If you are a brand new real estate agent looking for clients, finding buyer clients is 10X easier than finding your first listing client! In fact, using just a few of the creative tips and ideas from this post, you could have more buyers in the car than you ever thought possible.
Here are 9 solid ways to find buyers to work with….
How Do Homebuyers Pick A Buyers Agent
Let’s call a spade a spade, picking a buyers agent can be a willy nilly process. Here are a few ways they might find you:
- Picking the agent sitting at an open house
- From a sign call
- Walking in to office hours
- Referral from a friend
- Doing a home search on a website and calling the agent with the listing
There is an old saying, buyers buy houses, sellers buy marketing and this is so true! If you are going to try to work with homebuyers, you need to make sure you have access to lots of listing (and NO, you don’t have to be a listing agent to make this work!)
Borrow Listings From Your Office Mates
There are definitely agents in your office who have listings they would love to have open houses at! Make sure to pick listings that match the types of buyers you would like to work with.
Figure Out Who Your “Target” Buyer Is
While much of being a buyers agent is just leads getting thrown your way, you can do a lot of things that will help you work with people you like!
For example, say you LOVE working with first time homebuyers and helping them find the home of their dreams. Pick some of the marketing ideas below that will help you find couples or singles in the 20-30 age range.
Love waterfront living and want to spend your days taking clients to the hip beach restaurants for a wee spot of lunch after looking at million dollar condos? Then work with agents who have million dollar listings instead of ones that have starter homes!
Before you read more, stop and write a description of what you would like your days as a real estate agent to look like!
It might look like…
- High class builders wining and dining you because of your exclusive client list
- Riding around in an open air Jeep with your clients and their dog, looking for mountain homes
- Meeting up with eclectic couples who are excited about restoring artistic, old historic homes
- Working with newlyweds, finding the very best home for them to have their first baby in
Now, maybe one or more of these will jump out at you and you will, “of COURSE, why wouldn’t everyone want to work with celebrity clients”… but not everyone does so make sure, right here up front you are thinking about building a client base of your dreams!
What To Do With Leads
I KNOW, you want to get to the “how do I get my first buyer” part of this post, but please, hear me out! Once you start doing some of the marketing that I am going to suggest in this post you will start to get leads for buyers and the saddest thing in the world would be to let them all go to waste.
5 People A Day In Your Database
Your very first job as a real estate agent is to get 5 people a day into your database! This is what will help you have leads to followup down the line. I recommend MailChimp for this as they have a free version for when you are just getting started and loads of training for new users.
So who are these people you will be adding? That comes below!
Have An Autoresponder Setup!
Okay here is what is going to make you different from all the other agents out there who are just flailing around. Do an autoresponder series of emails that you send to every buyer you meet!
These are emails that you send out after someone gives you their email address. A series for move-up buyers might look like this…
- So nice to meet you!
- Is staying in the same school district a must have for you?
- Do you want a pool at your new house?
- Can you buy before you sell?
So you might be thinking, once I have someone in the car, I will know all the answers to these questions, but many of the buyer leads you get will not be ready to jump in the car.
You need to have a plan to nurture them until they are ready to get started. These kinds of emails will get them talking to you and help you be the agent they pick when they are ready to go house hunting!
How To Find Your First Buyer Client
I don’t expect that all of these will appeal to you. Pick one or two to focus on and then get to work!
1. Friends & Family
If you are a new agent, your very best source of leads is going to be friends and family. As a buyers agent it is great to get your feet wet showing your relatives and pals homes that they will love.
When I started I emailed EVERYONE I knew! I sent out this message… (feel free to steal it)!
I am so excited to tell you that I passed my real estate test and got my license! I am trying to build up my list of people who might refer me clients and I would love to add your name to my list. Do you mind? I will only send you amazing info and would SOOOO appreciate your help!
When I say everyone I mean everyone, my doctor, my dentist, my best friends, acquaintances from the gym, my aunts from out of town, EVERYONE!
When I sent my weekly email, they got it, when I did just sold or just listed postcards, they got them! Honestly, you have to use this one invaluable resource you have!!
2. Open Houses
Open houses are a super easy way to get buyer leads for EXACTLY the types of buyers you are looking to work with!
I KNOW, sometimes you have to take what you can get “borrowing” homes to hold open from other agents, but when you can, pick your perfect homes.
For example, say your dream client is an “urban farmer wannabe” who is looking for a neat old farmhouse and a little bit of land.
Make sure you ask every agent in your office if they have any houses that would be close to that description!
Have a sign up sheet ready at your open houses and ask for the normal things (Name, Email, Phone, etc.) but also for the the type of house they are looking for! You could get in a little talk with them right at the front door that could lead to a great relationship!
The “normal” real estate websites are perfect for you! If you are going to be prospecting for buyer leads with your site, make sure you have some kind of IDX integration (what shows the listings) AND that will allow you to do data capture (ask for their name and email address so you can follow up!)
If your company does not offer a free website to use, NAR (the National Association of Realtors) has a program where you can get a free Placester© website with your annual Realtor Benefits© Program!
You will need to get good at Real Estate SEO if you are going to be internet based!
I KNOW, it seems like putting up a website should work a treat, but we are heading back to some old school stuff that will put buyers in your car right away!
4. Leads From Other Agents
Any real estate agent in your office who has listings has buyer leads. There is a statistic that every listing closing results in two buyer closings (Yay!)
That said, many listings agents don’t really want to work with buyers, preferring to refer them out to other agents on their team or in their office for a cut of the commission (usually 20-25%).
If you are going to do this as a true lead source, make sure you give the agents weekly updates on the status of the leads. This could be, “buyer in the car, making an offer this week” or “still waiting for financing”.
The biggest problem for listing agents is giving out leads and never hearing anything back from the buyers agents.
5. Join A Team
I know, many agents want to do it all themselves, but if you are struggling with finding buyer leads, one great way to get started as an agent is to join a team.
Oftentimes a team will have lots of leads available and also has administrative staff to handle things like closings and compliance.
One buyers agent I know has worked on a team for over 10 years, working with people she loves and not having any of the bother of running a small business.
6. Local Expos & Events
One neat thing about working with buyers is other people get them all together for you for expos and events!
Say you want to work with first time homebuyers, set you up a table at a bridal show with a big poster that says, “Ask Me How To Get Your Downpayment For Free!” Talk about having their bridal guests donating money to their downpayment instead of getting them silverware they will never use!
Or love the waterfront listings? Get a booth at the local boat show and have a big, old poster that reads… did you know “Champions Club has Deep Water Gulf Access?” To you that might not mean much, but to a boater, that mean that they can hop on their boat in the back yard and get to the Gulf of Mexico!
Videos are the one thing that can set you apart from all the other agents! Many real estate agents are afraid to do ANY videos let alone appearing in ones post on YouTube or social media.
I have a whole post about real estate videos, but here is just a wee little bit about what you can do…
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google! Every day there are hundreds of thousands of searches being done for buyer SEO keywords like, “homes for sale cleveland”, which has 70 searches a month for just that phrase… but the results are all for listing agents, showing a specific home!
If I was going to make “homes for sale” videos here in Tampa Bay, I would make general videos covering:
- New construction homes for sale in Tampa
- Historic homes for sale in Clearwater
- The best starter homes for sale in Dunedin for first time homebuyers
These would show more than just one home that was for sale. They could include some school info, different neighborhoods that had that style of home, even a “walking tour” of the neighborhood!
Facebook & Instagram Lives
Oh my gosh, as a buyers agent you have so many opportunties to “go live” on Facebook or do a quick Instagram story! You could pop one open when you are waiting for your buyer and do a quick neighborhood tour, do open house walkthroughs or “best of downtown” videos while you are taking your buyers to lunch!
Remember, these are SUPPOSED to be live and not perfect!
By networking I don’t mean with your friends or sphere, but finding actual business related contacts who might know about sources of leads for you! Here are a few that come to mind…
Listing agents – make friends with as many listing agents as you can! Let them know you would love to work their buyer referrals and you are committed to giving them weekly updates of their progress!
Mortgage bankers and brokers – many buyers start by visiting their mortgage guy to see how much they can spend. It is worth taking the time grow relationships with some mortgage peeps.
Wedding planners – after the wedding, many young people’s next step is to buy their first home!
Obstetricians and doulas – new baby coming… that new Mommy may be nesting hard and want to get a house before the baby comes!
Most people are not great at selling so you need to make sure to make it super easy for friends and family to refer you out. I recommend using business cards with your picture or logo on the front and then a “referred by” line on the back.
You can give 5 of them to your best clients and let them know when you get a referral from them you will send out a special gift (a $5-15 Starbucks card is fine). Don’t worry about whether you get a client or not, reward them every time they recommend someone to you!
This causes a nice feeling in them because they helped you and you thanked them. They will want to do that again and again!
Bonus points – if you are sending out a newsletter, make sure to put a “Referral Friends” section in there and call out everyone who sent you a referral that month. Peer pressure will kick in!
Finding Your First Real Estate Buyer FAQs
Here are some of the questions a new real estate agent would have about getting their first buyer client!
Is that better as a new agent to start with a buyer as a client?
Hmmmm, this is a good one. I feel like since there are so many buyer leads out there easy to get, it is low hanging fruit. That said, if you are super business-y and not a people person, working with buyers may not be the right fit for your personality.
Will starting with a buyer client lead me to seller clients?
Some buyers will have a home to sell too! I feel like doing open houses would be the very best way to meet potential buyer/seller combos. Keep your eyes out for those “nosy neighbors”! They are listings in disguise.
Where do I find buyers?
I think I covered this pretty well, but let’s talk about where you find GOOD BUYERS. Good buyers will be loyal to you (maybe get a Buyers Brokerage Agreement signed). They will also come with at least a pre-approval letter from a lender.
If you are just starting out, you might be willing to work with any old buyer, but as you get more and more exprieinced you will start to learn how to pick out the good buyers from the bad ones who will run you ragged and never close on a house!
Is it a good idea to contact banks or mortgage lenders to find buyer clients?
Heck to the yes! Brainstorm a bunch of ways to reach people who have access to a large pool of potential buyers for you. Take them lunch, send them thank you cards, give them your referral cards to hand out.
These contacts are gold and should be cherished!
Since I’m new, how do I convince buyers that I have enough knowledge and credibility to help them?
Buyers are not as discerning as sellers are (although they should be!) There is not really a good way to check buyers agent stats the same way as there is to check Days on Market or Percentage of Sale Price the way you can with listing agents. So don’t fret! Act confident, get help from your broker when you need it and do your very best with every lead you get.
Sometimes you can leverage your newness to your advantage. Let your buyers know you are super hungry and want to make this sale perfect for them since they are your first client!
Should I specialize in some type of home buyer (first, upsizing, downsizing)?
Well upsizing or downsizing is good (because double dipping the buyer and seller sides). But what I think they are asking is, “should I pick a certain type of client to focus on like first time homebuyers or historic home buyers, etc.”
YES! and no! Marketing is cool. What you work for comes to you so make sure you are prospecting for the right types of clients. If you love babies and young people, prospect for first time homebuyers. If you are a more business-y type, then prospect for people who are more analytical and buying with data driven facts.
What about leaving my card or flyers is apartment complexes?
For sure if you are allowed to! You can even send your flyers very inexpensively with EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) from the post office!
Should I have a more experienced agent give me a buyer to start with? Will they even do that?
They will! Many listing agents are super awesome and will not only give you the buyer leads (for a commission split of course) but they will help you out because they are being compensated for helping!
Why buyers instead of sellers?
I think there is a big difference in working with buyers versus sellers. Buyers are often super stressed by the mortgage process, down payment, inspections, etc. They are also more emotional because they are buying their next home.
Sellers are a (tiny bit) less emotional. They are ready to move and may have disconnected from the house and are looking forward to their next home.
One reason to start with buyers rather than sellers is the availability of leads!