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How to Get Real Estate Leads for Free

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How to Get Real Estate Leads for Free

A recent report suggests there are more than two realtors for every available home on the market. Finding cost-effective strategies to attract potential clients can be difficult – but especially when the competition is so high and everyone’s competing for the same leads.  

 That’s why it’s important to thoroughly understand how to generate free – or organic – real estate leads. Once you do, you can determine a strategy to employ the right mix of paid and free lead generation tactics to keep your pipeline filled up, even as even more new real estate agents enter the market. Plus, using a combination of paid and organic tactics can help keep your overall cost per lead lower.

 What is real estate lead generation?

Real estate lead generation refers to the process of attracting and capturing potential real estate clients for a real estate business.

Lead generation involves various techniques and strategies, typically ranging from free or organic to costly campaign efforts. Common lead generation channels include:

  • Online platforms, such as real estate websites and social media accounts
  • Offline efforts such as cold calls, open houses and networking events
  • Paid efforts, such as PPC campaigns, Zillow or other pay-per-lead sources

Once generated, agents can follow through on lead nurturing tactics with the goal of qualifying them and eventually resulting in clients.

 What are the benefits and risks of free real estate leads?

While quality always outweighs quantity, free real estate leads can be a great way to keep a real estate professional’s pipeline full. However – like any marketing strategy – there are both benefits and risks involved in utilizing free leads. It’s important to understand these pros and cons before relying too heavily on free real estate leads.

Benefits of free real estate leads

  1. Cost-effective efforts: Traditional lead generation methods often involve upfront costs, such as advertising expenses or purchasing leads from third-party platforms. Free strategies also help you maximize your marketing budget, allowing you to shift your dollars towards other essential aspects of your business. 
  2. Targeted leads: While there are no guarantees that free leads will convert into actual clients, they have the potential to be highly motivated and qualified. That’s because many free leads are generated through social media, organic website traffic and referral channels. Because prospects in these channels typically have a genuine interest in buying or selling a property, the leads tend to skew more targeted than randomized purchased lists, for example. As there is an increase in buyer intent among the target market, there is a higher potential conversion rate for your real estate company.
  3. Diversified lead sources: Relying solely on any one lead generation method can be risky. By incorporating free lead generation strategies into your overall marketing plan, you can diversify your lead sources, keeping you from being too dependent on any one lead generation source. 

Risks of free real estate leads

  1. Budgeting difficulties: Paid lead generation often provides more comprehensive data and analytics, helping an agency or brokerage understand the effectiveness of their strategies and make data-driven decisions. There is some built-in predictability, and therefore opportunities to scale, with paid lead gen. With free lead generation, the lack of in-depth data can make it challenging to optimize efforts and improve conversion rates efficiently. It can also be more difficult to plan and allocate resources effectively, as lead quantity and quality can be inconsistent – and unpredictable. However, one way to combat this is developing a comprehensive SEO and content strategy to consistently drive organic traffic from your target audience to your website.
  2. Higher potential cost at closing: Some “free” lead generation tools aren’t technically free – they just allow the purchaser to not pay for the purchased lead list until after a sale is made. This lead generation tactic results in less upfront costs but opens up the possibility for higher pay-at-closing expenses, often in the form of referral fees.
  3. Time and effort investment: Generating free real estate leads often requires a significant investment of time and effort. It involves attending networking events, creating and executing on a website SEO strategy, building a social media presence and nurturing relationships. This process can take time and manual effort. And, of course, there is a cost baked into your time as well.

Top Free Lead Generation Sites with No Upfront Cost

Zillow Flex

Zillow Flex – a program introduced by Zillow – offers real estate agents and brokers the opportunity to generate leads for free.

 Zillow Flex analyzes user behavior and preferences to generate high-quality leads directly from the platform, allowing a user to receive high-quality leads directly from the platform. This targeted approach ensures that you are connecting with individuals who have genuine interest and buyer intent.

 Zillow Flex integrates seamlessly with popular social media platforms, allowing for Zillow premier agents to promote lists and engage with potential clients across different channels. This multi-platform presence enhances your visibility and increases the chances of attracting qualified leads. The program operates with no upfront cost – instead, users pay a success fee only upon closing a transaction.


Redfin, known for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive real estate listings, has become a valuable resource for agents seeking free leads. By creating a professional profile on Redfin, agents can showcase their expertise and attract potential buyers and sellers who are actively searching for properties in their area.

 Using Redfin’s powerful search functionality, agents can identify key criteria and target specific areas to appear in relevant search results. Additionally, Redfin offers advanced analytics and insights that allow for user behavior and preference tracking, providing the opportunity to tailor your marketing strategies accordingly. Redfin also gives agents the ability to customize their listing pages with engaging visuals and detailed descriptions. 

 Redfin also advertises no upfront costs or obligations to join. Instead, it requires a referral fee once a transaction is closed. is another valuable resource for acquiring high-quality real estate leads with no upfront risk. The Connections℠ Plus product within offers access to pre-screened leads without an upfront fee. It works to match your criteria with current buyers and sellers in the market, allowing you to focus only on the prospects who are the most likely to turn into new clients.

With analytics available for user behaviors and preferences, agents can dig into their marketing strategies and figure out what is working best for their intended goal. 


Homelight uses an innovative approach to matching potential buyers and sellers with top-performing agents, helping real estate professionals expand their client base. 

Homelight advertises an algorithm specifically geared towards generating transaction-ready clients. With the referral service, Homelight verifies buyer and seller leads and users only pay a broker-to-broker fee once a deal is closed.

In addition to helping realtors source leads, HomeLight also offers free resources to help agents close deals more quickly. These include market data access, lead generation tips and tricks, and industry trend information.


UpNest is an online platform that enables real estate professionals to tap into a steady stream of qualified leads without any upfront costs.

UpNest works by evaluating an agent’s availability, expertise in their local market and online presence – including their social media – to determine whether they’re a good match for each referral. Once a match is determined, the agent is then invited to submit a personalized proposal based on information supplied by UpNest based on their preferences.

Is it possible to generate leads for free?

Yes, real estate leads can be generated for free.

In today’s market, there are many free resources available to real estate agents that can help identify and pursue different types of leads. Here are five tactics you can consider for free lead generation.

  • SEO-driven website and content strategy

SEO is one of the most valuable free lead generation strategies for real estate agencies today. By creating an SEO-optimized website and content strategy, you can generate a pipeline of organic traffic that converts.

Almost every real estate business has a website. But a website can only do so much for you if the right people aren’t seeing it. That’s the point of search engine optimization — it helps make your website visible to the audience you’re trying to attract and turn into real customers. An SEO website helps put your content directly in front of buyers and sellers with a real intent to become transaction-ready. SEO can help your content climb search engine results pages, so when someone is searching for a relevant topic, your page comes up first – effectively cutting through the noise cluttering the internet. Ensuring your agency is always top-of-mind like this helps you attract a steady stream of organic traffic – and potential clients. 

  • Social media

Real estate agents can use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to share relevant content, increase visibility in the community or search for local buyers and sellers. Most social media platforms also offer analytic and reporting features in your account settings to help you dig into specific information about your target audience and demographics. Using these insights, you can better understand the success of your campaigns and adapt lead generation strategies accordingly. 

Remember, social media is not a one-and-done lead generation tactic. To be effective, you must consistently build and maintain an active online presence. That means engaging with comments and reactions and interacting with your contacts often to generate leads. From there, you can use analytics and reporting to monitor your reach, engagement and conversions, adjusting your efforts and messaging to maximize return.

  • Cold calling

Cold calling allows businesses to directly reach out to potential customers who may have a need for their products or services. Still, not many people like to be on the receiving end of a cold-call cadence if they have no interest in buying or selling property. 

It’s important to conduct research on your contact before you ever pick up the phone. That way, you can identify specific talking points that they may be interested in, allowing for a more personalized phone conversation – and less hang ups. For example, if you are cold calling a specific neighborhood, it’s important to be well-informed about the local school district or public access transportation so you can answer questions with knowledgeable answers. 

When developing compelling script templates for cold calling, it’s important to have a clear and concise introduction, followed by open ended questions to help establish rapport and trust. After you’ve highlighted the crux of how you can help them as an agent, it’s important to schedule a follow-up call immediately. This establishes an expectation of a second touchpoint before you ever hang up the phone. From there, establish a regular cadence of communication to help build your relationship with your contact while establishing your credibility.

  • Open houses

Open houses are an important tactic for attracting potential buyers and sellers because they allow potential leads the opportunity to experience a property firsthand. The housing market is still in high demand, but buyers are less likely to make a big purchase sight-unseen than they were a few years ago. They want to be able to see a property for themselves and establish contingencies before entering into a contract. Open houses help fill this gap, increasing interest among potential leads. 

Real estate agents can showcase the property’s unique selling points, answer questions and address any concerns potential buyers may have. Following up with attendees after the open house allows agents to convert leads into potential buyers or sellers by providing further information, addressing any additional questions or concerns and nurturing the relationship. 

  • Networking

Agents should make an effort to network at industry events, conferences and meetups to connect with potential leads because building genuine relationships is crucial in the business world. Networking allows agents to establish trust, demonstrate their expertise and build rapport with potential leads and industry peers alike. Networking provides a platform for agents to expand their professional network, gain referrals and ultimately grow their business.

  • Door knocking

To develop an effective door-knocking approach, agents should start by coming prepared with a quick elevator pitch to help hook a homeowner’s interest. This may include sharing the sale price of a nearby home, or sharing market forecasts that help convey urgency to sell. Many people assume door-to-door conversations equal dealing with a salesperson. So, don’t push for a hard sell. Instead, use this as an opportunity to lay the groundwork establishing a real connection with the homeowner. That way, when they are ready to buy or sell, your name will come up first in their memory. And be sure to leave your contact information, so the expectation of a follow up conversation is set before you leave the driveway. 

As with cold calling, it’s important to do your research before approaching the front stoop. Gather information about neighborhood homeowners, including current property status, motivations for buying or selling and comparable market prices. Use this research to tailor your approach to each home you approach. Often, this can help make the conversation seem more personalized, too.

Sierra Interactive: Amplifying your real estate lead management experience

It is important to pursue both free and paid lead generation tactics because free tactics can help build brand awareness and attract potential leads without requiring a financial investment. On the other hand, paid tactics such as PPC efforts can provide quicker and more targeted results, reaching a larger, quality audience.

Sierra Interactive offers a comprehensive solution for real estate lead generation and management, enhancing the overall experience for businesses in the industry.

  • Streamlined lead capture and tracking capabilities enable businesses to efficiently collect and monitor leads, ensuring no potential opportunities are missed
  • Advanced lead nurturing and engagement features, allow businesses to build strong relationships with their leads and increase conversions
  • Efficient lead routing and distribution functionalities enable businesses to allocate leads to the right team members promptly
  • Robust analytics and reporting options provide valuable insights into lead performance and campaign effectiveness

Use both paid and unpaid lead generation strategies to maximize reach and potential GCI. Learn more about the newest real estate lead generation ideas, trends and tools by scheduling a demo with Sierra Interactive today.


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