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

by | BiggerPockets.com

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

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!

About Author

Tyler Flagg

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.


    • Tyler Flagg

      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!

  1. jason fraser

    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.

  2. Drew MacDermott

    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.

  3. Cesar Torres

    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!

  4. Darieal Sutton, Sr.

    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.

  5. RD Delgado

    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!



  6. Trent Honea

    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.


  7. 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…

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