When Does a Lead Become My Lead?

Real Estate Agent with The Romanski Group/ Keller Williams Realty

When Does a Lead Become My Lead?

It seems like a question with a very simple answer, doesn't it? A lead, being the interest of a buyer or seller to work with a specific real estate agent or to buy a specific home that a real estate agent has listed, is the source of competition for real estate agents. A real estate agent's business will either grow or shrink based on their ability to attract, convert (cause the lead to commit to working with them), and to successfully fulfill the client's needs and desires. But, in order to to attract the lead, an agent must find a variety of sources for leads.

Sources for Leads

Before the internet became a huge tool in the every day life of the average consumer, real estate agents relied a lot on print advertising; newspapers, signs, billboards, flyers, etc. But with the internet becoming a rather powerful tool, the way leads are obtained have significantly changed. Initially, the MLS was a tool that allowed real estate agents to put their listings in a system for all other agents to use to find the home for their buyer. This was good news!

And then came sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow. These sites offered to buyers what the MLS offered to real estate agents. The real estate agent loved putting their listings on sites like these because buyers loved using them. Buyers loved having a central source of information that they could control and view at their pleasure without ever having to visit each home and so used them to find their homes. Real estate agents then were forced into a cycle of posting their listings on these sites to put their seller's homes in front of as many potential buyers as possible. 

When Does a Lead Become My Lead?

Recently, the trend for the sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow, has been to charge additional fees to real estate agents to put their seller's properties in a more convenient location. This allows the site to garner revenue to continue operating at a larger level, while agents get the benefit of standing outside the crowd. And then there is the "sales" program. This is where the question of "When does a lead become my lead?" comes in. Now, agents can pay into these sites and become one of the limited agents that are advertised as being an agent in this area. Listings are advertised from every agent, but only a select few (who pay to be in this position) are then advertised as the real estate agent to call. 

The question needs to then be answered, "When does a lead become my lead?" According to these sites, the lead that is generated as a result of a listing an agent may have, does not belong to that agent until the lead has contacted the agent and committed to working with you. Are they wrong? What do you think? Should real estate agents stop paying into these programs?




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