Now is the time to learn how to work these leads
Most investors are continually looking for ways to grow their business, but many real estate investors are missing out on a great source to find motivated sellers: probate leads. As a refresher, probate leads are potential seller clients who inherit properties. Typically, they want to sell quickly after traversing the legal process of transferring the assets of a deceased person to heirs. Heirs also often live out-of-state or cannot maintain the property, so they often hope to sell fast.
Why Aren’t More People Working Probate Leads?
There are many misconceptions about probate properties that have kept investors from these leads. People often worry that probate properties cannot be sold, but this is typically not the case. Some know how difficult it can be to get probate leads from the courthouse and have decided that they are not worth the effort. Others worry about how to communicate with the personal representative or executor who has most likely recently lost a loved one. We don’t believe this should hold anyone back. Executors often need someone who can help them sell the inherited property, and investors can help them with this problem.
Since there are now easier ways to get leads, I believe probate should be part of any investors’ lead stream.
Getting Started in Probates
It’s easy to start a probate investing program these days. Below are some simple steps to get started:
1. Buy probate leads from a trusted source. Make sure the seller is up front about the type of data they are able to provide and choose a company that has been in the business for at least 10 years.
2. Develop a mailer or work with a company who can develop the mailer for you. Your mailer should be simple and straightforward. Some investors like to offer condolences and acknowledge the death of the property owner, while others are not comfortable with this. It is up to you. Send a mailer that is true to you and your brand.
3. Send a letter and/or postcard to each executor or personal representative for which you have contact information every other month for up to 18 months. Some probate properties will be listed fast, while others won’t. You want to make sure that your mailer is the one the property owner has in front of him/her when the decision is made to sell the property.
4. Include a phone number that is always monitored on your mailer, and when you get a callback, make sure you are able to talk. The new property owner is finally ready to do something with the property and is reaching out for help. Make sure someone can talk to the property owner when s/he is ready to talk.
5. Offer to help in any way that you can. Remember, someone who is acting as an executor has a lot to do to settle the estate and is probably feeling overwhelmed in addition to mourning their loved one. If there is anything you can reasonably do to help, it is great to offer and build a relationship with the executor.
6. Be honest and up front about your role and your offer. Once an executor calls you back, there is a good chance that s/he is simply ready to be done with the property and is willing to take a lower offer in exchange for selling the property as easy and fast as possible. We recommend that you are up front about your role as an investor while highlighting the mutual benefits of your offer on the property.
7. Keep working your leads. Some leads will not amount to anything, but when you do find a property owner who is ready to sell, it will be worth the time, money, and effort of building your probate program. Moreover, since probate leads are only going to continue to grow as our population ages, now is a great time to get started and learn the ins and outs of this business.
These are but a few approaches to your probate lead strategy but they should get you started on the right foot. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions — you have a world of opportunity ahead!