Dunbar’s Number and Managing Volumes of Real Estate Leads

Published October 9, 2023 by Real Estate Leads

Any realtor who is new to the business and not enjoying the level of success with the new career as they’d like is going to think an inordinately large number of real estate leads is going to be a real blessing. Indeed, leads on new clientele can be invaluable when it comes to making a career in real estate profitable and for some new realtors any number of leads are exactly what they need. But what happens if there’s any factor that is routinely preventing those leads from becoming new clients for the realtor?

That may be attributable to the individual’s professional shortcomings, but it also may have nothing to do with how capable they are as an agent. And yes, it is nearly unheard of that anyone thinking of selling or buying a home only has one realtor get in touch with them. A lot can go into what makes an agent fail to secure a client after being made aware of them, but what we can say is that it is possible to be incapable of managing leads if they get to a certain volume.

The value still isn’t to discounted, and of course of our online real estate lead generation system here at Real Estate Leads has been very helpful for many realtors who need to get more out of their client prospecting efforts. But what we’ll look at here with this entry is something called Dunbar’s Number and it’s an estimation around the maximum number of leads that a realtor can manage.

New Emerging Trends

Let’s start by evaluating the the post-pandemic phenomenon of significantly lower inventory levels being paired with explosive growth in the number of agents in Canada, and how that has contributed to a very prominent trend and one that everyone will be aware of; the market now features more realtors than there are homes for sale.

The landscape now is one where industry productivity is down on a per-agent basis and they are all out there scrambling for a share of the pie that is not any bigger than it ever was. The number of transactions completed for both existing and new homes has not grown at the same rate that Realtor membership has for the past several years. Plus, ever greater numbers of agents and teams are finding they have hit something of a ceiling with their growth and they have expended all legacy lead generation channels.

So it’s here that the challenge becomes growing faster and more consistently than your sphere is able to do organically.

150 Max

The belief is that it becomes very challenging for a realtor to manage much more than 150 relationships, and 150 is ‘Dunbar’s Number’ here. It argues that growing 10-20% in a year and doing so within more than one sphere is doable and advisable, but the number of leads pursued and with time invested in them should be under 150.

Consider as well that home buyers and sellers are spending ever greater amounts of their time in the home buying or selling journey online before they even make first contact with a real estate agent. When any agent is overly reliant on just one sphere and a limited referral network it is more likely they lose ground to competitors earlier in the process.

It makes sense that potential homebuyers will start their searches through popular online real estate market portals like, and so many realtors will start their paid lead generation efforts here.

But the cost per lead on these sites has gone up significantly in recent years, and it’s important for agents to understand that the leads agents are sent are not exclusive. Agents are sent leads that are also sent to other agents and more often than not they will be competing for them. That is never the case with Real Estate Leads, every lead is only provided to one realtor – you.

There is also the further reality that many teams and agents have been burned by oversold online lead generation packages and strategies that don’t pan out for a variety of reasons. It becomes possible that realtors are paying too much money to generate the wrong leads. Remember that you get what you pay for. If you go with the most budget package from the least expensive lead gen company, it’s very likely you’re not getting premium leads.


Sign up for Real Estate leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered only to you. No other realtor receives them, and that creates an exclusive opportunity for you reach out to these individuals and convince them you are the real estate pro they need. Check out these testimonials for Real Estate Leads made by profit-mined realtors like you.