Finding the right leads is critical to landing profitable deals in today’s real estate markets. Access to off-market opportunities and the understanding of how to purchase them can help you get properties under contract at lower prices and avoid the bidding wars that cause homes to sell for more than they’re worth.
One of the best ways to step outside of on-market listings and find deals that need to sell is by pursuing probate leads. By offering convenience to the families of the recently deceased and taking unwanted properties off their hands, you can set yourself up for significant profits whether you want to find wholesale deals, rental properties, or fix and flips.
What are probate leads and how can you use them to earn a sizeable assignment fee? Find out in this guide.
What is probate real estate
Probate is the process of formally transferring ownership of a deceased person’s property to the heirs. While most inheritances are distributed via the deceased’s instructions in a will, if someone dies without having an updated will, all of the possessions that aren’t included in the document have to go through probate court to be distributed.
Probate court often causes distress for families, because the process can be complicated and may involve intense disagreements about who inherits the deceased’s possessions. Other times, families may not want to inherit a property, because it comes with added tax, utility, and even debt responsibilities.
They can’t list it with a real estate agent, because the court has to decide who receives it first, and that process can be long and drawn out. As a result, many families become motivated sellers: people who are willing to sell a house for far less than it’s worth to avoid or fix a financial problem. In this case, they want to avoid probate court. As a real estate investor, this gives you a great opportunity to offer families convenience in exchange for a low price on the house.
Why probate real estate leads are valuable to investors
Probate leads make great real estate investments for several reasons:
- Properties involved in probate cases are not on the market, so there’s less competition to buy them
- They tend to be older properties that can be renovated to raise their value
- Sellers are often motivated to sell properties they inherit, especially if they already own homes of their own
- There are often multiple heirs, and dividing cash is easier than dividing real estate
- The probate process can be painful, and many family members prefer convenience in the face of a court process
Not all properties held in probate sell for below-market value, but a large enough slice of them do, making this very fertile ground for lead generation. However, if you’re going to buy probate leads, approach heirs with kindness and empathy. Make sure to offer them a fair price for the probate listing in exchange for a fast closing and an alternative to suffering through probate court.
The best ways to find probate leads
Probate leads make great real estate opportunities, so landing deals on them can be a competitive process. The best thing to do is identify all the ways you can uncover probate leads and then use each one to find and work on as many deals as possible. Here are the most efficient methods:
Find the local probate list
Every locality has its own rules for publishing lists of probate properties. Some require a newspaper listing or an online entry in a public records database. Others have lists that the city or county manages and a few even require investors to search through extensive public records databases.
Inquire at probate court
Properties that go through probate must be processed through the civil court system, and court records are generally public. You can visit or call your local courthouse to get a list of upcoming probate cases in your county.
Search online public records
Online public records aren’t always reliable, but they can be a good way to add leads to your list. There are several ways to search probate real estate online through sites that aggregate local listings. This is especially useful if you operate nationally or work in multiple cities.
Build relationships with local attorneys
Estate planning and probate attorneys can be the best source of real estate probate leads you will find if you can cultivate relationships with them. This also helps screen out dead-end leads like those who intend to occupy inherited properties.
Use real estate lead generation software
Real estate lead generation platforms like BatchLeads aggregate real estate data from public records and other data repositories, meaning you can gather reliable information on probates in one place. The benefit of using a real estate app is that you can see much more than a property’s probate status. You can also access detailed property information that will help you determine if a property is worth investing in. Then you can skip trace the property to unlock contact information for surviving relatives so that you can start making offers.
The probate process can be one of the most stressful times in a family’s life. Not only have they recently lost a loved one, but now they have to sit through court while a judge assigns their late relative’s assets to family members. Many families are torn apart by the probate process, which can lead to fighting over money and other possessions.
However, you can help families avoid this unnecessary drama. As a real estate professional, probate listings give you a chance to help these families while securing a great profit for yourself. By offering families convenience