Business Management

3 Ways to Automatically Generate Leads for Free Using the IFTTT System

14 Articles Written

The MLS is an amazing resource for investors and first-time homebuyers alike.

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However, as the real estate market continues to improve, deals on the MLS become harder and harder to come by. So how does the uber successful real estate investor continue to find amazing properties?

Off-market deals, of course!

(I.e. they find the good stuff before it makes it onto the MLS.)

If you’re a student of BiggerPockets, you’re probably aware of some of the ways that off-market deals can be found:

  • Driving for dollars
  • Cold-calling
  • Networking
  • Direct Mail
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Etc.

Related: Forget the MLS… Here Are 7 Clever Ways to Find Great Real Estate Deals!

Hundreds of blog posts have been written about the above methods, so I’m not going to dive into them at all. Instead, I’m going to offer up another option for the tech-savvy investor.


IFTTT is a web-based service that was created in 2011. To date, the company has received $38.5 million in venture capital through three rounds of funding.

I guess they must be doing something right, eh?

The concept is pretty simple. The program develops relationships between different apps and websites that you use on a daily basis. It does this by creating “If THIS, then THAT” statements, also called “recipes.”

Want your weather app to text you when it’s going to rain so that you remember to pack an umbrella? IFTTT can do that.

Want Nest to turn your lights on when the iPhone clock strikes 6pm? No worries. IFTTT can do that, too.

Essentially, it creates a hypothesis-conclusion relationship. Just like the conditional statements we learned about in high school science and math.

Although the functionality of IFTTT is seemingly limitless, I’ve listed three different ways that one can generate leads for free using the program.

1. Twitter > Text Message


This first recipe creates a relationship between Twitter and the SMS function of your phone. Whenever a realtor or wholesaler in my area sends out a tweet with the hashtag (formerly known as pound sign) #realestate, I wan’t to be notified. This recipe allows me to get a text message any time that happens so that I don’t need to be constantly checking my feed.

Since this is the first recipe we’re making together, I’ll go step by step.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

2. Zillow > Evernote


This second recipe creates a relationship between Zillow and my Evernote notebook. Whenever a new property shows up on the pre-determined search that I’ve created in Zillow, it creates a new note within a notebook on my Evernote account (yes, I just realized that I used the word “note” a lot in that sentence). Personally, I use this to hunt down new foreclosures and pre-foreclosures.

Related: How to Get a 40%+ Response Rate on Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

3. Craiglist > Email


This final recipe is my favorite by far. It creates a relationship between Craiglist and my Email account. Every time someone mentions the word “owner-financing” or “FSBO” within the region that I invest, it sends me an email.

Lots of owner-financed properties are listed on Craigslist, and this is a great way to be the first person to know about them.

Well, that’s it for now. Remember, there is a ton of functionality when it comes to IFTTT, so I’m sure there are plenty more ways you can use it in your real estate business.

If you come up with any new recipes, feel free to post them below in the comments section or over on the forums. Best of luck!

Have you ever used IFTTT? What’s your favorite way to get leads that aren’t on the MLS?

Leave your comments, tips and questions below!

Tyler is a pilot by day and aspiring entrepreneur by night. He started investing in April of 2014 and acquired three properties in the first 8 months. His goal is to become financially independent through real estate in order to free up time for travel and starting businesses.

    Nicole Pettis Flipper/Rehabber from Milwaukee, WI
    Replied over 4 years ago
    This is a great resource! Thank you!
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Replied over 4 years ago
    You’re welcome Nicole, glad it helps.
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Do you get notifications quicker than through a regular Craigslist’s “e-mail alert.”
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I don’t think you get notifications any quicker…However I find that it is more user friendly. It’s also much more customizable because you aren’t limited to just receiving an e-mail. If you want the craigslist search to be sent to Evernote, or your Dropbox app, you can do that as well. Hope this helps. Thanks for the post Gayla!
    Pyrrha Rivers Investor from Yokosuka, Japan
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Never heard of this before! Thank you for contributing to my “Learn something new” for today.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Replied over 4 years ago
    You’re welcome Pyrrha! Thanks for leaving a comment.
    Frankie Woods Investor from Albuquerque, NM
    Replied over 4 years ago
    This is awesome! Thank you!
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Replied over 4 years ago
    No problem Frankie!
    Jason Fraser from Salt Lake City, Utah
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article. The Twitter and Zillow recipes are great. I currently use IFTTT to have FSBO and For a Rents emailed to me. Much better and less time consuming than sifting through CL. Another recipe I’m working with is text to google sheets (spreadsheet) when I drive for dollars. I text myself the property details and it goes right to my spreadsheet in Google docs.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thats an awesome idea Jason. Let me know how that goes, I’d love to implement it.
    Drew MacDermott Investor from Lebanon, NH
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great post! I actually have been using IFTTT to search Craigslist for new apartments – didn’t even think to use this for FSBO! I have also been playing around with the IFTTT DO CAMERA and DO BUTTON apps (Find in Google Play/iOS stores) to automatically save the property location & all pictures to a folder and/or spreadsheet.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I’ve never heard of those functions, but I’ll be sure to look them up. Thanks for the recommendation Drew!
    Adam Middaugh from Mission Viejo, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Awesome post! I’m always on the lookout on how to utilize new technology to streamline processes. Thank you!
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Glad I could help Adam. Thanks for the comment and best of luck.
    Geoff Van Dusen Property Manager from Sioux Falls, South Dakota
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Ditto to all the above, I also had not heard of this before.
    David I. Investor from Grand Prairie , Texas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Can’t say Thank You Enough!!! 🙂
    Cesar Torres Investor from Tucson, Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great post… I have 23 key words set up for creigslist to gmail for fsbo. If its a home owner, its a deal. If its listed by a realtor, its a new investor realtor that i can build a relationship with; networking. Gappy investing!
    Marvin McTaw Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 4 years ago
    I love these ideas and will be implementing into my business. Gotta love automation!
    Darieal Sutton, Sr. Wholesale Investor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Hey Tyler, Loved your article and it reads very useful, problem is I can’t get the Recipes that you mentioned to work… LOL call me stupid, any help you can provide? I’ve searched for the actual recipe(s) and tried to create my own and I’m coming up with zilch.
    RD Delgado from Pasadena, California
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hey Tyler, I came across IFTTT earlier today. And so I was happy to see that you’d already written an article about it here on Bigger Pockets. In addition to the recipes you (and others) have listed below, any new ones that you’ve developed? I’d love to hear! Thanks. RD
    Steve G. Specialist from USA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    The recipes for Craigslist and Google Drive is excellent too!
    Steve G. Specialist from USA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    The recipes for Craigslist and Google Drive is excellent too!
    Account Closed Rental Property Investor from Denver, CO
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Awesome article, just set up my lead generating systems. Thanks alot!
    Trent Honea Investor from Weatherford, Texas
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    This is a great tip, Tyler! I think I read this post in April when you first posted, but came across it again today. The difference today is that I am actively looking for ways to grow my business and need to increase my lead generation. The market I invest in is very hot right now, and I only managed to purchase one SFH rental property this year (in October) despite making offers (my goal was to acquire 5 this year). I actually had two offers out at the same time on houses down the street from one another. I got one, but the other was taken by someone willing to pay $10K over list CASH on a property that needed lots of work! (Like I said, it’s very much a Seller’s market here now.) So seeing these tips again now is a great prod for me to get moving, especially being where I am with my business today. Thanks!
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    ive heard of a way to create a recipe for home sellers but some how you a – or some type of ignor so that you dont get other investors or agents that are selling their properties. if anyone knows about how to do this please let me know…
    Luis Orts Investor from Houston, Texas
    Replied over 2 years ago
    #BOOOOOM – This post was great! I have experience with this in another field, but I came here to look for Real Estate specific ones and gather some ideas while I was here. P.S. Zapier is awesome too 🙂
    Orita Issartel Real Estate Investor / Realtor from Miami, Florida
    Replied about 2 years ago
    How cool!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
    MAI K MOUA from SAINT PAUL, Minnesota
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Awesome! Thank you Tyler!
    Jason Gonzales Investor from Oklahoma City, OK
    Replied over 1 year ago
    For some reason the IFTTT recipe for craigslist alerts are not working at the moment. I’ve received notice that IFTTT is resolving some technical issue. Hope they fix the issue soon!