Generating divorce leads can be a great way to get seller leads, even in a low inventory market. Because divorces will always happen.
So it’s no wonder many real estate professionals (realtors and investors alike) tap into this niche to benefit from it.
However, generating leads and working in this niche is not as straightforward as in other non-conflictive real estate niches.
There are different ways you can fall flat on your face because of stumbling blocks and pitfalls.
That’s why this article will dive a bit deeper into lead generation strategies for real estate divorce leads you may want to consider without falling flat on your face.
It will cover…
- Why getting into the divorce niche may be a smart move
- What happens to the house of married couples when the divorce hits
- Why going after divorce leads and listings is not for everyone (stumbling blocks and pitfalls)
- How to be prepared as a real estate professional before going after real estate divorce leads
- And what lead generation methods do you want to consider to generate divorce real estate leads
Why Getting into the Divorce Niche May Be a Smart Move
I already covered in-depth why it is often a smart move to establish yourself as a real estate professional in a particular niche in this my article “Real Estate Niches, and How to Get a Profitable One“.
So the general reasons why it can be a smart move to get into the divorce niche are the same that generally apply to niching down:
- Lesser competition
- Higher chances of clients/ partners being loyal to your business
- Easier to become an expert or specialist in your niche
- Better chances to focus your business efforts
No upsides without downsides, so you may need to consider also the following:
- The target audience or quantity of prospects may not be large enough.
- You may get overly dependent on particular key partners (in the case of divorce leads, these may be divorce attorneys).
- Becoming too exposed to market changes (e.g., simplification of the divorce process without divorce lawyers, fewer and fewer marriages, thus fewer divorces).
- Quick entering of competitors once you have more visible success, provided there are not many barriers to entry.
However, divorce leads are not just another type of real estate lead you can start to focus on generating (such as just baby boomers, generation Z, FSBOs, etc.).
By going after divorce leads, you decide to get into a special and complex kind of real estate niche.
It’s a niche that requires a certain degree of extra dedication and education.
Having higher barriers to entry can actually be a good thing. Yes, sure, at first, it can suck when it is your turn to overcome those barriers of entry.
But once you do that, you are often in a position where even more difficult market situations can be ridden out easier.
Where am I going with this?
Although it’s starting to shift again, there is still a sellers’ market or, as some would call it, “an inventory crisis” in the U.S.
Now, who do you think will have better chances of getting access to seller leads even in a low or lower inventory situation?
The real estate professional specializes in a specific type of seller (e.g., divorces) that requires overcoming some barriers of entry with fewer competing fellow agents, or the one that goes after a bunch of different types of seller leads (FSBOs, expireds, etc.) with fewer barriers of entry?
Exactly, it’s the first one.
So, what is all this talk about barriers of entry for divorce leads all about?
Let’s get the basics first, so you will see the whole picture of all the ramifications that come with going after divorce leads.
What Happens to The House of Married Couples When the Divorce Hits
Since I am not a lawyer and not your lawyer, I extended my research to different law firms regarding this question.
There is the concept of separate and marital property.
Separate property is usually what one of the parties owned or acquired before the marriage. (source)
More relevant for divorce leads or the divorce real estate niche is a house that is marital property, which means the house is purchased during the marriage.
What happens to the house being marital property when a couple gets divorced?
It often depends on the state, but the property will generally be divided equitably between the parties. (source)
One key point to remember for when we later get into the divorce lead generation part is that “The court has in rem jurisdiction over the property at issue. “(source)
By the way (I had to look that one up), “in rem” means “against a thing”.
But Going After Divorce Leads and Listings Is Not for Everyone (Stumbling Blocks and Pitfalls)
You may already have a premonition that going after divorce leads and listings is not for everyone.
Because if you go fairly uneducated after them, you may have some good chances to fall flat on your face.
That’s because of several stumbling blocks and pitfalls that may be hidden (more than the usual ones you encounter in real estate on a day-by-day basis).
Firstly there are some key differences between divorce listings and traditional listings.
When dealing with traditional listings, and in the case of a couple, you usually deal with people that can stand to be in one room together.
This is not the case with a divorce listing (at least when you partner up with divorce attorneys, more about that later).
You will have more communication overhead and do many things double because you never see the ex-couple together.
There may also be restraining orders in play, or even one is incarcerated.
If the real estate agent isn’t really doing the best to be and stay neutral as a third party, you may get kicked out, showings may get sabotaged, and [fill in the blank “Wars of the Roses”].
So as you can see, you will have to deal with more surprises than usual and more work under pressure.
You will also have to consider that the court often has jurisdiction over the property.
This means a judge can appoint someone to sign paperwork regarding the sale of the property, and you may also need to be ready to testify in court.
This means you need to understand the court’s role in your local area regarding divorces and property before getting into this niche and going after divorce leads.
Additionally, you may also want to have the following stats about divorces in the U.S. in the back of your head before proceeding:
- Leading causes for divorces are marital infidelity, financial disagreements, weight gain, lack of intimacy, lack of equality, lack of preparation, poor communication, addiction, abuse, and difference in religion. (source)
- The time to complete a divorce is, on average, one year. (source)
- The divorce rate in the U.S. is generally falling (source 1, source 2), maybe because fewer people get married in the first place?
- In 69% of the cases, women initiate a divorce, and even 90% do when they have a college education. (source)
- The states with the highest divorce rates are Arkansas (highest of all), Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico, and Kentucky. (source)
- The divorce rate is rising for 50+ people. (source)
- Attorneys charge on average $11,300 for a divorce. (source)
- About 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. (source)
- The average cost of an uncontested divorce is $4,100. (source)
- On average, the length of a marriage in the U.S. is 7.8 years. (source)
- Most divorces are filed between January and March. (source)
- If the divorcing couple is older than 50, they lose about 50% of their wealth. (source)
- Important for the divorce lead generation strategy later: about 95% of divorces are uncontested divorces where the parties reach an agreement with or without the help of an attorney, mediators, or collaborative counsel outside of a court. (source)
Additionally, you also want to be aware of the types of divorces there are. For the divorce leads you want to go after, only two types are relevant: contested and uncontested divorces.
The first is the most conflictive, where a court, judge, and lawyer are most actively involved. (The ones you know from the movies).
The second one is the lower hanging fruit and has a lower degree of conflict or is non-conflictive at all.
All the additional types of divorces you can read up in this Wikipedia entry.
Being Prepared as a Real Estate Professional Before Going After Real Estate Divorce Leads
From the prior section, we can derive what you will need regarding your preparation as a real estate professional before getting into the often conflictive divorce real estate niche.
So from the above, we now know that a divorce can have various degrees of conflict between the parties or none.
However, you want to be prepared since you don’t know what situation you will encounter.
This means as a real estate professional, you will need to be a clear communicator, act as a mediator and be as impartial as possible.
Additional character traits like empathy, patience, diplomacy, and tact are also essential. That’s the psychological part.
Then there is the legal part and the different dynamics that can unfold, which you need to at least have some knowledge about.
Therefore it is recommended that you may also get some additional education and certificates in the divorce field.
While a certificate is not necessary to generate divorce real estate leads in general, you will definitely get an edge over real estate professionals not having a certificate and thus increase conversion rates.
And the latter means being more persuasive regarding potential business partners (e.g., divorce attorneys) and/or divorce prospects.
This will enable you to market yourself differently with a stronger USP (unique selling proposition).
I researched various divorce certification programs for real estate professionals, which you can find in the following list below:
- Divorce This House
- Ilumni Institute
- The CDS Training
- Real Estate Divorce Specialist (for the sake of completion, a bit dusty)
The video below explains the Ilumni Institute a bit further but also contains some advice for real estate pros wanting to get into divorce listings and leads.
Finding Lead Generation Methods to Generate Divorce Real Estate Leads
Imagine for a second a scene of one of the western movies where a cowboy had to flee into the Great Basin Desert.
The sun is hitting him and his horse pretty hard and mercilessly. (You get a dry mouth just by watching him moving slowly in the desert.)
Then after a while, he loses his horse because it has already gone for two days without water.
With a tear in his eyes, he must take it out with one last bullet, relieving it from suffering.
Now he needs to continue by foot. But he is not alone.
Actually, they haven’t been alone for the whole two days, and Vultures have been circling in the sky above them all along.
When it comes to targeting divorce leads, you don’t want to be perceived as these circling vultures in the sky waiting for the right moment to get their meal of the day in.
But divorce is a delicate and often highly emotional and irrational situation, and being perceived that way can happen more quickly than you think.
To reduce the risk of being perceived in a predatory way for your lead generation approach, I would therefore focus on divorce leads that go through an uncontested divorce.
Ex-couples of an uncontested divorce is usually also the candidates that can do something called a DIY divorce via a website like this one.
Another element you want to consider regarding the divorce real estate niche is that you often sell your services to seller prospects and even more to other divorce-related professionals, such as divorce attorneys, mediators, or collaborative counsels.
So the lead generation strategy should not only be a business-to-consumer but also a business-to-business endeavor.
You can find advice on targeting divorce attorneys to get divorce leads on different websites and/or YouTube channels.
At first glance, that sounds like a good idea because one good divorce attorney will have many ongoing clients/divorce cases per month.
And if you can get a large share of them as referral leads, it looks like an enticing situation.
But are referral divorce leads from attorneys really the low-hanging fruit?
The thing is that many of the divorce cases attorneys take will be contested divorces and thus be much more conflictive.
And conflictive means often a bumpy road toward a real estate transaction with courts, judges, etc. involved.
However, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
As a quint-essence, we can conclude that going the B2B marketing route in terms of lead generation methods for divorce leads is generally a good approach.
This means targeting professions involved directly or indirectly in divorce cases is good.
But I think the better approach is to target those professionals directly or indirectly involved in non-contested divorce cases.
Why not just generate divorce leads via data mining providers that can get you the contact information of couples in divorce?
You can also do that, but I suggest you check how these providers collect their contact information.
Chances are pretty high that you will get contact information from potential divorce leads in a contested divorce since they often scrape public data.
And public data includes court cases. And court cases are mostly contested divorces.
For example, this divorce contact data provider mentions that for “divorce leads,” you get the case number, attorney information, and the defendant’s name.
What about public records? Don’t all uncontested or contested divorces end up there?
That’s right, but once they end up there, you may enter pretty late in the lead generation game.
To generate divorce leads, the right timing is essential.
So it’s better to be in the game right from the beginning or even better on the couple’s mind before the couple decides to file for an uncontested divorce.
This doesn’t mean when at a barbecue party of newlyweds, hand out your business cards that state “Real Estate Agent Certified in Divorces,” which would be slightly going over the top.
Nevertheless, it points in the right direction strategy-wise.
By the way…being on potential clients’ minds not only applies to potential divorce clients, but it’s also an ideal situation for other types of real estate seller or buyer leads.
So, what is the best way, lead generation-wise, to find and get real estate divorce leads early in the game?
Let’s summarize the basic conditions a bit first from the facts above so we know how to approach the lead generation strategy:
- It’s mostly women that initiate the divorce
- Marriages, on average, have a length of 7.8 years
- Uncontested divorces are easier to handle and have fewer surprises
- Most divorces are filed between January and March
What is the ideal lead generation goal?
Generating divorce leads having just agreed to file for an uncontested divorce (at the beginning of the divorce, not the end) with or without the help of an attorney, but likely with the help of a divorce mediator or collaborative counsel.
Who can we target?
It’s firstly targeting divorce mediators and collaborative counsels (the B2B approach).
Because you will have higher chances of getting leads from uncontested divorces.
Secondly, it would directly target married couples about to initiate the divorce (forget the newlywed housewarming party) with a divorce mediator or collaborative counsel.
What lead generation methods would be ideal for targeting the couples directly?
Depending on what lead generation method you choose, you will have to deal with one main factor that can significantly worsen or strongly improve the conversion rates and lead quality of the divorce leads (bad quality being contested, divorce leads already with public records in that case).
What is this factor? It’s the right timing.
Getting the timing right already excludes several lead generation methods in terms of viability.
Well…you can certainly use all lead generation methods available.
But depending on the one you use, the percentage of married couples receiving your message (e.g., direct mail) at the right time is likely pretty low.
This is especially true for paid and unpaid outbound lead generation methods, such as:
- Cold calling
- Circle prospecting
- Direct mailing
- PPC ads (social, search, and display)
You will be better positioned regarding the ideal timing when the divorce leads come to you instead.
Because at least the ones going the uncontested divorce route usually know best when it’s time to contact a real estate professional regarding their home.
This leaves us then with unpaid and paid inbound lead generation methods and your database (provided you have already built one).
I will discuss how to use and target partners separately.
When using paid and unpaid inbound lead generation methods, it usually means generating high-quality content and brand awareness (remember, the part where you are on their mind when needing a real estate pro after deciding on a divorce?).
So you may need to create a content marketing strategy with educational content around happy marriages and divorces.
By the way, you may also want to read up on my articles “254 Real Estate Content Ideas & Samples [How-To Included]“, and “Real Estate Content Marketing – Is It Low Cost?“
Generally, the idea is to create high-quality evergreen content (articles) on your real estate website that you repurpose via several social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) in different formats.
And again, it’s a long game that won’t bring you divorce leads in a few days if you start today.
This could also include webinars to educate consumers on divorce real estate and the things to consider.
In the webinars, videos, articles, etc., you could also include collaborations and interviews with professionals related to divorces, such as certified divorce lending professionals, divorce attorneys, mediators, etc.
The indirect method via partners and your database is the shorter game, where you can expect to generate divorce leads a bit faster.
Nevertheless, these partners will also highly benefit from you being an educator/content creator in divorce since you will be perceived as more professional and trustworthy.
So it will not hurt doing the inbound lead generation method anyways.
If you have time (I know that’s a hard ask sometimes), you can do this yourself, only investing your time. In turn, if you have some marketing dollars to spend, you can also have content created for you.
The latter can be a tricky one, especially in this specialized niche. Why?
The content writers you will find online will hardly have the expertise you will have once you have a divorce certificate.
Now, back to the shorter-term B2B approach meaning referrals to generate divorce leads.
In that case, you target professions such as divorce mediators and collaborative counsels (I left out the divorce attorneys for the reasons I already discussed).
You borrow the inbound marketing power and reputation they may already have regarding the divorce market, allowing you to approach them via paid and unpaid outbound lead generation methods.
So yes, you can target them via cold calls, direct mail, PPC ads, and personal drop-bys, for example, because they will know in which phase the divorcing couples are currently in, timing-wise.
But in general, you may want to consider the rules for referral marketing, which I discussed in my article “How to Crush It with Real Estate Referrals for More Profits“.
To get those partners to refer divorce clients to you, you will need to provide enough value that they don’t lose but rather gain social credit with their clients.
So additionally, it’s again no bad idea to do inbound lead generation methods and give them more reasons to refer divorce clients to you.
This means you may want your certification already in hand and some divorce content to show before starting the B2B outbound approach.
This would be the ideal position to be in, to come across as more persuasive.
The divorce certification may also be sufficient depending on your competition and the need for partners.
Some additional content ideas for the B2B inbound approach could be…
- Adding these professionals to LinkedIn, and Facebook, segment them, and post-divorce content only visible to them.
- Hosting an event (lunch) combined with a divorce education
- Using the creation of a webinar for consumers together with divorce professionals to introduce yourself to these same professionals
Finally, your already existing database can also be low-hanging fruit, from where you could get divorce leads more in the short-run.
However, provided you have nurtured it with (sorry to be annoying) helpful content.
So, in the end, there is somehow no way around the inbound lead generation method via content in this type of niche.
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