New Realtors Guide: What is a Lead in Real Estate?

The real estate industry is one of the world’s oldest and most established sectors. It is an ever-evolving domain with opportunities and challenges dealing with properties ranging from land and buildings to developed estates and rental units.

In such a vast and competitive landscape, success and stagnation often differ in how effectively industry participants can identify and seize opportunities through a network of professionals, including agents, brokers, developers, appraisers, and financiers. 

Each player has a unique role but converges toward a common goal: facilitating property sale, purchase, or rental. And this facilitation largely hinges on connecting the right buyers with the right sellers or properties. That’s where lead generation comes into play.

Let’s learn what is a lead in real estate and how and where you can find them.

What is a Lead in Real Estate?

Simply put, lead generation in real estate refers to any potential buyer or seller who has shown interest in a property or service related to property dealings.

It could be someone who filled out a form on a property website, called after seeing an advertisement, or even walked into a realty office asking about listings. 

Recognizing, converting, and lead nurturing is fundamental for any real estate professional aspiring to thrive in this competitive market.

How Do Leads Work?

Real estate leads are potential customers who share their contact information to learn more about your products or services. Generating them allows B2B businesses to market to the right type of potential customers and take them closer to purchasing.

Differences Between a Lead, a Prospect, and a Client

A lead in real estate refers to an individual or entity potentially interested in purchasing, selling, or leasing property. Still, it has not committed or taken active steps toward a transaction. They’re someone who has shown interest but isn’t yet fully engaged in the buying process or selling process.

Many real estate agents struggle with the differences between the three. Below are the definitions and differences between a lead, a prospect, and a client:


They may have signed up for an email list, attended an open house, or inquired about a property, but they must actively search or be ready to commit.


Propsects actively research properties, look for online to generate leads, pre-approved for a loan, or make more business or phone calls or specific inquiries about a particular property or area.


They are committed to a transaction, working closely with target buyers and their agent, and have a clear goal, whether purchasing a new home, selling their property, or leasing.

Sources of Real Estate Leads

There are many possible sources for more lead generation. Here are sources you can check to get more real estate leads.

1. Referrals

what is a lead in real estate

One of the most common and reliable sources to generate real estate leads. This can come from previous clients, friends, family, or other professionals in the industry.

2. Digital Marketing and Social Media

Websites, SEO optimization, paid online advertising, and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn can generate quality leads by targeting potential buyers, sellers, or local businesses.

3. Open Houses

Hosting or attending open houses can effectively convert leads into clients and showcase properties to prospective buyers along the way.

4. Local Advertising

Reading materials like newspapers, magazines, community bulletin boards, and local radio stations can help generate real estate leads.

5. Real Estate Listing Websites

Platforms like Zillow,, and Trulia are frequented by those interested in real estate, making them good places to garner more leads.

6. Networking Events

Other real estate agents develop relationships through events or mixers related to real estate or even local community events that can help in lead generation.

7. Direct Mail

Sending postcards or newsletters to targeted neighborhoods or demographics as a real estate agent is a traditional way to boost your lead generation.

8. Cold Calling

Though only some people’s favorite, some real estate agents may succeed in circle prospecting or cold calling or door knocking in specific areas for new leads regarding prospective buyers.

9. Seminars or Workshops

Hosting informational sessions about the real estate market, buying processes, or home improvement can attract potential quality leads.

10. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Leveraging AI tools and technology to manage and analyze customer interactions and data can help nurture, convert, and generate online leads.

The Lifecycle of a Real Estate Lead

Your success as a real estate agent often depends on your ability to identify and cultivate leads, ultimately converting them into clients. 

Understanding the lifecycle of a real estate lead generation is critical for any real estate professional aiming to generate leads to grow their business. Here’s a deeper look:

1. Initial Contact: The First Interaction with a Potential Client

When someone expresses interest in a property or service, it begins their journey in the real estate agent or lead lifecycle. This first interaction could be a result of the following:

  • A potential buyer or seller reaching out after seeing a property listing online.
  • Recommendations from past clients.
  • Physical advertisements like billboards or flyers.
  • Digital advertisements on social media or search engines.
  • Walk-ins to open houses or real estate events.

It’s crucial to record every detail about lead generation at this stage – what they’re looking for, their budget, time frame, etc. This information can be invaluable as you further nurture leads and engage with them through the sales funnel.

2. Qualification: Determining if the Lead is Ready and Able to Engage in a Transaction

The qualification step helps segregate hot leads (those ready to take action) from cold leads (those needing more time or not transacting).

Some factors to consider during qualification include:

  • The real estate leads budget.
  • Their urgency to buy, sell, or rent.
  • Their specific property requirements.

3. Nurturing: Keeping Potential Clients Engaged and Informed

This is one of the most crucial stages of the lifecycle. Many leads might need more time to be ready to take action. Through nurturing strong relationships, agents can:

  • Share relevant property listings or market insights.
  • Offer free property valuations for sellers.
  • Keep them updated on local real estate trends and news.
  • Send personalized emails or messages on special occasions or events.

The objective is to remain the go-to person for all their real estate needs, ensuring they think of you when ready to move.

4. Conversion: Turning the Lead Into an Actual Client

After nurturing quality leads, the conversion phase begins once the lead clearly intends to transact. Here, real estate agents with existing clients must also convert new leads to be:

  • Responsive to the lead’s questions and concerns.
  • Knowledgeable about the market and transaction process.
  • Transparent in their dealings.

5. After-Sale Relationship: How Past Clients Can Generate Leads

The relationship with a potential customer doesn’t end once the transaction is complete. Happy clients often become repeat clients and are more likely to refer others. By maintaining an after-sale relationship with prospective buyers, agents can generate leads and:

  • Request reviews or testimonials.
  • Offer post-purchase support, such as information on home maintenance or local services.
  • Send regular newsletters or market updates.

4 Best Practices for Managing Real Estate Leads

1. CRM Systems

These are specialized software platforms for customer relationship management. In real estate, they can track where each lead is in the sales process, store relevant personal details, set reminders for follow-ups, and help automate specific leads and processes.


Research and invest in a CRM system for real estate professionals. Platforms like Zoho, Salesforce, and HubSpot offer powerful CRM solutions, while others like Top Producer and Follow Up Boss have tailor-made marketing tools for real estate professionals.

2. Regular Follow-Ups

Following up is critical. This can be a call, an email, or a personalized note. Regular check-ins and personalized messages can remind leads of their interest and show them you’re attentive and ready to help.


Set reminders or use your CRM system to alert you when to follow up with a lead. A simple “I was thinking about your property search and found a few listings that might be interesting” can go a long way.

3. Personalization

Every lead is unique, with different preferences, needs, and timelines. Tailoring your interactions based on individual lead data can make a significant difference.

This means listening carefully, taking notes, and ensuring every communication feels personal and relevant.

Action Step:

Instead, segment your leads based on their needs (first-time homebuyers, investors, sellers) and tailor your communication and property recommendations accordingly. You can also opt for conventional methods like sending a postcard or handing them a pop-by gift.

4. Educating Leads

In real estate, knowledge is power.

You position yourself as an expert in the field by providing valuable content to find qualified leads, such as market insights, property trend reports, positive reviews, local events, or home maintenance tips.


Consider social media marketing for marketing strategy, running a blog, sending a monthly newsletter, or hosting webinars. Topics like “Understanding the Current Real Estate Market” or “Tips for First-Time Home Buyers” can immensely benefit qualified leads in navigating the complex world of property transactions.

Quality vs. Quantity

Generating and finding qualified leads and managing these leads is critical for any real estate professional’s success. Here’s an in-depth look at some challenges faced in real estate lead generation and management:


In the real estate business, it’s essential to recognize that getting many leads doesn’t necessarily equate to more sales. The quality of the lead matters immensely. A qualified lead has a genuine interest, buying power, and is ready to proceed.


The industry is rife with platforms and services promising high numbers of leads. However, these might only sometimes be of high quality, resulting in wasted time and resources.


Realtors must have a system that allows for the filtering and ranking of leads. This ensures they prioritize those with the highest potential for conversion.

Staying Current

Ongoing education and adapting to new lead generation methods are needed for lead generation.


The real estate business is continually evolving. New platforms, technologies, and marketing strategies emerge regularly.


Real estate agents may become complacent, sticking to what they know rather than embracing new opportunities. This can result in missed leads or outdated methods that no longer engage the target audience.


Continuous education and training are essential. Real estate agents should attend industry seminars, webinars, and workshops and be open to experimenting with new lead-generation methods.

Time Management

Juggling multiple leads and prospective clients.


In a fast-paced real estate market, real estate agents might manage multiple listings, showings, and client meetings simultaneously. Each lead requires attention, follow-up, and nurturing to convert into a sale.


Being overwhelmed by the number of leads and needing a streamlined process can lead to missed opportunities, mixed-up schedules, or even unsatisfied clients for your real estate business.


Efficient CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems can be invaluable for real estate professionals. They help organize, prioritize, and automate follow-ups. Additionally, setting clear daily and weekly goals and using time-blocking techniques can also aid in managing time effectively.

Understanding Real Estate Lead Generation

Central to this goal is the concept of a “lead.” But what exactly is a lead in real estate anyway? And why is it so crucial for realtors and agencies alike?

The Importance of Managing Leads

The significance of understanding and effectively generating leads must be considered. Here’s why:

  1. Conversion Potential – Not every lead will convert into a sale, but each carries potential. Strategically managing these leads will help increase your conversion rate.
  2. Client Connection Building – When you pay attention to lead generation, you show possible clients that you appreciate their interest and are willing to assist them through their real estate endeavors.
  3. Forecasting & Strategy Development – Effective lead management allows realtors to forecast sales and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. Knowing where your leads are coming from and which ones are more likely to convert, you can better allocate resources and efforts.

Key Takeaways

Regularly update your skills and practices by attending seminars or watching real estate-related reels on social media. A better understanding of the ins and outs of generating leads in real estate can be the difference between a thriving career and a stagnant one.

Keep potential clients and find leads from slipping through the cracks. Embrace the importance of generating leads, innovate your approach to generating real estate leads, and watch as opportunities multiply.

Ready to amp up your own real estate marketing game? Dive deeper into practical lead management strategies and real estate content ideas by subscribing to our blog. Your next big sale could be just one lead away!


What is a buyer lead?

Buyer leads are individuals who have expressed an interest in one or more real estate properties. These people are willing to purchase if the right opportunity presents itself.

What does it mean to buy more leads in real estate?

You can grow your business quickly if you buy multiple real estate leads. Real estate lead generation companies curate lists of sellers or buyers looking for a real estate agent. While this comes at a price, your commission should more than make up for what you spend.

What’s the difference between Hot Leads and Cold Leads?

Hot leads are those individuals ready to take action. While cold leads are those who’ll need more time or not transact at all.

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About Brent Gray

Brent Gray is the founder of Be Greight. Fueled by entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for marketing, he excels in helping businesses achieve their full potential. Known for his strategic insights and data-driven approach, Brent has become a key player in the marketing industry. His expertise in executing impactful marketing campaigns and utilizing innovative tools positions him as a trusted resource for businesses aiming to boost leads and conversions.


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