How to Get Real Estate Leads in 2020

An exodus from cities wracked by COVID-19 and a growing trend toward new work from home policies are creating big opportunities for real estate agents.

My mother always says that if you look long and hard enough, you’ll find something good in every situation. But the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged her fortitude, as well as the fortitude of optimists everywhere.

But my mom is right, as moms tend to be. There is some good news… even for real estate agents.

A recent Harris Poll reports nearly a third of Americans want to relocate from large, crowded, and dangerous cities to the perceived safety, security, economic savings, and simpler lives made possible by living in suburban and rural areas.[1] Such a migration would have a major impact on residential real estate sales and home prices.

New York City skyline on a clear day featuring the Empire State Building.

Since the pandemic, and because they’re perceived as safer, more Americans want to relocate from cities to suburban and rural areas.


Can you spell opportunity?

How to tap into the relocation market

As the pandemic has exposed the dangers of cities and put millions out of work, many Americans are reevaluating their priorities and discovering they want to spend more time with family and improve their quality of life. And as more employers create policies that allow employees to work remotely, these one-time dreams are becoming realities for a growing number of people.[2]

Man with glasses speaking on cellphone while sitting at laptop

The freedom to work from home means more people are looking to relocate.


While the population of cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and others has either been declining or remaining flat, the downward trend is expected to increase because of COVID-19. Consequently, the question that should be on the mind of every agent is how to get real estate leads during this very unusual but potentially profitable uptick in household relocations.

Consult your database for clues about which contacts may need assistance as a result of a relocation triggered by COVID-19.

At ReminderMedia we’re constantly talking about the value of agents’ databases. On average, every person in your customer relationship management (CRM) system knows three to five people who will need the services of a real estate agent in the next 12 months.

This is as true in 2020 as it is in any other year.

The best thing you can do for yourself as an agent is to consistently remain in contact with the people in your database. They’re unquestionably your best source of new leads. If you don’t nurture those relationships, they will forget you no matter how great your service.

Portrait photos linked together to represent a network set against a blurred image of a man in a business suit.

A fail-safe way to get real estate referrals is to ask people in your network. Referrals are the #1 lead generating tool.


And that’s a tragedy because according to a Texas Tech University study, 83% of people are willing to give a referral after a positive experience, while Nielson reports people are four times more likely to act on a referral from a friend.[3]

One of the best strategies for remaining in touch with your sphere of influence is to provide them with information they value—typically, information that is timely, useful, and entertaining.

To help our busy clients stay top-of-mind, we offer a range of digital and high-quality print marketing materials like American Lifestyle,  Start Healthy, and Good to Be Home magazines. An independent study confirmed these personally branded magazines, which we mail to your exclusive list of contacts, create an average 58% referral rate.

Magazine cover

When it comes to how to get real estate leads, providing value to the people in your sphere will keep you top-of-mind for referrals.


Take the time to check your database for contacts who might bring in a referral. Call and ask them how they’re doing and if you can be of any help. If you’ve stayed in contact and have worked to grow and nurture relationships with them, then you’ve earned the right to ask for referrals:

  • Do any of your clients have children who’ve moved to the big city and now need to return home? This could mean they need help finding a less expensive house, apartment, or temporary living space.
  • Did any of your clients purchase their home because it was close to work and now have an opportunity to work remotely? This could mean they need help finding a new location or a home with space for an office.
  • Do any of your clients have aging parents and may be considering moving to be with them or bringing their parents closer? This could create a need for a new larger or smaller home and assistance finding one.
  • Which of your clients have young children and may have realized during months of quarantine that they need more space? This could mean they want a house with more rooms and more property but don’t know where to begin.
Young teen with a cookie in her mouth is baking with her grandmother.

Clients with aging parents often need the services of an agent who can help locate the perfect home for grandma and grandpa, so they can live near by.


If nurturing relationships with your clients has not been a priority, then you might consider using one of our automated digital solutions. Check out Branded Posts, which sends an automated, biweekly, personally branded email newsletter to your list of addresses, and gives you access to thousands of high-quality content articles, also personally branded, that you can post to your social media platform.

Once your newsletter is sent or article posted, follow up with a phone call. Ask them what they thought of what you sent. The point is to have a conversation, but if you want some help with how to get the ball rolling, use this free e-book, How to Effectively Follow Up with Clients. It offers simple tips about what to say and how to follow up.

Add expertise to your resume as the agent who crushes relocations and make more money as the expert in this niche market.

As a real estate agent, and maybe more than anyone else, you know how difficult moving from one home to another can be. Moving is made even more arduous when it’s a bona fide relocation across states or across the country.

Flying passenger jet with a trail of water vapor behind it against a clear sky.

The riches are in the niches! Consider becoming an expert in long distance moves or other narrowly defined market and clients will pay more for your services.


What if you were to set a goal to own the real estate relocations niche in your state?

You likely already know the more specialized your services, the more money you can command. You might use the suggestions in this linked guide and brand yourself as the only person who eliminates the stress of long distance moves and guarantees to get it done right. (Listen to branding specialist and author Marty Neumeier talk about being “the only.”)

If you are unfamiliar with the power of niching your business, then our podcast, Stay Paid, has several interviews with top experts that can help. Try out The Importance of Finding Your Niche, with Willie Mandrell, or The Riches Are in the Niches with Tom Helga.

Expand your reach, develop more relationships, and get the best kind of referrals by developing a cross-country network.

According to Juan Barreneche, a master at using Instagram for finding real estate leads, “getting a referral from an out-of-state broker is the best referral you can get.” The leads are warm and often qualified, and because you’re referred by someone the client already trusts, you’re pretty much a shoo-in.

Make a plan to call at least two agents in every state and start a conversation. Ask them about the market. Tell them what going on with you. Offer them help with anything they might need. They’ll likely do the same.

Woman at desk speaking on phone

You can get real estate leads by connecting with agents in other states and exchanging referrals.


That’s all it takes to start a relationship and begin to reap the benefits of relationship marketing. But stay in touch because that’s what it takes to nurture a relationship.

Pretty soon, you’ll have a network of agents across the country to whom you can refer clients and who will keep you top of mind as well. Include them on your exclusive list of contacts to whom you gift a free subscription of American Lifestyle, Start Healthy, or Good to Be Home magazines. That way, they’ll put a name to your face and always have your contact information at hand. But check first—they may already be one of ReminderMedia’s 100,000 clients and have their own subscription.

Build relationships and cut your costs by partnering with individuals in related industries.

Think about the last time you moved and all the services you needed to make it work. Your clients are going to need many if not all of those same services. And if their relocation is farther, larger, or more complex, they’ll need even more and different services.

All those service providers represent opportunities to build relationships that can help you get real estate leads and generate referrals. They’re also a chance to find partners with whom you could split marketing costs.

For example, imagine you used one of the two tear-out cards included in your branded magazine to advertise the services of a reputable long-distance moving company. That moving company could chip in for the cost of the magazine.

Inside of a large moving truck with a man securing boxes with rope

Create partnerships with related businesses and refer one another to get leads.


Whatever the specific arrangement, you’d both benefit from the cooperation—you’d provide additional value to your clients who receive your magazine and the moving company gets exposure to a host of potential new customers.

Just think of all the possibilities! In addition to the moving companies, you could consider partnering with any or all of these additional service providers:

  • Apartment complexes and short-term housing suppliers
  • Doctors, dentists, and vets
  • Childcare services
  • Libraries, diners, and local coffee shops (work from home means work from anywhere)
  • Interior designers
  • Painters
  • Landscapers
  • Contractors
  • Furniture and home appliance stores
  • Personal storage facilities

It’s the perfect “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” arrangement.

Close up of a woman's hand stirring a can of paint.

Painters, landscapers, interior designers, mortgage brokers, and other service providers can be sources of real estate leads.


Even in the worst of situations, opportunities can usually be found or created. And relationships can be the key to taking the most advantage of them.

If you’re not familiar with relationship marketing and why it is much easier and more productive than constantly worrying about and chasing new leads, then download this handy e-book, Getting Started with Relationship Marketing. You’ll discover how to build meaningful relationships with your clients and effective follow-up strategies that will drive repeat business and lucrative referrals.

Cover of magazine

It’s the best follow-up tool in the industry for getting leads in real estate and referrals.


And if you’d like a free PDF sample copy of any of our three magazines, then click this link and we’ll happily send you one.


[1] Heather Kelly, Rachel Lerman, The Pandemic Is Making People Reconsider City Living, Trading Traffic For Chickens, The Washington Post, June 1, 2020,

[2] Heather Kelly, Rachel Lerman, The Pandemic Is Making People Reconsider City Living, Trading Traffic For Chickens, The Washington Post, June 1, 2020,

[3] Ben Kazinik, 11 Surprising Statistics about Referrals And Why You Need a Referral Program, Share Some Friends, Accessed July 17, 2020,

Written by Gabrielle C. King

I’ve spent my 30-year career making complex and unfamiliar ideas easy to understand. Today I routinely write 2,500 words or less to help entrepreneurs like real estate agents, RIAs, insurance agents, and others better understand marketing and feel a renewed confidence in their ability to close more deals and retain more business.