Real Estate Affiliate Programs – Is Real Estate Affiliate Marketing Still good in 2018?

In 2016, the value of the US housing stock was $29.6 trillion.

In fact, the US real estate market has recovered all of the value that was lost during the housing crisis.

Total home sales in the US from 2011 to 2016

So, clearly, there is a large amount of money in the real estate market.

With over 5.5 million homes sold each year, there is a lot of competition from realtors to broker the sale of these houses.

Is there a booming affiliate marketing industry in real estate profiting from this competition? Is there money to be made from real estate affiliate marketing?

Let’s have a look and find out.

Real Estate Industry

Real Estate Industry

By Numbers

What are People Searching For?

Real Estate keyword search trend

Branded Keywords

Keyword Difficulty Volume (desc)
zillow 43 8,670,000
trulia 22 1,670,000
realtor 69 1,470,000
home 54 648,000
redfin 13 617,000
mls 70 294,000

Although we don’t have any up to date figures, it was said that in 2013, the top 10 real estate websites got almost 50% of the traffic. The search volumes for the keywords above show the sheer volume of that traffic.

Bearing that in mind, one strategy may be to identify these branded websites and figure out if they have affiliate programs of their own.

Real Estate Keywords

Keyword Difficulty Volume (desc)
how to buy a house 40 21,000
apartments for rent nyc 40 18,000
office space for rent 0 7,700
luxury real estate 77 6,600
nyu housing 0 5,300
nyu campus 12 5,100
design your own home 60 45,00
million dollar homes 11 4,300
roommate finder nyc 22 2,100
rent before owning 2 1,600
when to buy a house 28 1,400
how much does it cost to build a home 17 1,300
gay neighborhoods 6 200
multi million dollar homes for sale 18 100

Guidance Keywords

How and when keywords, such as “how to buy a house” and “when to buy a house”, are the easiest format of article to monetize.

You can simply create something along the lines of this complete guide to buying a home and link out throughout the guide to real estate agents, mortgage providers, lawyers and everyone else involved in the home buying process.

However, where you run into trouble is with the level of competition you will face in getting traffic to this page from ether organic or paid search. The competition is extremely high.

This means that you are very unlikely to be successful in the real estate affiliate marketing arena unless you find an interesting angle or target market for your site.

Sub-Niches

There are a number of sub-niches that can be identified from the keyword research. From this, it gives you an idea of what angle to take on the site.

For example, between “nyu housing” and “nyu campus” there are over 10,000 monthly searches. This suggest that there is enough traffic to support a dedicated real estate website that supports either NYU, students in New York or a general student housing websites that is nationwide. While the vast majority of these students may be renting, there is still an opportunity to monetize this traffic through rental affiliate programs.

Keywords such as “million dollar homes” or “multi million dollar homes for sale” suggest that a website could simply focus on high-end homes. Although there may be less traffic for these keywords, if you can find an affiliate program with percentage based commission, you are able to make more money with less traffic.

Keywords such as “gay neighborhoods” suggest that there could be scope in a real estate website that is targeted towards minority groups. Whether this be the LGBT community or various immigrant groups that like choose to create communities or even a site focused on housing that is friendly to disabled people.

B2B Keywords

“Office space for rent” suggests that there may be scope for a website that focuses on commercial property.

This could be as diverse as office space for small business owners up to purchasing hotels or shopping malls.

Who is Doing Real Estate Affiliate Marketing Well?

The Balance

thebalance.com

The Balance is more of a money management website but they do have a major category focusing on purchasing homes.

The Balance Ahrefs overview

It is a monster of a website, with over 60,000 referring domains and around 26 million visitors per month from organic search.

The Balance Ultimate Guide to Buying a Home

The Balance have created an “Ultimate Guide to Buying a Home”.

The Balance Ultimate Guide to Buying a Home Ahrefs overview

This article alone generates 3,500 visitors per month from organic search and has 176 referring domains.

The Balance have been clever in that they have created this page to be like a table of content for the entire section on their site. The entire article is formated in simple bullet points. It links out to the pages where they can convert the customer (such as this “where to get a mortgage” page).

This allows The Balance to make as much money as possible from each customer by converting them on multiple occasions for different services.

However, as cynical as this sounds, The Balance is writing great content.

the Balance author bio

One of the most impressive things about the content is that they have hired qualified real estate brokers to create the content.

Best Real Estate Affiliate Marketing Offers

Advertiser Deal Network
Realtor.com $5 per lead Viglink
Only Apartments Up to 45% per sale Only Apartments
Foreclosure 25% commission Foreclosure

Pros of Real Estate Affiliate Marketing

  • People Need Advice: Buying a home is a complicated process. People, especially first time buyers, need help. This means that people are likely to search for a trusted website.
  • Massive Customer Base: With more than 14% of the country moving house each year there is a massive real estate market.
  • High Commission: Where percentage based affiliate programs exist, it is possible to make significant revenue from individual customers.
  • Too Much Competition: With the largest sites getting around 50% of traffic it will be difficult to get traffic from organic search to your own site.
  • Few Viable Sub-Niches: Although there are a number of sub-niches, a number of them are not viable on their own. Regardless of the type of house, the process is basically the same which makes the large, generic sites so powerful.

Should I Start a Real Estate Affiliate Marketing Website?

No.

Don’t do it.

The competition is far too great. The top websites get almost 50% of the traffic.

It takes a lot of technology or time and effort to keep any kind of listings system updated.

There are not a lot of obvious areas for monetization, beyond the zillow affiliate scheme or perhaps mortgages.

Based on the analysis, I definitely feel there are better niches to spend your time, effort and money.

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the entire article!
    I am just not sure why you don’t want people to get into the niche if there are searches and the commissions are so high.
    I know I can get traffic to any website regardless to how much competitive the niche is,I just need to give it a try and wait at least 12 months or so.

  2. Thanks for your insights. It’s sounds like you are specifically talking about the consumer real estate market. What are your thoughts on the market for real estate tools for agents e.g. CRM’s or SaaS marketing platforms? I’m an agent myself and looking at affiliate marketing products to market to other professionals in the business.

    1. This could certainly work. If you’re familiar with such tools, try reaching out to them yourself. Even if they don’t have a public affiliate program, you may be able to strike a deal with them – it never hurts to ask.

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