Fundamental Real Estate Marketing: Knocking on Doors


There is nothing unethical, sleazy, wrong, or dangerous about knocking on doors to generate some leads for your real estate investment business.  The truth is, it may be the best way to get good information on exactly the type of property you want to buy.  If you only had 3 days to close a deal, wouldn’t you show up at the doors of the homes you wanted, gauging any interest in selling?  People are generally deterred by one of three factors: it’s too dangerous, it’s a waste of time, or it’s an invasion of privacy.  All are false presumptions.

Here’s what you do: target exactly the kind of home you want to buy, in a neighborhood with a number of comparable options; knock on the door on a weekday evening, and politely explain that your business is interested in purchasing a home in the area, and you are wondering if anyone in the neighborhood is interested in selling.  It’s that simple.

The responses you will get will range from being told not to return, to being given a list of motivated sellers.  Generally speaking (and assuming you are not targeting destitute neighborhoods), you will not have anyone yell in your face, no doors will be slammed, and you certainly don’t have to be concerned about having a gun pulled on you.  But if you are concerned about safety, consider these common sense tips.  If you are a woman, bring a man with you.  If you are a man, bring a woman (people tend to be less threatened that way).  If you are invited into someone’s home, use good judgment and consider your safety; if you have a bad feeling at all, stay outside.  Don’t overdress when knocking on doors, as people tend to put their guard up when suits show up at their door; for house calls, business casual is best.  Be mindful not to intimidate anyone who might answer the door; take a step back after knocking to maintain the homeowner’s sense of personal space.

If you follow these guidelines and remain unfailingly polite, you will be amazed by the response.  People love to talk, and if they do not have their own reasons to sell, then you may still be likely to hear all about this neighbor’s divorce, or that neighbor’s impending foreclosure or debt.  In five minutes of work, you could walk away with 2 or 3 really solid leads that just happen to be right next door.  It is not a waste of time—you can easily cover 5 target neighborhoods in one evening of work (between 5-7pm), and even if that only generates one sale, it has been a good use of time.  Imagine if it generates three!

Don’t be put off by showing up at people’s homes.  If they don’t want to talk to you, they won’t.  No harm done, you can simply move on to your next target home, having spent a total of about one minute on this failed lead.  For those who want to find deals quickly, why not go straight to the source?  Find motivated sellers in target neighborhoods simply by knocking on their doors and talking to them.

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