Real estate

Need real estate listing leads?

Need real estate listing leads?

If you’re looking for sellers, understanding the market is critical. Today, I’m going to show you how to get more real estate listing leads by helping your leads understand why now is the perfect time to sell

Have you noticed that housing market news is solely focused on rising home prices? Sure, there is the occasional tidbit about the lack of inventory, but consumers are mostly hearing that it’s almost impossible to buy a home right now.

This puts homeowners who may be thinking of selling in a quandary. They’ll get good money when they close, but will it be enough to buy the next home?

The one critical thing that we rarely read in the media is how much equity the average American homeowner is sitting on.

“On average, homes with a mortgage gained $26,300 in equity in the last three months of 2022 versus a year earlier,” according to the Associated Press, citing stats from Core Logic.

Sadly, this impressive news is hard to find. Unless you step in and change that.

Today I’m going to show you how to get real estate listing leads by reaching out to the right people.

Need real estate listing leads?

Reach out to homeowners for real estate listing leads

Not just any homeowners, though. Your best bet right now are the owners of starter homes and absentee owners. The former are the ones most likely to be considering selling in a quest to move up. Many of the latter group want to get out from under the rent moratorium.

Farming, via direct mail, is probably the best way to reach out to these homeowners. There are several reasons for choosing this marketing method right now:

  • We are subjected to between 6,000 and 10,000 digital ads per day. That a whole lot of noise for consumers to sift through. We don’t know about you, but we don’t even see the ads anymore.

Sure, we know they are there, but we ignore them.

  • “Bidding costs on digital marketing platforms have risen and continue to rise as a result of high demand and increased competition.” (International Business Times)
  • Online attention spans are dwindling. The average is eight seconds; for mobile users it’s three seconds.
  • More than 60% of Americans said that they felt more connected when they received a card in the mail (USPS Market Research & Insights).
  • Fifty-five percent said they felt less isolated when they received snail mail.
  • Direct mail response rates are from 10 to 30 times that of email and direct mail is more effective than email at creating and retaining brand awareness. (Data and Marketing Association).

To ensure that your marketing is noticed, give direct mail a whirl. Agents we’ve spoken with who are utilizing direct mail are seeing some pretty impressive results.

Two words: Eviction moratorium

Need real estate listing leads?

“And I‘ve been dancing between the raindrops trying to keep things together,” one landlord told  the Washington Post’s Jonathan O’Connell.

“… we have people who owe us seven, eight, nine months of rent,” another laments to Mary Ellen Cagnassola at

The National Rental Home Council claims that the eviction moratorium has impacted “A majority of single-family rental homeowners.”

It’s the smaller landlords, who own fewer than four units, who are suffering the most who are suffering the most, according to the NAR. Nearly 60% of them are owed back rent.

These folks are most likely to sell to get relief from what many are calling the “gut punch” that the moratorium served them and, with the extension of the moratorium, it continues to serve.

“About 23% of small landlords, owning between one and three single-family homes, planned to sell at least one property due to difficulties caused by the eviction ban,” said Michelle Conlin, citing the aforementioned National Rental Home Council study (

But you’ll have competition from investors. And not the small, “we-buy-ugly-homes” type, but institutional investors.

“The big buyers are happy to take these properties off local landlords’ hands.” Rick Palacios, Jr., director of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting tells Conlin.

Ok, so going up against institutional and other investors for listings sounds a bit more daunting than it is. Yes, absentee owners are the low-hanging fruit right now and, yes, big moneyed investors are swooping in.

But they aren’t local and that’s one thing you have going for you.

Here are some tips to compile a mailing list to get started on an absentee owner campaign:

  • If you don’t have a farm area, find one.
  • Separate owner-occupants from absentee owners.
  • Create a landlord-dedicated section in your CRM and load it with all of the names and contact information you’ve collected thus far.

Now it’s time to expand your list of real estate listing leads

Although you want to expand the list of landlord leads you already have, you may want to narrow your focus based on certain criteria first.

These might include:

  • By ZIP Code – if you currently farm a certain area, be sure to include the ZIP code (or codes) as a criterion.
  • The value of the property. If the majority of your buyers are first-timers, skip higher-end homeowners.
  • Ditto on square footage. Smaller is better in many cases.

Where will you find these absentee real estate listing leads? Realist (a public-records database that provides, among other goodies, property ownership information) is offered by many of our nation’s MLS’ so lucky you if yours does.

If not, your title company may offer free farming packages. Otherwise, consider buying a list from one of the many companies that offer them.

ProspectsPLUS! offerings are worth a look. They not only offer mailing lists but real estate-specific postcards, fliers and other marketing items. They even offer absentee owner campaigns. Here are others you may want to check out:

  • Melissa Direct
  • Exact Data
  • ListSource
  • ListAbility

Marketing pieces for absentee owners

Need real estate listing leads?

The first item on your list of marketing pieces for absentee owners should be a very simple CMA. And, do it soon, while values are still super high.

Not only does this establish you as an area expert, but it may just surprise the homeowner with how much his or her home is worth. At the very least, you’ll most likely get the selling wheels turning.

For the best open-rate, send this piece to each prospect in a plain, white, #10 envelope, hand-addressed (no branding).

For an even better open rate (99 to 100% according to an agent who does this), snap a photo of the property, shrink it down to 2-inches square and attach it to the envelope. He also includes a small note, written on the back of the envelope, near the photo, that asks if the landlord has seen his or her property lately.

Yes, it sounds like a bit of work. Real estate listing leads, however, aren’t going to magically fall in your lap.

We know that small landlords are experiencing most of their pain around the lack of cash flow. Their income properties aren’t producing income. They are, in fact, producing debt.

Operation and maintenance costs weren’t given a tenant-like holiday. “If something breaks in the apartment, if the HVAC goes, it still needs to get fixed, and it needs to get fixed ASAP,” reminds Caitlin Walter, National Multifamily Housing Council at

That’s the very real pain you want to address in your other marketing pieces, along with the solution (selling) and the good news: they most likely have lots of equity.

Or, you may want to remind absentee owners that selling to an investor will bring far less money than selling to a traditional homebuyer. Your approach is to help them make money, not lose it.

A series of postcards with the various messages, sent over a period of time, may be just what is needed to push these potential sellers off the fence.

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