If you’re looking to pick up a new property, there are several interesting options, including probate leads and inheritance leads, as well as foreclosures. Many people get confused when it comes to probate and inheritance because, on the surface, they are quite similar things. The confusion is compounded by the fact that some agencies call inheritance lists ‘pre-probate lists’.
Understanding Probate and Inheritance
The first thing you need to remember is that death does not always mean probate. In fact, only a small portion of properties that are left behind after a person dies will end up going to court. In the vast majority of cases, there is a living trust that spells out the person’s wishes or some other clear line of succession, which means that there is no need to go to court to figure out what needs to happen with the property.
When there is no will, or if the heirs are not in agreement and contest the will, or if some title issues crop up, the estate will end up going through probate, and that’s when the courts will get involved and oversee the liquidation of the estate. The courts’ goal is to ensure that the property is sold properly, and the remaining heirs will be given what they are legally entitled to after creditors are paid.
Inheritance lists are different from probate lists. Inheritance lists are basically an obituary list. They lay out the next of kin, though, and when someone dies, the information will become a matter of public record. The interesting thing here is that there are different motivations for selling the property of a deceased person, and it helps to understand what the lists are for and who they are aimed at.
Inheritance lists available atwill get you into contact with families far more quickly than probate lists. Still, you are dealing with people going through a difficult time and who may not be in an emotional position to sell the property. This is particularly true if a spouse is living there. Inheritance lists are timely, but you are contacting people speculatively, and there is no guarantee that the people you contact will even want to sell the property. You could end up contacting someone who does not want to sell and how resents being contacted at what is a tough and emotional time for them.
Probate lists are different in that people going through probate usually have a much greater need to sell. There is a strong likelihood that the property needs to be sold so that the money can be split amongst the heirs and creditors, and they will be looking to get the best possible deal. This means that you’re getting stronger leads and being able to find a property to buy.
Which Works Best?
For most people, probate lists are a good option. Obituary or Inheritance lists are a gamble. In some cases, you can get excellent deals out of them, especially if you find someone who has inherited a property but who doesn’t want it, or if you can find a partner living in a property after their spouse has died and looking to sell and downsize now that they are a lone. These things need to be handled sensitively, though, and you can’t guarantee who you will end up talking to. It often makes more sense to skip inheritance and look for probate leads – if you want to make a quick purchase.
The progression from a person’s death to the probate system can sometimes take months or even years, so if you waited for an obituary to turn into a probate case, you might end up waiting for a very long time. Unless you are particularly attached to a specific property, it doesn’t really make sense to spin your wheels waiting for probate to happen when you can look for probate leads instead.
Of course, if you’re someone who is in the property business for the long haul, and you have the time and resources to do both, then there’s no harm in watching both lists and putting out feelers with the inheritance lists in your area. You can build relationships with families and have lots of buying options all at the same time. Inheritance lists can work if you have a big marketing budget. You can send you ‘we buy houses’ information to everyone on the list, and for every ‘distant Aunt who has no knowledge of the property or interest in making a sale,’ there’s always the chance that you will get the ‘child who doesn’t live in the area and has no need of the house, so does want to sell.’ Inheritance lists can work out.
Do Your Due Diligence
If you find a property that you’re interested in, you must do your due diligence and show up to the probate auctions ready to move quickly. You will need to put down a sizeable deposit and then hand over the money for the sale if you’re successful. There’s no point kicking tires or going to probate sales if you don’t have the money. You will be competing against other buyers who have a lot of expertise and a lot of experience, and they likely deal with a huge number of properties at any given time. You need to think like them and be on a mission at the auction. Have a plan. Decide what properties you are interested in and know what you can afford to pay.
If you’re working on the inheritance list technique, you can be a bit more scatter spray with your efforts, and you have more time to negotiate if you want to buy something. So be patient, and be willing to haggle so that you can get the best possible deal. The urgency that comes with probate auctions isn’t there with inheritance lists.