Is anyone paying for leads on any websites? Which ones have you seen the best return on investment?

Asked by Andy Ogorzaly, Chicago, IL Tue May 8, 2012

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Michelle Gon…, Agent, Los Alamitos, CA
Thu Aug 2, 2012
I don't really know of any lead generating website that I would pay for. I can say that listings brings buyers. I have sold many of my listings from internet buyers calling me directly. Another way to generate buyer leads is to hold an open house. The buyers will come to you and it doesn't cost you anthing. Good luck.
2 votes
Michelle, I agree about open houses and made my biggest sales off of open house buyer contacts. It is always good to hear this repeated by seasoned agents thank you.
Flag Fri Aug 3, 2012
I don't know if you will share, but what is the best way to get listings for a newer agent? I am young, so most of my friends are renters and will probably be buyers soon, but not sellers.
Flag Thu Aug 2, 2012
Barbara Cart…, Agent, New Paltz, NY
Wed Aug 1, 2012
I have tried them all and decided to go it on my own with my own website, social networking, and blogging. I am having more success this way plus I have better control.
Good luck
Barbara Carter
2 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Wed May 9, 2012
Hello Andy,
Deborah comment is worth repeating, "I think the potential clients are just fishing for info, and have no intention of using you as an agent." Now, as you have read, there are exceptions, but the overwhelming consensus and evidence is these folks are in the info stage. Unless you have a two year capture and localized retention and nurture program in place, any short term analysis will show a real waste of time using the largest aggregate websites. Just review the Q&A and that should open the curtain a bit.

Before subscribing to any lead generation plan you need to observe how the leads are being generated. To convert a lead to a client, your message MUST align with that of the lead capture mechanism. If they (the citizen) is responding to a "50% buyer rebate" ad and you are displaying your professional achievements and a never ending list of letters after your name, the suspect will vanish. But here's the catch. If you actually see how the capture system works, you would set up your own Ad-words campaign wouldn't you?

Moral to the story, there is nothing these aggregate sites are doing that you can not do yourself in a much more targeted fashion. Consider utilizing those companies that use resources you can not access due to cost or exclusivity. For instance the REMAX TV ads have been huge generators of citizens inquiring about FL real estate. The more specialized the resources the higher quality the lead will be.

Let me give an example or two:
"Live where other vacation!" plays well in the entertainment coupon books tourists grab in the hotel lobbies and street info boxes. From this you get buyers AND referrals to agents in the vacationers state of origin. You may want to modify the message to be appropriate for Chicago.

"What's your home Worth?" plays well BUT must include a self selection mechanism. My statistics support the data stating over 95% of responders who self select make a real estate decision within 12 months. This group has visited Zillow and Trulia and realized the information is bogus and have moved into the action arena.

IT is possible and quite easy to build a self selection mechanism into your Trulia or Zillow efforts, but these folks (users) are so far up stream and undefined I seriously doubt the results would make any difference.

Going old school with micro-mailings yield exceptional results.

So, it boils down to "Where you want to spend your time?", Chasing vapors or creating exceptional copy and getting it in front of the specific citizen you want to do business with.

The environment in which you are located the coupon book would not work well BUT I would consider a collaborative effort with key real estate partners and start calling on the head of HR in all those big companies. Make it a win-win-win and redirect the savings into the employee retirement savings. Take care not to create conflict with any existing re-lo parasites.

Best of success to you.
Annette Lawrence
ReMax Realtec Group
2 votes
Deb O'Hanlon, Agent, Westford, MA
Tue May 8, 2012
So far, none. The leads seem to be many, but the rewards few. Very disappointing. I think the potential clients are just fishing for info, and have no intention of using you as an agent. Anyone having a better experience with leads via websites?
2 votes
Team Forss R…, Agent, Temecula, CA
Fri Aug 3, 2012
I have tried most of them. Our own website has been the best, by far. We drive in 300-400 leads per month but they come from various sources. We also get lots of sign calls, and from Radio. We are just starting homes magazine ads. The main point is to measure your advertising carefully and cut what's not productive and increase what's working. It's all about ROI. It's easy to get leads but more important is to convert to an appointment.
Web Reference:
1 vote
Irina Karan, Agent, Aventura, FL
Tue May 8, 2012
I used to use the most popular sites, and did convert some leads into closings. But, I noticed a change - very few leads, and in low low low price point...Do you guys see the same?

Would love to know...

Irina Karan
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
1 vote
Joe Schiller, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue May 8, 2012
if your not willing to pay about 20-30% your wasting your money..
1 vote
20-30 % of what? You mean buying that percentage of the market/zip code?
Flag Tue May 8, 2012
Suzanne Hami…, Agent, Orland Park, IL
Tue May 8, 2012
I don't use these websites. The ones who call and email me are always out of state and never can tell how they are getting these people or how they are prequalified, but they always say they are prequalified and ready to go. The prices are not bad, if you get deals, but you can easily spend lots and get nothing fast.

I do find Trulia to be an excellent source and I have closed several deals from Trulia leads.
1 vote
Matt Laricy, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue May 8, 2012
It depends which sites. Some sites are better than others. I have seen good results, not from this site though.
1 vote
Richard "RJ"…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Tue May 8, 2012
I was paying for zip code leads on Equator and spent $80 month and got NO ONE. I quit after 6 months.
1 vote
Sally Grenier, Agent, Boulder, CO
Tue May 8, 2012
I'm paying for "Local Ads" here on Trulia in Longmont, CO. As far as # of leads? Yes, I've gotten maybe a few dozen over the last two months. Most of the time the people never respond. So far I've closed ZERO deals. Although, I'm currently working with a buyer (Trulia lead) and we've been out looking at property yesterday and today. We'll see.
1 vote
Same here. Good luck with that latest buyer!
Flag Tue May 8, 2012
Synthia Noble, Agent, New Lenox, IL
Mon Aug 6, 2012
I've tried a few pay for lead websites over the years (guess I am a soft touch). Trulia you pay for advertising (not per lead) and I have had some success.
zillow the same way, less success.
"reply" I used - waste of money.

some services you pay only if you close, so they are tempting, but they can take up a lot of time chasing marginal leads. With all of these, I have found you have to respond REALLY quickly. by phone if possible.
"sawbuck" I have had a few closings, professional and responsive group
"movoto" lots of really lousy leads (buyers looking at $20k houses)
"estately" just recently trying this one, on the fence so far

in this market, I have found you have to have a lot of arrows in your quiver, of course the RE/MAX website sends me leads, my own marketing (craigslist, etc), and best of all - referrals!
0 votes
I can post your ads in craigslist and then u can get more leads.
mail me in
Flag Fri Jan 2, 2015
Endre Barath, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sun Aug 5, 2012
Andy very interesting question and love some of the spirited responses. In my experience I have received leads from various websites including from Trulia. Some leads are better than others and some take time to convert and some you never convert. Keep in mind the more places you are on the better your return will be. Good Luck and much success. Check out Active Rain too!
Web Reference:
0 votes
Patrick Mare…, Agent, Bonsall, CA
Sun Aug 5, 2012
I hired one of the best Real Estate Marketers in the County, his name is Mark Todd. He gets me 500+ leads per month through aggressive marketing on Craigslist and Google SEO. Mark also gets me leads for home sellers (listings) through custom landing pages he developed. This is from his website - "iMarkTodd Integration assists Real Estate Brokerages with intuitive business advertising solutions, futuristic marketing concepts and technology integration services. We offer full Real Estate Integration Services, Advanced Marketing Concepts and Intuitive Management Solutions."

I also use Boomtown ROI for my website marketing platform IDX.


Link to Mark Todd's Website -
0 votes
Judi Monday,…, Agent, Green Valley, AZ
Wed Aug 1, 2012
I have bought most of my market on Trulia and it is definitely paying dividends for me. I do get a number of leads--a small majority are strong ones. But it usually takes only one lead to pay the cost of my advertising and the rest is ROI-- plus because of the exposure I have a number of people who find their way to my website--both Buyers and Sellers.
0 votes
Annmarie Cri…, Agent, Oakland, NJ
Wed Aug 1, 2012
I am trying Zillow for one zip code and so far, nothing. I've had two leads. The first person never returned my call but my subsequent research found she was already listed. The next lead was simply bogus. The email address bounced back and they never returned my text. No phone number was given.

I give it two thumbs down so far but it's early. My zip code is inexpensive so at the very least it gets my face out there. I am not signing up for any more zip codes until I see the response from Zillow. Trulia claims to have an entirely different audience and is pushing me to join but the market between the two is not so different that to the extent that I anticipate great results. Trulia is twice as expensive as Zillow. I'm sticking with blogging for now.

Zillow's inventory is questionable. It claims to have twice the amount of properties on the market as my MLS, but many are 'make me move' which have been on the market for 1000 days because the sellers are asking for 2007 prices. These are not serious sellers and they cloud the perception of what is truly available for sale.
0 votes
Akil Walker, Agent, Upper Marlboro, MD
Wed May 9, 2012
Hello Andy,

In the past I have tried equator, facebook pay per click, activerain, and more. I believe Annette and Deborah on the head.

There is nothing they are doing you can not do yourself and more then likely free, with the exception of your time.

Good luck
0 votes
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