For those of you who market to probate deals, do you have a better response and success rate mailing letters to the Beneficiaries/Heirs as well as the Personal Rep/Executor? Or do you find it just as good to send a letter just to the PR (Personal Rep).
I am trying to figure out if it is worthwhile for me to send a letter to the heirs as well.
Thanks in advance for the help!
I think the largest net cast would be be most effective; however, if you are looking for efficiency I would go with executors/administrators over heirs. The executors have a fiduciary duty to the estate and may have an obligation to report any purchase offers. The executors/administrators are the conduit to getting the offer submitted and considered by the heirs and court.
They could be akin in the lending arena to submitting a purchase offer to the servicer who in turn submits it to the investor.
Send just to executors - based on my experience!!
Thanks for the help guys!
It looks like I am just going to mail a letter to the executor and only the heirs if there is 1 or 2 since sometimes there are over 5 or 6 heirs which then becomes pricey sending letters out to all of them.
Do either of you have luck sending letters to the attorneys representing these cases?
Hi, i just finished being the executor for my fathers estate.... It would have been a circus if my sisters were getting offers for his condo.... in my opinion, it is always better to talk to the person who makes the decisions... Thanks
How do you go about finding the executor? Any ideas?
Thanks Douglas for the personal experience, it makes sense to have just the PR involved.
Jackie, I get the probate cases file from each district's probate court. In each case file, you will find out where the estate lived and who is the executor along with a lot of other information.
There is a probate group on here that has a bunch of information about probate real estate if that helps.
Thanks Nerissa! We do a lot of foreclosure property but have not looked into probate. I appreciate the info.
100% executor. They're the decision maker. If there are co-executors, I mail to them both. Good luck!
I have great luck with probates. I mail to the executor or personal rep.
Call your local probate court and ask them how they are published. In my area, they are in the newspaper at the same time each month. In other areas, they are online. Regardless, they have to be published so that the creditors know that the person is deceased. I have a lot of info on probates on my blog.
Often times a PR or executor has their own agenda and does things for their own purposes. Don't give me their legal obligations, they are laymen and act as laymen. Often times the probate attorney has a crony they like to feed deals to. In the real world games go on.
Because of that, if there is no response, or a response I don't like, I mail to all of the heirs, which makes things more interesting. One probate attorney called and threatened me if I continued, I responded I would be happy to join you at the State Bar with your complaint and we can discuss it with them what day would be good for you?
An update on my probate letters: I mailed out letters just to the PRs.
My last mailer was 43 letters total and out of those, I got 3 calls. Two of whom want to sell and another call was to inform me that the house was already sold (since they called just to tell me it was already sold, I think they would have called me if it wasnt sold, or at least I think that might have been the case).
With 3 calls out of 43 letters, that is almost a 7% response rate. Maybe I'll try to mail to the heirs to see if I get a better response but to be honest, I'd rather just email a new group of PRs.
I haven't closed on any houses yet but at least I got some responses which is where it all starts :)
Would you mind sharing the letter you used to get that response rate?
Sure Chris, here it is. I try to keep it as short and to the point as possible. I altered my version from a couple others that I have seen so feel free to alter it to whatever you like.
Dear Ms./Mr. ________,
First and most importantly, may I offer my condolences on the passing of your loved one,________. I am sincerely sorry for your loss.
The reason I am contacting you is I understand the house located at ___________ may be available to purchase. I am looking for a house in this area and would be interested in making an offer if it is going to be sold. Of course, I’m sure at this time the property may not be a priority for the family, but if in the future the heirs decide to sell, please call me and give me the chance to make an offer.
I will purchase the property in it’s “As-Is” condition and pay all cash. This will save the estate time of fixing up and/or cleaning up the house and the extra attorney and realtor fees. I hope you understand you do not have to wait until this probate is completed to sell the property.
If you wish to discuss this further, I can be reached at __________. I’m sure I can give you a fair offer and get cash in your hands right away and faster than if you listed it in this current housing market crisis
In any event, I wish the best for your family in their time of loss.
I can add it to the list of probate letters I have been gathering.
Good luck on your future deals!
No problem Chris. Good luck as well on those probate deals!
Chris/Nerissa - I was wondering if you'd be willing to share your sample probate letters on the BiggerPockets FilePlace? All you need to do is upload the Word doc and others can then find and download it as needed. Its a great way to help other investors out. I hope to see some examples from you guys! Thanks
Originally posted by Nerissa Vento:
An update on my probate letters: I mailed out letters just to the PRs.
My last mailer was 43 letters total and out of those, I got 3 calls.
Don't forget to follow up! Take the three names of the folks who called off your list, and send postcards to the rest. I send out letters every week and do this, building a spreadsheet out of the no replies. My list gets 1 letter, then 3 follow up postcards (one every three weeks or so). It more than doubles my response rate, and the postcards are cheap.
Josh asked for your letter in the BP docs, I'll go ahead and put in my template for the probate postcard.
FYI - I am a Private Money lender and talked to a lawyer about financing property or purchasing property in probate. He said "Hard money? You guys are scum! I will never work with a hard money lender!"
I laughed so hard after I hung up! I have been called scum by a lawyer - Now THAT is funny!
Others were more receptive, but you always want to deal with the decision maker, which is the PR. The lawyer, if they take their job seriously, is obligated to pass correspondence on to the client. Anybody send out letters to lawyers addressed to the PR with the case number and "confidential" stamped on the outside of the letter?
Josh, I just uploaded the Probate letter in FilePlace, it's great that you encourage people to help each other out!
Jerry, I was wondering if I should follow up but with you getting double the response, I definitely should. Thanks for letting us know that and showing us the postcard you use.
Greg, I have heard mixed reviews on whether you should mail a letter to the lawyer representing the probate case. Can anyone else relate to whether mailing lawyers is a helpful tool for probate?
I am researching probate marketing as another way to get properties; thus far we have been purchasing strictly REOs.
I am in Wayne County, Michigan. There is a public access system - http://public.wcpc.us/pa/. I assume the process is to start with death notices and then bump the names against this database? From there it tells you "case parties" which includes decedent, petitioner, personal representative, and interested parties. I assume personal representative is who I want to contact, and it looks easy enough to send a letter to this person by finding their address on whitepages.com.
This might be a stupid question - how do I know if there is actually real estate in the estate? Do I have to go to the courthouse and pull the file to find this out? It doesn't appear to be listed online.
Or do I just have to decide if it makes more sense to send the marketing letter to anyone who I can match up, guessing there might be real estate in the estate?
Hey @Kevin Suksi
You may have figured this out already, about 3 years later, haha.
The way I see it is if I see there is actually 'estate on the estate' is to look for the terms 'Real property amount' and 'Unimproved real property amount.' (I believe these are the correct terms) If there are $0's in both then there is no real estate and it is probraly a will for cars,money, etc. The people in a probate office may be able to clarify this info.
I wouldn't waste your time mailing a letter to the attorney handling the probate, as they already have their connections in place.
This is great information and thank you for the information. Does anyone have a sample letter that you send to Attorney's, CPA's, and/or financial managers? I am putting together a package to send to some parties. Thank you in advance for your help
Sharon Virgin, Realtor
I am curious if anyone has tracked response rate when sending to all the heirs? I watched a webinar recently (not on bigger pockets) that recommended to do just that, but I noticed the previous comments here disagreed. Thank you.
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