First Call from probate mailings! Help!

43 Replies

So I just received a call from a lady who has received one of my probate letters. She left a voicemail and I called her back when I was avaialble. She said she was not the executor but the daughter of the deceased and is living in the subject home. Being as this is my first phone call I did not ask many questions at all and agreed to come look at the home this Friday. I know I should have asked more probing questions I figured I would go to the home and check things out just for practice and experience.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how to proceed once I get to the home? Questions I should ask etc?

I'm looking most likely to wholesale this home. Thanks in advance!

@Marcus Kennedy  You need to know the financial situation with the house. What do they want for? What do they owe on it? What do they think its worth? How soon are they looking to sell? Any liens? Why are they wanting to sell? The best way to get/move property is find their needs and meet them. You want to come off as someone who is trying to solve their problem. Before you go know what the house is worth based off of comps. As you walk through bring either a camera or pen/pad. You want to jot down any negatives you see or that they tell you. This is what you are going to use to "close the deal".  Make sure you accurately estimate the rehab costs. If you need help with that let me know via pm.

@Ryan Dossey  Thanks for the info! I have looked up comps so I do have a pretty good idea what homes in that area are selling for. All of the questions you mentioned are great and I will find all of that out when I visit with her. Do I wait until the next day to contact her to make an offer? I would imagine I wouldn't make an offer on the spot because I have to run numbers once I figure out all the costs of rehab etc.

With this being your first I would not make an offer on the spot. What are average prices in the area for homes? I would get all of your numbers and figures together. If you'd like I can send you an example of how I present my offers. 

@Marcus Kennedy you can wait to run numbers if you want to be very conservative and careful, but I prefer to make an offer on the spot. You don't want another investor to swoop in after you leave with an offer and you miss out. Of course, make your offer to the actual executor and not other relatives.

@Chris Bounds  Has a great point that I forgot to make... You want to stay on top of this. If you contacted them via mail chances are they will get more/may already have. 

@Marcus Kennedy one more point to making offers on the spot. Know the comps and your max offer assuming no repairs well before going. Then you'll only need to deduct estimated repairs and a little extra for unknowns while you're there.

@Chris Bounds  I totally agree with making an offer on the spot but with this being my first deal I'll probably do want to be more conservative and be on the safe side but good advice nonetheless.@Ryan Dossey  Homes in this area sell for around $50-$60,000. I would love to see how you present your offers. Thanks so much for being so helpful!

I would want to know the name and number of the executor. Also, who is getting the property, is it several siblings?? who are they, where are they, do they care about the house or is it just going to be an extra christmas present for them.  Get to know the daughter and find out her motivation. The greater the motivation, the better the price.

@Marcus Kennedy as long as your contract has conditional clauses (repair costs, financing terms) then you should be covered in case your numbers are way off.  In that case you can come back to renegotiate or void the contract (per the contract terms).  Otherwise, if you decide to call them back to make an offer do not let much time lapse.  Maybe tell them specifically that "I will call you in 1 hour" or "at "5pm tonight" so your are giving them an expectation to look forward to.

@Marcus Kennedy  If you will private message me your email I can send it your way tonight. The great thing about that price range is it is much easier to offer someone 65% arv - repairs - your fee. When you get into higher end homes you are asking people to drop tens of thousands vs a few thousand. 

Don't pepper her with too many questions at first.  Be sensitive and ask "What is your situation?" and listen.  Build rapport and ask more questions later. I know many will disagree with this. There will be many letters. The number of letters doesn't matter as much as whom she actually talks with. She will talk with whom she trusts.

@Marcus Kennedy  I'm relatively new to wholesaling but I've had 3 mail campaigns so far and I've taken a lot of calls. Here's what I've learned so far and I highly recommend you do:

1. Get a script. Ask about house condition, sq footage, reason they are selling, asking price, if it's vacant or listed with a realtor. You might even want to ask them the loan balance on the home, if they are behind on the mortgage etc. 

2. Learn how to gauge motivation. If they don't have an urgency or a good reason to sell, they most likely won't take your offers. 

3. Build Rapport. The other day a lady who is selling me her home told me about how someone else approached her but she didn't trust them because the guy was speaking too fast and non-stop. Listen as much as you can, the information can be very valuable. 

hope this helps and good luck. 

Originally posted by @Marcus Kennedy :

So I just received a call from a lady who has received one of my probate letters. She left a voicemail and I called her back when I was avaialble. She said she was not the executor but the daughter of the deceased and is living in the subject home. Being as this is my first phone call I did not ask many questions at all and agreed to come look at the home this Friday. I know I should have asked more probing questions I figured I would go to the home and check things out just for practice and experience.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how to proceed once I get to the home? Questions I should ask etc?

I'm looking most likely to wholesale this home. Thanks in advance!

There's nothing like flying an airplane and then looking for the manual.

At least you know that you the caller is not the person in charge, hence can't sell you the property.

That person will have "standing" with sufficient capacity, powers and authority to transact. 

I don't think that there's anything wrong with your wuestions or actions so far as your next step is to make contact with "person in charge" and ask them your normal questions to determine if there might be a deal. 

My guess is that the caller, daughter of executor who called you, will affect your ability to strike a deal, even if not a beneficiary under the will, as she has possession, hence can play a role in the timing of your anticipated acquisition.

@Joseph Ball  @Daniel Moctezuma  @Rick Pozos  My goal on this first one is to practice gaining trust and building rapport and not to mention analyzing a deal. Obviously if I can get it under contract at a good price that would be awesome too. I will inquire about the executor and ultimately I know I have to go through her in order to close this thing. I follow you closely on biggerpockets so having a seasoned vet like yourself throw in a comment is encouraging. Thanks!

@Marcus Kennedy  Congrats on getting that call!  I'm sure you had butterflies and that's normal , I've probably taken 200 calls now and still get that anticipatory knot in my stomach every time . .

Everything above is spot-on.  My one piece of advice, doubling back on Rick Harmon's comments,  is that you need to talk to the person with the authority to sell about price.  Gleaning all you can about the property and motivation level from the daughter is great, but she has no legal power to make a deal.  I would use that as a bargaining tool when the price issue comes up.  You can simply say, Great, this is wonderful thanks so much for filling me in on the situation here...  I'm ready to make an offer and I need to present it to the person with legal authority to sell the house. Are you able to connect me to that person? Now? Great - what's their number/can you call them and get them on the phone for me (and then you get the number from them).  Not now? Later?  OK - I can be reached at xxx-xxxx until (whatever time) every night and you can text me here too.  

Then you will know if you really have someone who is motivated to sell. 

@Christina R.  You've just given me the exact script that I'm going to use! Hahaha. Thanks for that and I will report back here tomorrow evening just to let everyone know what ended up happening. Like I said this may not even be a motivated seller but I did want to get my feet wet with looking at houses and possibly making an offer so we will see!

Good luck - you can do it!

Just got back from meeting with the seller! I got the full story from her and everything went as well as I could have hoped it would I guess. The house is in really good shape but very outdated which is good I guess as far as price will be concerned. Old carpet, old floors, old cabinets, very old appliances, bathrooms are old and the bedrooms are packed sky high with junk! I let her know that I would be getting her a price tomorrow I would offer her. She was hoping I could her one today but was fine with tomorrow. Her son who was not there is the one who really wants to know.

Whatever direction this goes I'm happy with my first meeting. I got some valuable information and did well sitting and listening to her talk about her mother who died and everything else under the sun she wanted to talk about.

I asked her how much she was wanting to get for the home and she started talking about the number the lawyer gave her when this whole process started(Tax Valuation) and that is way off! She was a nice little old lady but I hope she doesn't have a heart attack when I giver her my offer! She is back and forth between Mississippi and she is getting tired of all of the costs of both homes so it's possible we have a semi-motivated seller.

If anyone has any experience estimating rehab costs your help would be greatly appreciated! The house is about 1600 sq ft and has 3bd 2ba. All of the flooring needs replacing, kitchen needs to be gutted, and so do the bathrooms. It will need to be painted as well. 

Well I did it! I called her today and let her know what I could offer her for her home! Man was I nervous! She actually didn't object but she also didn't accept. Problem is she is not the one who has legal authority to sell the home but the person that does have legal authority  has not involved she has not been able to get in touch with him. I suspect she will have a big part in convincing him to sell the home which is why I presented the offer to her as well. I told her I would give her a few days to think over the offer and I would call her back and see if she wants to move forward with the process.

Thanks everyone for your help and I will update!

good luck keep us updated

@ryan d. I am also interested in how you present your offers. 

@marcus Kennedy any update on this deal? 

@Erin Elam  No deal ended up coming out of this one but it was good practice. I thought everything went well and I asked her what she wanted for the property and she said she didnt have a number. I went home and looked at what I thought I could offer her and called her the next day with sort of a low offer. She said she would think about it but she has been avoiding my calls ever since. Maybe I offended her haha but my feelings werent hurt. I wish she would have countered but I got nothing. Il get my first deal soon hopefully.

Congrats Marcus! They say a journey of a thousand miles start with the first step. Celebrate my friend for you are well on your way! Keep learning and asking questions, trying the things that make sense, and tweaking your original process as you continue to  learn and grow. In a shorter amount of time than you think, your calculated actions will give birth to a working routine and your working routine will give birth to confidence in both yourself and the process. And finally that confidence will deliver to you the success your persistent actions deserve. God bless!

@Reginald S.  Very inspiring words and I do understand that it takes a lot of NO's before I get a Yes but Im in this for the long run! Thanks for the inspiration and I will let everyone know of my future endeavors.

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