I'm a newbie wholesaler in Fairfax, Virginia. I've been trying to pull probate leads using Fairfax County's archaic and seemingly intentionally byzantine public access system (CPAN). It's free at the court house or $150 a quarter online.
I've watched lots of YouTube videos on how to do this elsewhere. I've read articles until my eyes crossed. I've asked at various REIA meetings and no one seems to know how to get this done.
One Realtor opined that the Clerk's office made it nearly impossible because they were hiding malfeasance and poor record keeping. All I know for sure is that one of the wealthiest counties in the United States decades behind the average.
So, all that said, is there anyone out there who has cracked this particular nut? I'm determined to beat this!
Yes, there are a handful of people who work this niche.
Many are intimidated by what they believe is a complicated legal process. Most don't even get past the initial step of gathering court data, let alone marketing to those persons involved.
The initial pain-in-the-butt challenge is list building. The availability of reliable online data is pretty non-existent, despite what some may tell you. I had a guy from upstate New York try to sell me data who turned out to have some kind of substance abuse and anger issues. Glad I trusted my gut and distanced myself before associating with him.
I currently have local service for my area that I'm happy with as this beats pulling data from court files manually as I did in the early days or paying someone else to research case files.
Then the learning come in. There is a lot to know about title, documents, legal process and the nature of heirs. If you are up to the challenge, it is very lucrative but not for amateurs who are compelled to work through agents and brokers rather than directly with estate sellers.
An alternative is to work post-probate properties which were inherited and distributed to heirs and beneficiaries. These lists are easier to come by and the info more affordable.
Now, get busy!
@Scott Nolan I have no clue about this subject area but I wanted to welcome you to BP.
As a side note, I did have a similar experience in trying to get a code violation list from Fairfax County. After a few days of them researching how and if they could provide the list, they required I put in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. They were not able to provide me the list in electronic form only a paper copy (a few hundred pages) and it cost me $150 (you can look up the owners on county website). It was helpful in identifying some off-market vacant (blighted) properties.
Good luck in your investing.
Thats an interesting idea, Cheryl. To whom did you direct the FOIA request?
Hi Scott and Cheryl,
I know this is an older post but I’m new to real estate investing and trying to start networking with people in the area, I’m hoping you are both still investing in the northern Virginia/Fairfax County area. If you are I would love to buy you lunch or coffee sometime and start building relationships!