Article: Real Estate Leads


There are two types of real estate leads … qualified and unqualified. Of course a name is unqualified if the person cannot afford the property. But even the financially qualified can be unqualified … if their demographic/psychographic profile has little affinity to the amenities/character of the property for sale.

Often real estate sellers are generating … or buying … more unqualified leads than qualified leads. The Internet is one reason for this increase in unqualified leads. Internet leads tend to be less qualified partly because the Internet enables easy response … versus direct mail … which requires a little more effort. The ease of Internet response tends to attract the curious and information seekers. Plus, web sites today are including such stunning photos and videos that dreamers (people who can’t afford … but dream of such) respond. Who can resist completing an easy on-line form for a brochure on a million dollar mountain home with breathtaking view?

And with the ease of developing web sites there’s been an increase of lead generation companies that generate leads for every imaginable product (including real estate), and then re-sell these leads to multiple buyers. The weakness of buying leads from lead generation companies is that the leads are often unqualified … since the lead was generated from a web site which pulls in viewers from practically all socio-economic and lifestyle groups. Another weakness of buying leads is that purchased leads are also sold to many others … resulting in a bombarded recipient that becomes less receptive to starting a communication relationship with anyone.

For these two reasons (low qualification rate & multiple buyers of the lead), I advise my clients not to buy real estate leads since the cost of working these type of leads significantly outweighs the savings from my buying a low cost lead.

To maximize ROI (return-on-investment) real estate companies should generate their own real estate leads. This route has a higher front-end cost … but a much lower back-end cost. And the good news is that the back-end cost decreases significantly when a qualified mailing list / emailing list is selected.

How to generate qualified real estate leads? The key begins with the list. The list is so critical that you could actually win by sending a weak offer and badly design mail piece to the “right list” … versus a great offer and great mail piece to the “wrong list.” Selecting the right list is paramount, and this is why we encourage the direct user (Director of the Property) to select the list … and not the printer, lettershop, or other third-party that does not have their pulse on the property dynamics.

The key to selecting a qualified real estate list is dependent on knowing the real estate buyer for the property being promoted, and this step begins with a “Customer Profile,” which will describe (via demographics / lifestyles) the ideal buyer. From this profile you’ll know exactly how to select your prospecting real estate list.

Sometimes a developer will have multiple properties, so it’s important to not automatically assume that the buyer profile for property A is just like the profile for property B. Sometimes small differences with amenities, character, location, and other variables can create a totally different buyer profile.

Of course sometimes a list of current buyers, tours, and/or responders are not available for a profile analysis. In this case intuition and experience are the source for knowing how to select a qualified real estate list. And this latter area is where I can help tremendously since I’ve seen what works with literally hundreds of different types of properties.

An additional way to gain an insight into the buyer profile is with “targeted” email marketing. Simply use intuition and experience to select a customized email list, and then generate a profile analysis of the responders, and from this profile we can create a customized real estate mailing list.

Bottom-line, whether you’re selecting consumer mailing lists or business mailing lists, pre-qualification is paramount for generating “qualified” real estate leads.

Kenneth Dante Newton
Director – Real Estate Database Marketing

Business Marketing Graduate – University of Georgia
Direct Marketing – DePaul University
Author of Numerous Articles – Industry Publications

For the past 25 years Ken has provided lists, research, and other services to a wide spectrum of real estate companies … from the local sub-division developer … to some of the largest resorts in the world. Call for a sample of current/past clients.

*NOTE: Be sure to review our “Real Estate Articles” page.