Probate & Obituary Marketing

15 Replies

Marketing to probate and obituaries can be a wonderful opportunity to investors but for me the key to success is to avoid dealing with the issues of death and to stick to the issues of dealing with the property.

I start my marketing with obituaries followed with probate filings and find it just another effective way to acquire property.

Short of courthouse research you can go to your local library and go to the reference department and research using what is called a Polk City directory that will list if the deceased party owns real estate.

I use a simple letter that has produced great response as follows:

This is the letter that I use.


I am looking at purchasing several properties at and around ________________________(property address) and would like to talk to you about the purchase of ________________________(property address) if you would be interested in selling.

Thank you for your time and you can reach me at ( )______ - ______________.

John Michael

Did you know that;

*Having a will guarantees that your estate will go through probate?
*Your exact probate cost is unknown but the average cost of probate is 4% to 10% of the gross estate?
*The average length of probate throughout the country is 13 months?
*90% of all estates of singe-widowed adults age 60 and over go through probate?
*Failure to utilize each spouse's federal estate tax equivalent exemption can cost an estate up to $235,000 in unnecessary taxes?

*****END OF LETTER*****

Keep in mind that that normally you will have to have cash on hand to make this type of purchase but you will find some properties can be obtained through creative strategies.

Using creative strategies does work if only you ask. The worst that can happen is you will get a "NO"! So you get 100, 200 or even 300 no's before you get a "YES" to your creative strategy such as a "NO MONEY DOWN", "LEASE OPTION PURCHASE", "SUBJECT 2", "OWNER FINANCE", or any other creative form of investing!

It only takes one "YES" to profit!

"You're never a loser until you quit trying." By Mike Ditka, Football Player, Coach

Great suggestion. I'm printing it out right now!

Agreed. Thanks for the info and the letter!

Who do you send the letter to? You can't send it to the deceased, so do you send it to "family of _________(deceased person)"?

Then WHERE do you send the letter to? The address of the property?

I am in a sort of similar situation, I found a property that looks like a fire got part of it, looked it up and it's under "estate of ____________". I don't know how to find the family. They probably want to get rid of it.

How do I find the family?


I recently heard a podcast from someone who was really good at marketing to obits.
I think it may have been one of the ones here
Anyway, she just kept trying different copy until she got one that worked really well. I remember it empathized with the decendants & their situation.

There is just something morbid about using obits to find properties. I don't know why but it just sounds so morbid and weird but that's just me.

I haven't marketed to this yet so I don't know exactly where to find the addresses of the decendants, though I'd be interested.

I recently was at a seminar and the speaker said he has much better success in the 4th month or so after the person dies, as it takes about that long for the people to grieve and then be interested in selling.

N/A N/A, when you look to obtain the decedents property, you look to contact to the Personal Representative (better known as a PR). You can look up who the PR is for each decedent/case/file in your local county. It comes with a mailing address to the PR from the time the documents were processed and can be subject to change.

What do you say when you get a call from the personal rep? Do you ask if probate has been completed?

It's at this point where I am confused on how to proceed. There may be multiple persons who need to sign over the deed and this may not even be sorted out yet.

Do you get the PR to sign a letter of intent to purchase and sort it all out later?

Generally its one PR and by the time they contact you they already have the power to sell any assets belonging to the estate. What do you say? I got a call from a PR that I sent a letter about 3 months ago. She said I received your letter about 3 months ago. Are you still interested in buying the property? My response was "of course"! I just wholesale estate properties because they are owned free and clear and there is not a lot of competition.

How do you verify they have the power to sell? Or do you just leave that for the title company?

The PR or the Executor, once approved, is the only person that needs to sign over the deed. Based on the will, an initial court filing will propose this person as the PR or executor subject to a future court hearing. In California utilizing the IAEA, the PR or Executor (with Full Authority) applies for the Letters of Testamentary, which gives them the authority to sell the property. This authority is usually granted within 3-6 months of the initial Probate court filing. In the case that the PR or Executor has Limited Authority rather than Full Authority, the sale will need to get court confirmation and will be subject to the overbidding process which usually drives the price up. Here is a brief overview of the process in CA but the laws can vary per state so verify in your state.

Jerry you should learn your county administrative offices including surrogate/probate and county cleark (deeds & mortgages). Once you do this you can easily stop down and run a quick search to see if 1) the estate has been probated or probate has at least been initiated and 2) contact info for PR.

Generally only the PR has the right to convey the property. However, I did see once instance where the deed had to be signed by heirs who were minors when the estate was first probated. The title co. therefore wanted to make sure the PR and adults heirs consented to the sale by signing the deed.

I've seen other instances where the PR is halted by a judge because the heirs don't agree with the pending sale.

In the end, the title co. and courts will have the final say. But generally speaking, the PR is the one you will ultimately have to deal with.

Thanks Michael, Mark and Ibrahim, that helps a lot. I have been delaying going after probates as I felt I was missing a piece of the puzzle.

Going after them will fill in all of the pieces. You'll never know everything about this or any other niche. Each new deals seems to add knowledge to your tool box. Good luck.

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