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Proven Strategies to Find Motivated Home Seller Leads

find motivated seller leads

How to Find Motivated Home Seller Leads

If finding seller leads is tricky, finding motivated home seller leads can seem downright impossible. At least, it can seem that way, if you aren’t leveraging a high-quality real estate lead generation software tool. Seller lead generation should be an intentional part of your business strategy. We’re breaking down our top, proven tips on how to find motivated seller leads. 

Read how one Realtor generated 700 home seller leads in six months using Sierra Interactive’s PPC campaign management.

What are motivated home seller leads in real estate?

Motivated home seller leads are home or property owners who have some kind of strong motivation or urgency to sell. 

Unlike other leads, who may be willing to wait much longer for buyers to meet their requirements, motivated home seller leads typically have a specific set of circumstances that are driving their need to sell. This could be financially related (such as debt), personal (such as divorce or death), or something else entirely (such as a new job). 

Because of this, these leads are often more flexible, willing to negotiate, and open to a faster sales process. This can make identifying and targeting them an effective lead generation strategy.

Types of Motivated Home Seller Leads

Sellers may be motivated to sell for a range of reasons, but the following categories capture some of the most common:

Distressed Homeowners

These leads have homes or properties that have either fallen into disrepair or face significant legal issues (such as liens or code violations). Rather than investing money in fixing these issues, they would rather sell the house at a discount to someone else.

Probate and Estate Sales

These are leads who have inherited a property but don’t want the expense of commitment of managing it. If they don’t live near the property, they may have extra motivation to try to sell it off.

Absentee Owners

These are owners of a property who no longer live there. They may have taken a job in another city or moved away to deal with personal circumstances. Whatever the case, they would like to sell the home because they can no longer benefit from it.

Financially Motivated Sellers

Financially motivated reasons for selling could refer to difficulties such as foreclosure, bankruptcy, or some kind of overwhelming debt. In order to alleviate this financial burden, this type of lead has an extra motivation to sell their house.

Tips for Finding Motivated Home Seller Leads

While the reasons you may want to locate motivated home seller leads may seem obvious, the process of doing so may not be. To help clear this up, here are some useful strategies you can employ to improve your lead generation efforts.

1. Differentiate your approach to find motivated home seller leads

All realtors know home buyer and seller leads are not created equal, so stop marketing to them as though they are one-in-the-same. Use a differentiated approach in your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, SEO efforts and database management to better target seller leads in low inventory markets. Here are some tips how:

  • Adjust your expense expectations for PPC and SEO campaigns. There is lower seller lead search volume than buyer lead search volume. Meaning, you should expect your cost-per-lead to be higher.
  • Expand your targeting with PPC and SEO campaigns. Insights in location vary, as seller leads rarely use geographic information (like city names or subdivisions) when searching for information to sell a home.
  • Nurture existing contacts. Each customer journey is different. Some sellers are likely already in your database.  

Knowing these facts, it makes sense to use a varied approach when trying to generate quality leads in either category.

Since home seller leads rarely search using geographic information, we recommend using geographic targeting at the county level to reach a large enough audience to support your seller lead PPC campaign. Pro tip: population within your target market can be the key to success here. Whereas buyer lead generation strategies might benefit from keyword specificity of targeted cities or neighborhoods, seller leads make more general searches like, “What is my home worth?” 

Factor in your sphere of influence as a gauge for where, when, and how to drive your marketing services strategies. Knowing past buyers can become sellers down the line, it’s important not to neglect the leads already in your database. Instead, develop action plans to keep in regular contact and implement automations that can trigger workflows based on lead behavior (like expressing interest in a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) call-to-action you might have included as part of your nurture).

Proactively budget for nurture efforts that keep you front-of-mind (even if the buyer hasn’t yet considered another move). It can be easy to get caught up in generating new seller leads. Don’t let this pipeline of existing contacts in your database go stale.

Tip: Here are some real estate PPC strategies to use to maximize your effectiveness.

2. Tailor your tactics so you’re spending resources on the right leads

Just as buyer and seller leads are different, leads and transaction-ready leads are not always one-in-the-same. Even among those who are ready to sell, timelines vary.

That’s why it is important to use tools early on in your lead generation efforts to correctly categorize potential sellers and prioritize using CRM management tools. Time preference tags, for example, are one way to quickly sort seller leads into different categories based on how soon they are needing to sell.

A real estate website can capture and tag this information for you, automatically sorting leads into different categories that can help determine urgency. For example, 1 to 3 months would demonstrate a much higher urgency and a transaction-ready lead than a lead interested in selling 12 months out, or even someone who isn’t willing to commit to a timeframe and opts to refrain from submitting this information on your seller site.

Other factors that could impact your prioritization efforts could include lead responsiveness and the quality of the information they’ve submitted. If they’ve supplied a phony email, you have some indication on lead quality. Similarly, if you’re having a hard time getting them on the phone or getting email responses, they may be in “just curious” mode. Once you know details like this, you can filter your leads to better prioritize your efforts.

Our recommended process looks like this: 

  • Reach out to every lead you collect regardless of timeline. We recommend doing this with a phone call — it’s important to establish a relationship immediately, and while emails, texts or automated messages can be effective in a long-game, it’s best to start a relationship with a call. 
  • Root out the leads that are in “just curious” mode, and move them into custom action plans so your services are front-of-mind as they become more transaction-ready. 
  • Once you’ve identified leads on a faster timeline, you can focus your immediate efforts on them. 

3. Conduct research on Zillow to find opportunities

Zillow is used by millions of people every day to both buy new homes and sell their existing properties. This makes it a valuable resource for you to find potential leads of all types. But particularly when it comes to finding motivated home seller leads, Zillow offers a few features that can help you out immensely.

In addition to sourcing their data from MLS, Zillow also pulls bank and court data, which allows you to search for properties that are in foreclosure. Just look for the appropriate checkbox by the search bar. Although these homes may not necessarily be for sale, the fact that they are already in the foreclosure process may mean that their owners will be much more motivated to want to sell. When you contact them, just remember to be sympathetic to their situation – although they may not have listed their property for sale yet, an agent who treats them with dignity and kindness may be just the push they need.

Another way you can use Zillow to find motivated home seller leads is by searching for FSBOs. There are many reasons why someone might want to list a property themselves. Perhaps they’d like to avoid the commission fee or maybe the property is distressed. In any case, they might be receptive to the right agent contacting them to offer their services and take the listing off their hands.

4. Call expired listings

MLS listings expire all the time – and for many reasons. Perhaps the seller wasn’t able to find a buyer or judged the current market not to be a good fit for them. Or maybe they discovered that there are some repairs they need to make on their home first. Whatever the case, these sellers are likely frustrated by the experience and ready to listen to your pitch. They may even be willing to make certain concessions in order to move the property faster – which will be a boon for you.

5. Network with local professionals

No matter how motivated a seller may be to sell their home, a real estate agent is likely not the first person to hear about their intentions. That honor will instead fall to any number of local professionals. The agents who know how to network with these people may be able to take advantage of a significant opportunity.

For example, getting to know local attorneys can give you a leg up on property owners who may be going through a divorce, bankruptcy, or some other legal crisis that could motivate them to sell. When reaching out to them, be sure to communicate what you can offer them, such as a promise to send them clients who need wills or trusts drawn up. That way, the relationship will feel mutually beneficial.

Likewise, it’s a good idea to build up relationships with inspectors, contractors, and other professionals who may know when a property is in violation or faces significant repairs. By leveraging their knowledge, you may be able to identify owners who want to sell fast.

6. Find leads on social media

Considering the ubiquity of social media, in particular Facebook, you would be remiss not to utilize it when looking for motivated home seller leads. There are a couple of ways you can do this.

The most straightforward option is to just search for them. Try using fairly general terms, such as “real estate for sale” or “house for sale.” Especially when it comes to FSBOs, it’s more than likely that you’ll find a few motivated sellers who have posted about their property. And chances are, if they are resorting to reaching out to their local social network, then they’ll be receptive to your services.

You can also utilize social media ads. Both Google and Facebook offer powerful options for running targeted campaigns that can be directed toward specific types of sellers. For instance, you can use Google’s keyword feature to target ads toward people searching for certain phrases, such as “sell my home fast,” that are good evidence they are motivated to sell. This way, you can cut through a lot of the noise and get your name in front of the people who matter most.

How to find motivated real estate seller leads already in your CRM

Lead prioritization isn’t limited to new seller leads. You can (and should) comb your database for seller leads on an ongoing basis. If you have the right tools in place, this doesn’t have to be a manual process.

Use your CRM to track home anniversary dates based on when buyers closed on their last home. Knowing that the average expected length of ownership for a home is 15 years, with some generations skewing even lower, you can strategically estimate when a contact might begin to become motivated to sell. When your contacts are approaching anniversaries, or have surpassed that length of time in a home, you can plan to pop by with a gift or send a note.

Additionally, integrated technology solutions like Revaluate can help you identify likely movers based on recent life changes. Major life changes that can motivate seller leads include death, marital or relationship status changes or job changes. Tools like Revaluate does the work analyzing a lead’s likelihood to move for you, factoring in a mix of government, social, search and spending insights. 


By combing through your database, you can identify sellers who are extremely likely to convert into deals, without a heavy lift from your busy agents and brokers.

Compare your findings with your available toolkit  

We’ve shared strategies to help you find motivated seller leads. The trick to actually winning seller leads, though, comes down to the tools you’re using to run your business. A full-picture real estate software solution should deliver premium features, without premium prices.

Key attributes of best-in-class real estate software can do these things:

  • User-friendly, no-code IDX website templates, with included SEO and landing pages that can be tailored to your individual buyer and seller website domains. This is critical, as your seller lead site should operate independently from your buyer site, without the hassle that might otherwise come from mapping two individual business websites.
  • Deliver a sophisticated CRM that can handle lead tagging and routing, a wide variety of follow-up features, reporting and smart filtering. (Plus, built-in integrations to tools that can reevaluate your database).
  • Powerful lead generation services, with PPC ads that are proven to deliver quality leads, instead of high volumes of dead-ends.
  • Cost-effectiveness. In real estate, the industry standard is charging 20% of the ad budget for service fees. Knowing seller leads typically cost five times as much as buyer leads or more, it’s important to invest in a software solution that can keep costs low and quality of leads high with no extra service fees that increase your costs.



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