Today we’re going to talk about an area of the investing process that we actually have never covered before: the wonderful world of probate. I personally have never done a deal that was in probate before, but I brought on a guest today that will help clear things up on everything I don’t know.
Sharon Vornholt has been a real estate investor in the Louisville, Kentucky area since 1998, so just about two decades now. I’ve been following Sharon’s blogs on Bigger Pockets for many years now and had the pleasure of meeting her in person this past February at Podfest in Orlando, Florida. Sharon is not only a full-time investor herself, but she is also a coach and the host of the “Let’s Talk Real Estate Investing” podcast.
Sharon decided to choose probate as a niche because they were filled with off-market deals, and her competition wasn’t as proficient in doing direct mail marketing. Probate is a unique real estate situation where someone has inherited a property, and most of the time they don’t want it. The decision by those who now own the house is whether it can be sold retail on the MLS or it needs work and would be sold to an investor. Most people don’t have the patience to go through the process, and that’s where Sharon comes in.
A lot of these properties need a lot of work, and most of these heirs don’t have the money to fix up mom or dad’s house from the 1950’s or 1960’s. Even with the market upturn since the Recession in 2008, there are still plenty of probate properties in the market. The trick to creating those deals is to continue to communicate with the heirs as until it sells. These heirs will also be motivated to sell before they are responsible for the taxes on their inheritance.
There are also a lot of emotional hurdles to probate properties since they exist after the death of a loved one. Many of these children or descendants don’t want to have to deal with selling off or removing the old furniture or belongings in the property. You can come in and remove it and create that ease of mind which is a valuable service for a grieving family.
Marketing for probate requires a specific strategy as well. It’s not a good idea to cold call grieving children or spouses. It’s a much better idea to send a postcard or a computer-written letter, so they can read it in their own time and they don’t feel bombarded. There are plenty of leads for probate properties coming in every day, so scarcity isn’t really an issue.
Sharon has many different programs to help you get your feet wet in the probate market and has an upcoming probate course where she helps you succeed and specializes in accountability. You can find her programs and courses at LouisvilleGalsRealEstateBlog.com, and you can get a FREE sample probate letter by opting-in on her website.
Make sure you listen to Sharon’s podcast, the “Let’s Talk Real Estate Investing”. You can also find her on Twitter as @shareaholic.
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