When Do You Stop Contacting Probate Leads?

14 Replies

When you're mailing probate leads, obviously it's vital to contact them over-and-over, and not just once.

But at what point do you just move on and assume that the PR/Executor simply has no plans on selling the property?

I've heard some investors say that they just keep mailing to the lead until they discover that the property has been sold.  

I completely understand that logic, but seems like you could be spending a lot of money sending subsequent mailings to someone years down the line that has no intent on selling the property and just never took the time to contact you to tell you.

So again, at what point do you just move on from a particular lead, or do you just keep mailing and/or calling until you find that the subject property is sold?

I send mail to them until they either respond or I find out the property has been sold. I have some people on my list that are on their 15th mailing. The property hasn't been sold and they haven't responded. Before I send each mailing, I check public records to see if the property has been sold. If it has, I take that person off my list. Sometimes it takes years to go through probate and you need to be in front of them when they finally get the authorization from the court to sell.

Unless you are willing to scrub your list by monitoring either the case file or property records, you're stuck with mailing.

How long? Maybe 12 - 18 months. 

If you can imagine a timeline whereby PR decides to sell property for a variety of reasons, the early sellers will be picked off by many different buyers competitions for the low hanging fruit deals. Some estate reps start off cocky and optimistic that things are "under control" then discover that there are other problems, like foreclosure, defaulted property taxes, tenants, etc. that were not initially apparent. 

If you want to get the juiciest deals, IMHO, you'll need to track for an extended period of time. Also, cross reference your list with other distress lists. Lastly, 'inherited' properties, those that have been distributed to heirs after probate completed, ought to be a separate list and treated with a different message.

I have my VA scrub the list every 4-5 months, and keep mailing the ones that haven't sold.

I've got to tell you, as a recent executor, I get so much mail, that anything from anyone I don't know gets chucked into the "circular file".

To me, it seems like all the offers come from people who think I'm hot for a new Escalade, or I wanna get high.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.  

I've been checking my list for sold properties each month, and it looks like it's smart to do so, and that I should plan on mailing these people until either the property's sold, or 'till they call me and say they don't wanna sell.

Originally posted by @Matthew B. :

I send mail to them until they either respond or I find out the property has been sold. I have some people on my list that are on their 15th mailing. The property hasn't been sold and they haven't responded. Before I send each mailing, I check public records to see if the property has been sold. If it has, I take that person off my list. Sometimes it takes years to go through probate and you need to be in front of them when they finally get the authorization from the court to sell.

Reading this made me think about another related question...

Do you send the same postcard or letter over and over, or do you "switch-it-up?"

It seems as if sending the same mailed envelope, with the same return address over-and-over is a quick way to get your mail thrown in the trash, whereas switching-it-up with perhaps a postcard/letter alternating situation might increase your chances of getting your mailings read... 

Thoughts?

I have 6 different versions of the letter I send and I alternate it every time. So only every 6th letter is the same. I also change up the font on the envelope every time so it looks like something different. I've never sent postcards to probate leads. I've only done a professional typed letter on company letterhead.

Have you tried calling them? 

We're here for a deal right? Make a rule that you'll call them if they haven't responded in three or four mailings. You'll be a head of all those others. 

@Alvin Grier My input is in sync with the others - continue mailing till they contact you or the property has sold. Admittedly, I'll take off the leads that have hit the MLS and put them in a separate list. Also, I'll send different letters each time, but recycle similarly to @Matthew B. Interesting point. I personally haven't made any attempts to call. And, most of my probate deals have come from the 4th or 5th mail piece. I have leads from over a year ago that I continue to mail - I might have to make a phone call...

Have you had a positive reception to phone calls?

@Griffin Fehrs I don't work probates so I'm not in sync with their needs.  

I do make outbound calls on overbids and preprobate leads if I can see enough challenges an heir may have. 

I've also been emailing. Anything to get them on the phone. 

Originally posted by @Matthew B. :

I also change up the font on the envelope every time so it looks like something different. 

We do that as well.  I tend to over-analyze sometimes, however my concern is that even if you change the font, they probably start to recognize the return address eventually, as well, so changing the font might not get much accomplished in that regard.

@Alvin Grier I will only mail once to covert these people. You don't have to keep asking someone the same question over and over hoping for a different reaction. Keep it at around once or even twice, and if you don't get a response then move on. Don't forget to pass on your website to them to keep them updated. 

Originally posted by @Alvin Grier :
Originally posted by @Matthew Buttner:

I also change up the font on the envelope every time so it looks like something different. 

We do that as well.  I tend to over-analyze sometimes, however my concern is that even if you change the font, they probably start to recognize the return address eventually, as well, so changing the font might not get much accomplished in that regard.

 I don't put any return address on mine. Just a mailing address and a stamp.

Originally posted by @Antonio Coleman :

@Alvin Grier I will only mail once to covert these people. You don't have to keep asking someone the same question over and over hoping for a different reaction. Keep it at around once or even twice, and if you don't get a response then move on. Don't forget to pass on your website to them to keep them updated. 

 You should consider mailing more than once. I almost never hear back from people until at least the 3rd mailing. Most people will keep throwing the letters away until they're ready to sell, and then they'll call the number on the first letter they get. You want that letter to be yours.

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