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If you’re like me, you should never mention that you might be going to the track. While out with some friends recently, I mentioned that I was going to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday there. Suddenly everyone at the table was a horse-racing expert. Everyone had a tip for picking the exact winning horse. You might be surprised, but none of these guys had any idea what they were talking about. 

It’s sort of the same with leads when you’re investing in distressed real estate. Everyone has advice for how to find the best real estate investing opportunity. They have a tip, or the inside scoop. Some of the advice is helpful, but a lot of it is just noise. 

That’s because there are countless ways to generate leads. Each lead generation strategy has some pros and some cons. One or more of these might be right for you, or maybe, like with me, none of them are. It’s important to have the right information so you can make the good investing decisions. 

Remember, you don’t want to gamble on leads. This isn’t a day at the races—it’s your livelihood. 

Lead Generation for Real Estate Investors: What Works and What Won't

Lead Generation for Real Estate Investors: Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of real estate investing lead generation strategies here are derived from my personal experience and from that of my professional real estate investing colleagues. These aren’t hard and fast facts, but insight based on hard knocks and, maybe, one or two wins. 

Going Door-to-Door

You might want to do this the old-fashioned way. Going door-to-door in an up and coming neighborhood and leaving fliers or asking homeowners if they want to sell might help you drum up some leads. Look for houses that are unkempt or appear to have been vacant for a long time as they may provide the best ROI after being rehabbed.

Pros: You get a street-level feel of the local real estate market, use your instincts, and, perhaps, make a personal connection. You put yourself out there and are a face for someone even before you’re a name.

Cons: It’s a lot of walking, a lot of guesswork, and a lot of time. Additionally, you might come on too strong. People don’t always like a stranger knocking on their door and asking them if they need to sell immediately—especially if they are embarrassed about their distressing financial situation. 

Foreclosure Listings

Everyone’s favorite seems to be foreclosures. These properties may be advertised with your local real estate agent, at a sheriff sale, or online. 

Pros: You know the house is for sale, so you aren’t wasting time. And, they usually appear to be pretty cheap at the outset, which is exactly the draw.

Cons: Everyone and their uncle are looking at the same listings, so competition is high. The house also might be in terrible condition and be a money sink. You may have to spend huge amounts of money to make it even sellable. That’s not really an investment. 

Social Media Advertising

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter all offer paid advertising. It is essentially inbound sales—making sure people know you exist, so that if they need to sell, they’ll turn to you. 

Pros. You can reach a lot of people very quickly, especially if you target your ads to the right demographics. It’s a way for people to learn your name and know your business. You don’t have to make cold calls, so any leads are, at the very least, potentially from motivated sellers. 

Cons. It’s expensive, if done right. And, it can be annoying—who likes ads? Worst of all, you’ll be competing with every other ad out there, your competitors and otherwise. You could have a great ad and then suddenly be obliterated from a potential home seller’s mind by a killer video for a new soda. 

Third-Party Lead Lists

Third-party lead lists give you information on people likely to be selling: couples going through a divorce, a family with a recent death, homeowners facing foreclosure due to job loss. Lead lists give you a chance to find the people who need help. 

Pros. If the list is accurate, you’ve got great insight into motivated sellers. You have their information, and know how to contact them. And, you have knowledge about their situation, so you can go in with empathy. 

Cons. You have to assume the list is accurate. It could be outdated. The house could have already sold, or the couple decided to give it one more chance. But, even if it is accurate, it isn’t exclusive. The same third party is selling their list to every other investor out there. Suddenly, no matter how respectful and professional you are, to the homeowner you’re just another voice on their phone, pressuring them to sell. 


If you have cash in hand, auctions can be a legitimate option. These are usually run by cities or counties for houses that have gone into foreclosure, which happens quite a lot. 

Pros. There are a lot of houses for very reduced prices. You can pay as much as you want, or drop out and move to the next one. 

Cons. There’s lots of houses up for auction, but not a lot of information. You aren’t likely to be able to perform your due diligence, which means you might find yourself paying for a property that will cost way too much to renovate. And, you could very well be overpaying because auctions pose enormous competition, including the banks themselves, which makes it really hard for an independent buyer to compete.  

A Better Way To Generate Leads

I’ve done all of those, and have had some success with each. But too often, I was wasting time and wasting money. I hate that. 

That’s all changed since I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. Now the real estate investing leads come to me. People who are facing foreclosure or are otherwise motivated sellers remember the nationally-known and trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing on television, radio, and print advertising campaign and make the call. 

So, I get qualified leads. And when I talk to distressed homeowners, it’s because they want to work with me. This isn’t to say that all leads turn into sales—you have to make sure that the properties make sense for you—but it really gives me a leg up and a foot in their front doors. And, if you purchase the properties, you will benefit the homeowners with “solutions for ugly situations®.”

Professional real estate investing is sort of like like horse racing. You have to be fast, yeah, but there aren’t any shortcuts. You win by getting the right leads and pursuing the ones that make sense. 

Contact HomeVestors about getting your qualified lead generation on the right track. 


Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.

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