People own property. People owe taxes. People are dying. I don’t mean to be morbid, but these are facts of life. Every investor is aware of one of these sources of investment property, and many specialize in one of these sources of investment: foreclosures, REOs, short sales, divorces, fires, damaged foundations, hoarders and more. distressed properties. In today’s market these can be hard to find and too many investors are looking for the same properties. On the other hand, probate and inheritance properties are in constant quantity and often overlooked.

Not all areas make good investments. Some are valuable “as is” and heirs will have no trouble selling at the best price. Some heirs move into these houses as their main residence. But some will be a burden on the heirs instead of a valuable asset. The two biggest problems for heirs are properties that aging parents have neglected for years and properties that owe tax arrears (or both). Another common reason heirs want to sell quickly is to pocket the profit without hassle. Many heirs live outside the state. Or the estate has other debts to settle and the property is the easiest to liquidate. There are many reasons why heirs want to sell quickly. Investors know how to solve all of these problems.

Regardless of other factors, there is always a countdown that puts pressure on the heirs to make decisions. A mortgage may still have to be paid. Property taxes will be due. HOA fees are due. Utilities still need to be paid for and property requires maintenance. If the deceased had a pension paying these expenses, the pension ceased to enter. If the expenses were paid from a 401k savings account or other savings account, the heirs would rather inherit the money than pay it for the expenses. There are many reasons why heirs want to sell real estate quickly.

Sometimes the property you are interested in is just a fraction of a larger estate. The more heirs there are, the less your low bid affects each individual heir. Yes, it may be true that the property is worth $ 50,000 more than what you are offering. BUT if there are five heirs, each heir is only affected by $ 10,000. And, if the five heirs are looking to withdraw around $ 200,000 each from the total estate, the heirs can most likely say, “The devil with $ 10,000… close the estate and give me my $ 200,000!” “ The adage “A dollar waits for a penny” comes to mind. This is to your advantage when ownership is the last thing between the estate closing and the heirs receiving a big check.

There are many ways for investors to generate leads for probate property. The most effective and least important job is to network with estate and estate planning lawyers. When you have a good relationship with the lawyers, they will contact you when you can help them. However, keep in touch regularly so that they remember you and be careful not to ask lawyers to do anything that is unethical or that causes a conflict of interest. You can also occasionally visit your local estates court where you may be able to get a list of all pending probate cases or you may need to dig a little deeper. You can also find county probate records online or listed in the local newspaper.

Either way, be very sensitive to the fact that the heir or heirs have recently experienced the death of a loved one. You don’t want to be known as a hearse hunter. If you contact an heir within the first two weeks of death, a written letter may be the best way to start. There will often be several heirs. It is a good idea to send the letter to everyone so that they all have the same information. If you cannot find the contact details of the heirs or a lawyer, send the letter to the address of the deceased. Chances are, someone will pick up the mail. Wait at least a week to 10 days before trying to establish telephone or personal contact. It may be a good idea to let the first contact wait a month or two. Allow the heirs to go through their initial grief and understand the circumstances involving probate ownership. Heirs might be completely surprised to learn that there is a tax lien on the property.

The probate process varies from state to state. It usually takes 6 to 12 weeks. Some states have processes to ensure the best price is received. These may require a public homologation sale / auction. Typically, estates courts state that the house must be sold “as is”. You will want to make a “no surprises” offer. Once the sale is approved, you should be able to close quickly. Any cash from your own or from private lenders is often the best solution.

Can you offer advice on probate investing? Please leave a comment.

Additionally, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all levels of experience with residential real estate. Please send your questions, inquiries, or story ideas to [email protected]

Author Biography: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for over 35 years and has been writing about real estate investing for 12 years. He also draws on more than 30 years of business experience, including 12 years as a director at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives in Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, close to a national and the Pacific Ocean.



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