100 Ways to Create Real Estate Leads

How effective is your marketing? Whether buying, selling, or investing in real estate, marketing is essential to your success.

As an investor, the key fundamental element in the first level of your real estate investing business is creating systematic and consistent lead generation. If you are not focused on lead generation, you do not have a business, you have a hobby or a dream.

Your commitment to marketing is critical.  There are many different ways to create leads and here are about 100:

Accountants and CPA Firms:

  • They have clients with financial problems where an investor can be of help.

Advertising: Never stop. Use simple ads with a USP, Unique Selling Proposition: Quick Closing, All Cash etc., Buy Houses Ads, Newspapers, Flyers.

Attorneys: Attorneys know when people need money, often to pay their fees!  Not just probate but divorce, family law and real estate attorneys.

Auctions: Do your homework in advance. Auctions move very fast and a single mistake can be costly. Visit your local auction a few times to just observe. Know values and repair costs before bidding.

  • Foreclosure: Very risky, not for the newbie
  • Sheriff Sale: Same as Foreclosure
  • IRS Sales

Apparel with Logos: Hats, T-Shirts, Golf Shirts, Hand Bags

Appraisers: Often know what is, or is going to be, for sale

Bandit Signs: Check your local sign ordinances. Some places have no issue with them others do.

  • We Buy Houses
  • Stop Foreclosure

Bird Dogs:These people can be very valuable to your business. It is important to know your local laws about compensating unlicensed people.

“Blue Tarp” Houses: often blue tarps on roofs

Boarded up windows: or visible disrepair

Business Cards different types: one for seller, one for buyers, one for professionals (banker, attorney, CPA)

Builders Models: Frequently builders will sell a model home at a discount.

Building Inspectors

Car & Truck Loans: Some folks would rather keep the wheels than a roof over their head. Buy here, pay here dealers can be a good lead source.

Car Repos: If the car is going the house isn’t far behind.

Carpet Cleaners: Many of their customers are preparing a house for sale.

Charitable Groups: Frequently receive gifts of real estate, but they’d rather have the cash.

City & County Inspectors: Code violations and red tags. If you develop a reputation of buying distressed properties and improving them, you become an asset to the community.

Classified Ads:

  • For Sale:  Look for Key Words – transferred, motivated, divorce, owner financing
  • Want to Buy
  • For Rent by Owner: Look for burned-out landlords

Condemned Houses: Many counties will provide you a free list.

Consumer Loan Companies: When their loans go bad they are frequently willing to deal rather than foreclose.

Courts: Eviction Filings, Probate Court, Divorce Cases, Tax Liens, Code Violations

Credit Repair Agencies & Counselors: Many times the only way someone can get their spending under control is to sell a house they can no longer afford.

Direct Mail: Pre-Foreclosure Letters, Probate Letters, Out of Town Owners, Post Cards, Bankruptcies, Divorce, Delinquent Taxes, Military Owners

Door Hangers: You can also use pre-printed post-it notes to leave messages at target properties. Be sure to advertise on both sides, you can even sell the back side and recover your advertising cost!

Door Knocking: Distribute flyers and go door-to-door asking residents if they know of anyone planning to move because you’d like to buy a house in their neighborhood!

Drive or walk Neighborhoods: Get to know them well and take notice of changes.

Estate Sales – often the real estate will also be available and perhaps with owner financing

Eviction Court: great place to find landlords

Expired Listings: Connect with an investor friendly Realtor

Family Members: talk about what you do and ask for referrals

Farming Local Areas: Become the local neighborhood expert.

Flyers: Cut your cost in half, print two to a page and distribute: Shopping Centers, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Malls. Put on car windshields or pay someone to do it for you.

Friends: “Do you know anyone who wants to sell?” Most people know 2 people who will be buying or selling a home this year.

FSBO Signs: for sale by owner

Funeral Homes: Can be a good lead source before information on a decedent becomes public.

Garage Sales: Are they moving?

Hair Salons: Lots of talking going on during hair cuts!

Home Builders: Need to sell their buyers houses so they can close on the new place.

HUD Foreclosures:

Internet: Rent Clicks, EBay, Craig’s List, Wholesale Sites, Lead Services, USLeaseOption.com

Insurance Brokers: Policy changes from owner occupant to landlord or vacant house coverage.

Investor Packages: Investor who’s ready to retire and cash out their portfolio. May be able to negotiate seller financing as well as a discount.

Judgments: Check the public record or hire someone to do it for you.

Large Employers: Let them know you buy properties because if they need to transfer an employee, they don’t get stuck carrying the house. This can be good for renting executive properties for short-term transferees, too.

Lenders: Banks / REO’s: – Mortgage Brokers, Private Lenders, Hard Money Lenders

Liened Properties: Mechanics Liens, HOA Liens, Tax Liens

Lis Pendens: Notice of a law suits, usually a foreclosure.

Lists: You can buy lists for anything you want to market to: pre-foreclosures, neighborhoods, properties with no mortgage, etc.

Magnetic Car Signs and Wraps: Check with your auto policy carrier as to whether or not this will affect your coverage. A rider may be required.

Market Bulletin Boards: Grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants

Military Transfers: Military bases provide an excellent transient market for those needing to sell and buy off base housing

Mobile Homes: Get to know park managers. Banks don’t like mobile homes but they can become little cash cows. A special license is required if you’re going to get into the mobile home business.

Moving Companies

Neighborhood Newsletters

Networking: Other Investors, Call We Buy Houses ads & signs, Churches, Public Speaking, Investment Associations, Work, Clubs

Newspaper Carriers: Who see the vacant houses everyday?

Nursing & Retirement Homes: Frequently residents need to sell a house.

Pens: Buy cheap ones and leave them everywhere you go.

Pet Odors: If your home has housed a number of pets we may be the buyer for you.

Pizza Boxes: many sell advertising or sponsorship spots


Public Speaking: Rotary, Lyons and Kiwanis Clubs, Realtor meetings and other associations

Quit Claim Deeds: Are a sign that something has changed with the property.

Radio Ads or Show

Real Estate Agents


Relocations: Great for Subject-to or buying on lease option

Rent Credit: Trade rent credit for a down payment

Rental Agents & Property Managers: Let them know you want to buy and also find a local manager. You buy, they manage…win/win!!

Retirees: A growing population with free and clear homes. Excellent prospects for seller financing.

Section 8 Landlords: Each county maintains a list

Short Sales

Social Media: A new way to get your message out: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Structural Damage: Once you know what you’re doing, you can buy at a rock bottom pricing.

Tax Deed Sale Properties: These do not come with title insurance so do your home work.

Tax Lien Certificate Properties

Termite & Pest Control Companies: Write a check and the termites die. Write another check and replace the damaged wood. May find great deals.

Title Companies: Not all transactions close like they are supposed to. Let the title companies know you can help in a pinch, for the right price.

Trading Up: Trade your newly renovated property at retail for a property down the block that you can buy wholesale. Try a sign that says “Will Take Your House In Trade”

TV and Radio: Cable companies may have community service spots for free.

Vacant Properties – look for tall grass and neglected houses

Web Sites

Wholesaler Lists: A good wholesaler can find you multiple properties.

Withdrawn MLS Listings: Easy to get from a friendly real estate agent.

As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to generate leads.

To start, pick ten ways for consistent lead generation and focus on those.  In the beginning of our investing career, we walked neighborhoods with flyers and put magnetic signs on our cars. Why? Inexpensive and effective! Not glorious marketing techniques but we got leads and our very first seller called from our magnetic car signs!

The number one common element of failures in a real estate investing business is not treating it like a business. And, the most important  step to establish in ANY new business is LEAD GENERATION!  Without customers, there is no business.

Whether you’re looking for foreclosures, REO’s, owner-finance, HUD, wholesale, free & clear, rentals, fixer uppers, spread investing, etc, finding them all revolves around having leads. Get busy and NEVER EVER stop marketing for leads!

Anything you’ve tried that’s not on my list?



  1. Thanks Karen! Nice list! There is always a never ending way to go is there! I like your pick 10 idea…..I think people try so many things….Pick a few…and really go to it…Then add another…and another…But you can’t do it all at once!

    Thanks – Brian

  2. Hello Karen! Thank you so much for sharing this information!! I am a new agent and really needed some ideas to generate new leads. This article was very helpful. Thank you!!

  3. Hi Karen, I have a quick question but first my wife and I started real estate a year ago and teceny won rookie and most promising agent of the year along with other achievements largely on the back of dominating the private listing market in our city, we would list ore if them than all the other agents put together.

    However, my question, I’m looking at targeting the private listed rentals introducing myself and adding to a data base if they don’t currently have a preferred agent and sending out quarterly antler updates etc. I figure this will expand my data base rapidly in a very short time and creating opportunities for future listings as these investors eventually sell down. It appears I’m very good on the phone cold calling and have created some differentiation which is giving me great success.

    Your thoughts on this activity?

    Kind regards


  4. You missed “Real Estate Squeeze Pages”. Or lead capture pages. Setup pages specifically for buyers and sellers for a steady flow of leads.

    Your article mentioned “Use simple ads with a USP, Unique Selling Proposition:”.

    This excellent advice should be used with the squeeze page. Create a USP that targets a specific group. For example a squeeze page for first time buyers, or an offer for a free home value report. It works.


  5. Hi Benny:
    A lot of marketers now consider “squeeze pages” as something of the past. Most people are online now so much that, if they have to leave an email address before they get information, they simply leave and go somewhere else.

    I never recommend squeeze pages, however, I’m glad they work for you.

  6. Hi Karen,

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! As a new agent living in a new area and not knowing anyone, this will be a tremendous help to me.

    Have a Wonderful Day!


  7. Hi,
    Great Tips. Here are some other ways to increase the lead :
    – Call everyone you know every couple months and ask.
    – Do Open Houses for other agents
    – Door knock and get to know everyone in your neighborhood
    – Talk to the person behind you, every time you stand in a line
    – Go where people gather and talk to everyone there (bars, community association meetings, public events, chamber of commerce meetings, etc. )

  8. I signed up with Great Agent a few months ago. They’re new and have been awesome and I recommend them to anyone looking to get legit leads. Saves me so much time. Worth every penny.

  9. Hello Karen, my name is Janie Suarez, and I listened you and your story on the BP podcast and was phenomenal, so inspiring and amazing.
    Congratulations for all you have accomplished, you deserve it.
    And great article here by the way.

  10. Love you list Karen. It’s pretty intense and overwhelming. I think just about anyone can take at least one or two of these strategies and start creating real estate leads if they really really hustle… It’s all about the hustle.

  11. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who
    was conducting a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I found it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this matter here
    on your web page.

  12. Pingback: 100 Free Real Estate Leads

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