I'm developing my probate real estate investing strategy and there is one point where controversy is rampant. This is does the letter to the PR contain condolences or just get straight to the point about wanting to buy the property in the estate? Since I don't know the deceased are my condolences insincere and should I just get to my point about buying the property since the heirs are probably more interested in that?
As one who lost a very close family member recently and suddenly received quite a few probate letters from local investors, my advice would be to add a good three to four sentences stating your condolences and somehow tie that in with the solution you're providing the new heirs / owners. No condelences comes off as insensitive and one sentence comes off as insincere. Three to four tells me someone has put in a caring effort.
Also, to increase your chances of success, I would call each of your leads until you speak with someone. You'll definitely stand out from those who simply send letters out hoping someone will contact them. If someone sends out a letter, but does not follow up with a phone call, that says they're uncomfortable with speaking to people about their situation in probate.
Unfortunately, for a quite individuals who will receive investor probate letters and / or calls, you will be viewed simply as a vulture preying on their grief, especially if the property they inherit is not a distressed one. For others, you may be a Godsend, depending on the situation.
Kudos to you. As an investor, I personally don't feel comfortable going after probate properties due to the emotions involved. I'm currently going through a probate process now where I've been named as an eatate administrator and emotionally, it's certainly not easy. However, it can prove fruitful for those investors that can take the heat of being labeled, plus there's decreased competition. I hope this helps.
Rashed & Raden, Thanks for your excellent responses and ideas. Have a Great Day!
I've been contacting PR's via mail and phone call for 6 months now and I believe you need to offer condolences with the first couple of letters if only to not seem callous. But the reality is these letters and phone calls are not reaching grief stricken people. As far as timing goes, probate petitions usually aren't filed right after the burial but more like months later.
Also, not every PR is a grieving loved one. You could be named Administrator for an estate even though you dislike the deceased. You could be a casual friend or a court appointed stranger.
Still, offering condolences is the right thing to do. I just don't think there is any need to over do it. Remember, you will be mailing to these PR's for a year so at some point condolences are no longer needed.
For me, the most important connection is through phone calls. Here you can get very personal and offering your condolences where appropriate is well received.
I don't think you do. Many people who start mailing believe so. They are misinformed.
The only reason people feel compelled to include a condolence is because they feel guilty about not including one, like its a social obligation.
The problem is that new mailers don't know how to enter the conversation that is occurring inside the mind of the PR!
I've been working probated for 25+ years. It's what I do.
I've tested this and come to the conclusion that very, very few people who dealing with an estate are grief stricken and those who are will be unable to make a decision to do business with you. So, you must find a way to address the issues and specific problems that they are currently encountering and become an insider.
But very few of you will believe me, take my advice and implement a different marketing message.
And so, in six months time, (probably a lot less) you will be frustrated at your lack of traction, conversion and Dealflow and will do something else like absentee owners.
And I thank you because you make my job so much easier!
Rick, I appreciate your response but I'm confused about what you said. Do you or do you not include condolences in your 1st letter to the PR and what do you mean by "implement a different marketing message?
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