Probate real estate investing is for Beginning, Intermediate, & Experienced investors.
Heirs look at the probate property as found money. Most are motivated and anxious to sell. They want a fast sale with no fix up or money out of their pocket. To get the deal all you need to do is give them a fast cash closing.
Out of state heirs
Competition is low
Continual supply of probate properties
Properties with high equity values & no liens
More than 80% of probate properties are sold and it's usually used to pay for the deceased's debt. When the heirs inherit real estate many times they're not in a position to take responsibility for it or don't want to be long distance landlords. Expenses eat into their inheritance each day as they hold onto the property. There are estate and probate taxes to pay, attorney fees, contents and furnishings to disperse, repairs needed, insurance, and mortgages, it all adds up and quickly becomes one big headache.
Plus the current economy and depreciation has forced many heirs to
sell probate properties rather than holding on to them.
Probate properties aren't made public, they don't have signs and haven't been advertised, nor are they on the MLS. And very few investors know where or how to find these probate real estate investing deals.
County public records is the first place the notice of death and the trustee name will appear. Almost every county has their public records available online.
Local legal newspapers, also available online.
The first duty of the trustee (executor or personal representative) is to give notice in a legal newspaper. It's a notice to the creditors, also called an estate notice and will give the Trustee's name and contact address. But by the time some of theses announcements have been published the property has already been sold.
These 2 methods are time consuming (unless you have a VA) and is not the most efficient way to access probate information but its Free. So what's an investor supposed to do?
Use method #3. Outsource, automate and leverage systems and the power of others. The fastest and easiest way is with software that automatically compiles the list of trustees. Then upload the list to an online direct mail service. Don't forget to automatically follow up with several customized mail pieces.
Send a letter to the Trustee, include a business card, use the
handwritten script for the envelope and (very important) the name on the
send to address must include the word Trustee, ex. Mary Smith Trustee, this will ensure that they will open your letter.
It doesn't matter which color for the envelope you choose just keep it neutral and professional.
Also make it short and sweet, keep it real. Tell them you are there to help and eliminate headaches, that your specialty is probate real estate investing and that you want to buy the property in as-is-condition, empty or full to the ceiling and that you will do it fast so that they can settle the estate.
Build relationships with probate attorneys, send them a letter saying that you're an experienced investor. Also tell them that you just closed another great probate real estate investing deal and that you're looking for more. Don't use the same letter that you sent to the Trustee instead dress it up and make it professional.
Inspect and know the value of the property. Get comps because almost always you'll buy in as is condition.
Fast and without contingencies will win you the
contract. Do not offer creative alternatives in any way instead talk
about a cash closing.
All the heirs want is cash and for the property to be gone. It's essential to already have your funding lined up.
Many probate real estate investing properties are in good condition because up until the time of their death the owner was living in the house. But you'll find that the real money makers in probate real estate investing are the properties that are filled with years of hoarded stuff and neglect. Besides real estate many times there are other things for sale like cars, boats, antiques, collectibles, furniture, art + more.
Some probate real estate is ugly and smelly but usually just needs a trash out, with a little clean and improve before it can be rented or placed back on the market.
Donate the contents of the house, you get a tax write off and the charity will usually box and carry it all away. + You're recycling and keeping it out of our land fills.
When an individual dies and there isn't a will bequeathing their property, then the estate referred to as intestate. When this happens, it becomes mandatory for the court to step in and administer the sale of the property.
Avoid these probate properties because of the drawn out, lengthy court process. To keep your profit margins high and your marketing costs low, apply the 80/20 rule here and skim the cream. Concentrate on the properties that are currently available without jumping through time sucking hoops and court approval.
As you become familiar with probate investing you'll understand the importance of asset protection strategies and recognize the necessity for pass through entities that will let your heirs avoid the probate process and taxation.
Besides making a profit, you'll also find that one of the most gratifying moments in probate real estate investing is when you help the heirs finally find closure.