERS who happen to be real estate agents. If you can commit to regularly cold calling and emailing prospects and pitching your business, this is an affordable option that can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Even better, REDX is offering Close readers a waived setup fee when you get started, a $149 savings.
Buying Real Estate Leads From REDX
REDX offers a suite of different products that give real estate agents access to various pools of potential clients. Each of the REDX apps focuses on a different group, including FSBOs, preforeclosures, and expired listings, just to name a few.
You get names and contact information, and rather than putting out a lead magnet to entice these parties to contact you, you decide who looks like a person who could be interested in your services and you contact them. You decide how many leads you want to go after each and every day.
REDX also has a reasonable lead management system (Vortex) that helps you keep track of who you’ve contacted and when, and shows where each contact is at in the funnel. This system isn’t fancy, but it definitely gets the job done.
How Much Does REDX Cost?
REDX provides an a la carte pricing option for their different features, starting as low as $39.99 per month, with discounts for paying in advance. There is also a setup fee to get started, which is waived for Close readers.
Given the fact that you’re in control of how many reaches you make to potential leads each day, you control your cost per lead.
REDX Pros & Cons
We’ve always believed that having more information is better than having less information, and for users of REDX who really dig into the platform, they are usually the most informed real estate agents in their communities when it comes to the specific niches their apps cover.
Being in control over the number of contacts you make each day also makes the potential cost per lead of this option very low. By the same token, this is technically less of a lead purchase option as it is a cold-call outreach tool, so real estate agents who get discouraged easily by “no” won’t flourish here.
Because the cost to get into the REDX game is relatively low, and the value of their information is so high, it seems like a no-brainer that this be a part of your toolkit. If you’d like to read more about REDX, we’ve written an in-depth review to really dive into the platform. When you consider that REDX also has an available built-in dialer to automate your calling and dramatically increase your call volume, this is a great value.
Best for Agents Who Want Buyer Leads: Zillow Premier Agent
Our favorite example of: The floating fee approach
Zillow is, without argument, the largest real estate presence on the internet. Their insane traffic and visitor statistics alone make them a perfect spot to pick up leads. Zillow sends buyer and seller leads (but mostly buyers) to members of the Zillow Premier Agent Program by advertising those agents on their platform, putting them in a lineup of options for consumers to choose from when they want more information about a property.
When a consumer chooses you, they fill out a quick form with their contact information and Zillow sends you (and only you) that information.
This approach only really works if you can be a champion of the reviews section. Most of the time, Premier Agents are advertised with other Premier Agents who are paying for the same ZIP codes. The agent with the best review track record usually wins the leads, so if you can get your review solicitation game down, Zillow is the place for you.
Buying Real Estate Leads From Zillow Premier Agent
With more than 186 million unique consumers visiting Zillow every month, agents should line up to advertise here.
The process is simple: Choose the ZIP codes where you want your Zillow Premier Agent ad to be displayed, choose how often you want that ad to be shown (how much money you want to spend), and deck out your profile so you’re an attractive choice to all your would-be clients who will be checking you out as soon as your campaign goes live.
How Much Does Zillow Premier Agent Cost?
The Zillow approach to buying leads is a little amorphous in terms of price. On Zillow, you pay for ad space on the Zillow platform, but that cost is dependent on a number of factors, including the average home price in an area and the number of other real estate agents who are competing for space.
Your price per lead will fluctuate, but Zillow’s budget tools give good estimates on the number of leads you can expect to see per month for your money.
Most agents we’ve talked to have said that a budget of at least $250 per month is the bare minimum needed to really get started here, but depending on how competitive your area is, even that may not get you the results you want.
Zillow Premier Agent Pros & Cons
Zillow’s market presence and exposure are unmatched, and there’s actually a lot of other benefits that come along with the leads included in the Premier Agent program (a decent CRM, an IDX website, and expanded ad options on other platforms, just to name a few).
That being said, Zillow costs can add up quickly, and currently there is a six-month minimum contract required to join the program. Your lead volume might be high, but so are your dollars out of pocket.
Success on Zillow depends on real investment in the platform, and not just in money. Zillow consistently delivers a pipeline of leads, so if you can build out your Zillow presence with great content and feedback from clients, your quick follow up to leads is going to be rewarded with phone calls that turn into clients.
Visit Zillow today and get started with your Premier Agent Account. If you would like to read more about Zillow Premier Agent, we recently wrote an in-depth article on how to make Zillow worth the cost.
Best for Agents Who Haven’t Had Success With Traditional Lead Gen Methods: Offrs
Our favorite example of: The private eye approach
When we think about the process of qualifying real estate leads, we typically think about step one being your lead reaching out and interacting with a lead magnet. However, when you have a private eye involved, there is actually a step before that. Offrs employs a private eye approach to first predict which property owners are most likely to consider selling, and THEN targets specialized ads at that select group.
Real estate agents who have been around the block on lead buying before and want to try something different, or perhaps are looking to add a new dimension to an already existing lead game, are great candidates for this sort of lead generation.
Buying Real Estate Leads From Offrs
Offrs uses a proprietary algorithm, analyzing millions of data points to help identify what traits the next homes to hit the market are likely to possess, along with which property owners are likely to sell.
Combining these two equations gives them a predictive model of which homes in an area are most likely to become listings. They then target those potential listings with lead magnets and deliver the results to you.
How Much Does Offrs Cost?
The cost of Offrs varies depending on market conditions (similar to the way that Zillow varies their pricing). However, unlike Zillow, the sky is not the limit as far as how much you can spend per geographic territory.
According to Offrs’ website, most geographic areas are available for between $200 and $500 per month, though to be fair, we had to really dig deep to find that information.
Offrs claims that their algorithm will identify upward of 70% of listed homes as potential leads prior to them actually going on sale. The specific number of leads you receive will vary based on the number of homes being listed in your area.
Offrs Pros & Cons
We love the predictive analytics of Offrs—it’s unique and something your competitors aren’t doing. Adding a “step zero” to your marketing effort definitely gives you a leg up on the competition.
However, when a system relies so heavily on an algorithm, you might ignore easy opportunities that the algorithm misses. Also, the pricing isn’t super-clear, which means that every time you consider an adjustment to strategy, an exploratory phone call comes first.
Offrs is a unique option for lead generation assistance, one definitely worth exploring. However, it seems like a natural sidekick to other efforts rather than the star of the show.
Best for Agents Looking for Guaranteed Leads Every Month: Market Leader
Our favorite example of: The flat fee approach
Sometimes, simpler is better, and you can’t get much simpler than the promise made by Market Leader: “One flat monthly rate buys you a minimum number of leads per month, guaranteed.”
A lot of real estate agents are hesitant to get into the paid lead generation game because they’re worried about investing money and having nothing to show for it. With Market Leader, if you make the payment, you’ll have the leads.
If you’ve crunched the numbers and know exactly how many leads you need each month to meet your goals, Market Leader may be a great option for you.
Buying Real Estate Leads From Market Leader
The Market Leader approach to lead acquisition is actually pretty similar to BoldLeads. They run pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google and social media networks, driving traffic to one of two places; a home valuation page for potential sellers, and a personally branded IDX search-enabled landing page for potential buyers. In order to use the tools on these pages, visitors are required to input their lead information, which gets passed directly to you.
The main differentiator between Market Leader and BoldLeads is the guarantee of leads. With Market Leader, you know you’re going to get a minimum number of leads in your queue every month—something that will fluctuate with BoldLeads.
How Much Does Market Leader Cost?
The cost of Market Leader breaks down into two categories: the monthly fee to access their tools and the cost per lead.
There is a flat fee of $99 per month that allows you to use the Market Leader CRM, lead scoring, and follow-up tools, then a monthly cost for the leads themselves, generally between $20 and $30 each, depending on how many leads you commit to every month.
Market Leader Pros & Cons
We absolutely love that the guarantee of leads each month with Market Leader allows real estate agents to make more accurate forecasts of their business performance. If you know your lead conversion rates, by knowing the number of leads you can expect each month, you can pretty accurately predict your income for each month.
On the other hand, we’ve found that even though the process of lead acquisition for Market Leader is very similar to that of BoldLeads, the lead quality isn’t always as good. This makes sense; if you have to hit a specific quota of leads every month, chances are there’s going to be months where the leads aren’t as high quality.
The guarantee is a bit of a double-edged sword, but overall, it is a process that provides a net benefit for agents.
Market Leader is a great choice for real estate agents who have a limited budget (they are one of the less expensive options available), especially if you’ve done the math on what your lead volume needs to be in order to meet your real estate business goals.
Make sure you are accurately assessing the lead quality and conversion for Market Leader leads before making long-term forecasts, as the lead quality may be different than what you’re used to.
But, if you’ve got solid nurturing and follow-up skills and the time to devote to making this system work, Market Leader is a solid option.
Buying Real Estate Leads FAQs
A lot of agents have got questions they need answers to before making a commitment to start buying leads. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about buying real estate leads.
Is buying real estate leads worth it?
Yes! We know—that exclamation point seemed a little over-enthusiastic, but it’s the truth. Think about the money you’ll potentially spend on real estate leads as just another line item in your overall operating budget.
If this expenditure results in a net positive for your business, meaning, you make more money than you spend, it is absolutely worth it. If you spent $500 a month on direct mail marketing and get a $2,500 commission from it each month, you would absolutely say that the postcards were worth it. The same is true for buying leads directly.
Do most real estate agents pay for leads?
We can’t speak for most agents, but we can speak for most successful agents. The majority of successful real estate businesses have some form of paid leads as a part of their marketing strategy. The most successful agents and teams actually scale up their lead buying once they identify a successful lead source.
For example, let’s say you commit to spending $500 a month with Zillow, and you wind up getting an average of $2,000 in commission income as a result. The most successful agents turn around and say, “What if I spend $1,000? Would that get me $4,000 in commissions?” and continue to scale their spending.
Do brokerages ever buy real estate leads to give to agents?
We have heard of some indie brokerages doing this, yes. If you’re looking for a brokerage that offers leads as a part of their package for agents, you can probably find some out there that do it.
However, we encourage you to try putting together a plan to do it yourself before going all-in on someone else doing it for you. The reason is that when you rely on your brokerage for leads, you end up sharing your opportunities with every other agent who is doing the same thing.
Also, make no mistake: You’re not getting those leads for free; your brokerage is paying for them via a monthly agent fee, a higher commission split and/or cap, transaction fees, and so forth.
When you pay for leads yourself, you get to do it on your own terms, and the long-term opportunity for success is much higher.
How can I get free real estate leads?
If you’re looking for free real estate leads, we’d suggest starting with our article 37 Underrated Real Estate Lead Generation Ideas for 2021.
Over to You
We’d love to hear about your success buying leads. Whether it be on any of these platforms, or another we didn’t mention, tell us your stories. How has your business changed since adding this element to your marketing toolkit?
Have any success or horror stories? Or advice for other agents looking to buy real estate leads? Drop a comment below, and let’s keep the conversation going!