5 Compelling Reasons to Invest in Real Estate Probates

by | BiggerPockets.com

Probates can be a great way to score good deals through motivated sellers — and potentially help others out of hard situations. I’ve compiled a few reasons why I believe more investors should try their hand at probates.

Let me know what you think in the comments section!

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5 Reasons You Should Be Investing in Probates

1. This Group is Motivated

When we talk about trying to find a deal to flip, rent or wholesale, it all comes down to marketing. It can be difficult to find individuals who are both able and willing to sell at a discount.

However, with probate it’s a different story. The heirs are almost always motivated to sell. Whether they decide they need to list the property with a realtor or sell for cash to an investor usually depends on their circumstances and the condition of the property. Obviously, the less “market ready” the property is and the more it needs repairs, the higher the likelihood you will be able to pick it up at a discount.

But just because the sellers decide to list doesn’t mean you can’t pick the property up at a discount eventually. Many times people have unrealistic expectations, and the listings will expire. This is what I call having the seller’s expectations set. Previously, they were not motivated and wanted a retail sale, but after a long, drawn out sale process with no sale, coupled with unrealistic expectations, sometimes this group can become motivated to sell at a discount as well.www.ChrisFeltus.com

Sometimes just being the “neutral party” amongst a group of heirs that are not getting along can be the reason you get the deal. I’ve had that happen before; the Executor was not on good speaking terms with many of the siblings, and he was expected to do all the work. However, when it came time to sell, guess what — all the siblings who had not done squat all had their hands out.

Related: Working with Probates: Overcoming the Challenges

2. Probates Are Easy to Market to

With probates, it is not time sensitive or anything of that nature. You are working on the seller’s timeline in regard to their motivation. This makes this group the perfect target for slow drip campaigns via direct mail. All you really have to do is grow and maintain a database and set your campaign on autopilot — just be sure you are in it for the long haul and mail regularly.

Just an extra tip for marketing: the very first time I contact the seller, I will use a nice white letter format. Every contact from that point onward will be a simple postcard, just so I remain at the forefront of their mind when it comes time to sell.

3. Probates Can Offer Deep Discounts & Negotiation Leverage

A lot of times if it’s a probate property, I will make my offer a nice even number divisible by the amount of heirs there are. It’s a nice little trick that lets them quickly do the math in their head.

Sometimes when I quote these nice round numbers, I can see them doing some quick mental math in their heads to see what portion of the share belongs to them.

4. Many New Investors Quit This Niche

A lot of sectors of real estate are bombarded with direct mail; however, with probates the investors who consistently mail will win. Many times, new investors begin their marketing campaign, mail the prospect one or two times, and then give up after a few months.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Probates are A Great Niche to Invest In

Now, this might not sound like a good thing initially, but it really is. Even though a lot of people market to probates, the amount of people who stick with it are few and far between, and this makes you much more likely to get the contract. What they are failing to understand is probate is a process.

You have to be sensitive to their timeline. Think about it: they just lost a loved one and now have this vacant property — and who knows what else going on in their life. Sometimes it takes a while.

5. The Lists Are Easy to Outsource

Some of the most common questions I see posted on the BiggerPockets Forums are, “Where should I get my list,” “How should I generate it,” etc. Probate is one of the most widely available lists, and many data providers can give you access to this information. And if you’re old fashioned, you can even go down to your local county courthouse and pick up this information for free.

Probate is one of my favorite niches in real estate, and hopefully after reading this list, you can see a few more reasons as to why it’s so popular.

Have you tried your hand at probates? What would you add to this list?

Leave me a comment below!

About Author

Chris Feltus

Chris is an active real estate investor who buys and flips houses in the Dallas real estate market. He enjoys helping others along on their journey. In addition, Chris operates as a licensed Realtor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


  1. Chris,
    Gr8 article!

    Probates are fantastic. Right now I am paying a VA to comb through our local probate lists each day and sending a mailer to them. Right now the online system does not show the address of the of person’s case who is being probated. Any ideas?
    Also, I’ve got a generic letter that BP has on their resource list. Have you looked at this list? What letter has worked best for you?


    • Hey Spencer, thank you for the kind words. When you refer to “online system” do you mean a third party data provider or your counties local central appraisal district? Further clarify and I may be able to help.

      For me I just use a standard white head letter, if you check my previous blog posts I have an example of it that I shared with everyone.

      • Chris,
        The online site I use is the county website. It contains the judge, attorney, persons will being probated, and the executor or the affiant in some cases.

        It does not show the address or addresses of the houses being probated.

        My strategy was to send a professional white letter to the executor saying I heard about their recent loss and if they don’t know what to do with their real estate then they can call me because I provide solutions for people by buying houses for cash and close quickly.

        Thanks for the advice.

  2. I just signed a contract to buy an inherited property. The seller quoted a very good price…so good…I didn’t consider negotiating a dime! This, along with your article, has me convinced that probate marketing can be an excellent source of leads. Thanks!

  3. Chris
    Just saw your article on Probate. Spot on. You must have drove lots of nails to hit the head like you did. What a coincidence. About a week ago I was informed about a person who inherited 19 or so properties from her uncle. She has had them for about 4 months and is trying to unload them. Her siblings had also inherited a few and they are also trying to sell them.
    This guy had about 27 properties when he died. Some of these properties are very low end, offered for about 8k and others are middle of the road for this area going for 25k to 65K. Trouble is my situation prevents me from doing anything with them at this time. But someone will get a good deal. Your article helped me consolidate the thinking process of probate property selling.

  4. Chris,
    Thanks for your article. I’ve thought of probate for years and it just always seemed so mysterious. Where do I start? Like, run through the obits. I’ve been fixing and flipping for about 10 yrs, am a realtor and have found almost all my properties on the MLS. Love to start some niche marketing. I live in a community that has a ton of retired people.
    Would you be willing to share any the legitimate online sources you’ve found? If you punch in probate list sites, there’s a zillion.
    Thanks, Karen Hewitt

    • Hi Karen,
      Thanks for reading. You can pull the probates yourself from your local appraisal office, or you can outsource from one of the many third party data providers which is what I would recommend. I know usprobateleads dot com provides them nation wide; however, I use a local data provider so I cannot attest to the quality of their lists.

      If you ever go to your sheriff / trustee sales at the court house steps you can usually find out by talking with other investors who a good reputable LOCAL source is for probate leads.

  5. Michael Kiett

    This sounds like a great place for me. It sounds like the strong will survive those who are in realestate for the long run will win this battle. Not a lot of competition and easy access. My largest question is to be successful in this field do you have to have a lot of liquid capital or are people willing to wholesale these deals also

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