Communicating with the Executor: Tips for Working Your Probate Leads

By Kristine Gentry, Ph.D.

While many real estate investors say probate leads are one of their best lead sources, there are still many real estate investors who are reluctant to get started in this business. One of the common concerns we hear from potential probate investors is that they are unsure of how to communicate with the executor or personal representative. As a refresher, probate leads are potential seller clients who inherit properties. They are often highly motivated to sell the inherited property for a variety of reasons.

If concern regarding how to communicate with the executor is holding you back, read on for some tips compiled from the experience of expert probate investors.

The first step is to determine your contact strategy.

We recommend mailing a formal letter as your initial point of contact, followed by similar letters or postcards every other month. The letter should be sympathetic. The reader has most likely recently lost a loved one and is in the middle of a very difficult time in his/her life. We recommend acknowledging the loss and the stress of being an executor. The letter should be reflective of you and your style but focused on the recipient. That is, if you are very formal, your letter should reflect that. However, if your style is more casual and laidback, it is alright to reflect that too. You do not want to present something that you are not in your mailings. Your message should reflect that you are here to help during this difficult time. Highlight that you can make the selling of a house easy, fast, and relatively painless.

The second step is to have a conversation with the executor.

Ideally, the executor will initiate the phone call after receiving your mailer. However, if you are not getting return calls, you may want to make phone calls yourself. They key to these calls is to be prepared to listen. You will want to let the executor do most of the talking and only guide the conversation with your questions. Many executors are in a particularly tough time in their life, and they need someone to talk to. If you can listen, you are providing something the executor needs, and you are on your way to developing the rapport that will be necessary to move this potential transaction forward.

The third step is to continue to build that relationship with the executor.

Understand the unique situation of the executor and determine if you are able to offer assistance in any way. Often times the executor does not live near the house. Offering to run by and check on the house, pick up the newspaper, or even mow the yard can be a huge help to the executor.

Once you have built a rapport with the Executor, you are well on your way to determining if this property is of interest to you, and you can proceed as you would with any other opportunity.

Persistence is Key

In the scenario outlined above, you have contacted the executor and have the opportunity to build a relationship. It takes time and persistence to actually be in this position. You will not receive a call from many of your leads. They simply are not interested in your help for a variety of reasons. However, if you continue to work the leads and are continually adding new leads to your pipeline, you will have success.

Having access to leads on a regular basis means that you will be able to find success in probate real estate investing.  With time, patience and a carefully thought out business plan, you can be sure that having these leads will make an enormous difference in your ability to purchase homes and other properties at a favorable price. The key to success in probate is making sure you buy leads from a high-quality and trusted provider. Then, you must reach out to the executors and continue to do so for a minimum of six months. This allows you time to truly work probates and to patiently await those executors who do not want to sell immediately.

Simplify Your Business

Are you looking for a reliable lead source for all of your probate investment needs?  The experts at US Probate Leads offer the highest quality leads available on the market today.  Our certified lead specialists visit nearly every courthouse in the United States, constantly evaluating new probate filings and making those available to our investors.  In addition to our premium lead service, we also offer services that can keep you informed on the newest trends in the market. We can also assist you with your mailers to help you easily reach out to executors. Contact our office today to learn more about our lead service, mailing service, and e-books.

Kristine Gentry, Ph.D.

VP of Innovation

US Probate Leads

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When You Can’t Find Real Estate Leads, Look to Probate!

By Leon McKenzie

The real estate industry is changing. With more and more competition in the marketplace, challenges in getting a loan and cautious homeowners staying put, it can be nearly impossible to find property that you might be interested in purchasing for your real estate portfolio. Is there a solution? Is there a way to combat the real estate lead shortage that has permeated virtually the entire industry and has stalled your efforts at investing?

What new and experienced real estate investors are seeing in the market is a fundamental change that may last for the foreseeable future. Overall, the nation is experiencing a shortage in the amount of properties that are being put on the market, leading to a lack of leads. This is creating increased pricing on homes that are for sale and issues in trying to build and acquire a real estate portfolio.

Why a Shortage in Real Estate?

The shortage in real estate leads that is occurring in most areas of the United States is due to issues in the lending industry that started several years ago and that continue today. With it becoming more and more difficult to qualify for a mortgage, homeowners are holding onto their homes instead of buying and moving because they have no other option. Homeowners that want to expand their homes are simply adding on or remodeling to avoid the issues with lenders and the hassles in moving. This is leading to a painful shortage in the real estate market. The Philadelphia Inquirer agrees, “. . . Some observers believe they are seeing the emerging signs of a housing shortage. . . Predicting how much housing is needed involves a complex calculus that weighs hard statistics (new-home starts, sales of previously owned homes) against a certain amount of demographic tea-leaf reading (household-formation forecasts). Thus, there isn’t complete consensus on what will be enough.”[1]

As mentioned, while the overall interest rate is the lowest it has been in years, there are few people with good enough credit to purchase a home. When someone does decide to sell their home it is usually because they have to move for a job relocation or for another pressing matter, such as medical treatment or because they need to downsize – or they are in the enviable position of having good enough credit that they were able to secure a preapproval on a new loan to purchase a bigger home.

How does this create a shortage? Since lending is tight, fewer people can afford to put their homes on the market. That means that the availability of homes has decreased. To add to the shortfall, the slow economy has led to a construction slowdown, which means that fewer homes are being built to accommodate new communities and homes that are being torn down. Overall, this has led to a painful real estate shortage for much of the nation. The Sacramento Business Journal reported that, “One analysis of the region’s housing market thinks there’s just not enough for sale. Again. A shortage of inventory is driving everything in the residential market from pricing to rental affordability, according to Zillow. One reason for that is a lingering hangover for the building industry from the housing bust of the last decade, said Svenja Gudell, senior director of research with Zillow. Though the economy began to recover three years ago, housing construction is still lagging, she said. In 2012 and 2013, only 159 new home permits were issued for every 1,000 new residents, according to Zillow.”[2]

The overall lack of new homes available and the persistent challenge in getting a loan is creating issues for investors as they try to navigate few options and high prices.

Housing Shortage Equals Inflated Prices

Most economists will tell you that the biggest drivers in the market are supply and demand. As you can imagine, decreased supply in the housing market means that pricing has skyrocketed, something that real estate investors simply cannot afford when they are looking for business opportunities. The Sacramento Business Journal reported that, “For both renters and homeowners, Sacramento is now defined by Zillow as one of the 10 least affordable metro areas in the country. Mortgage payments here take up 26 percent of income, compared to 15.3 percent nationally. Though the percentage is lower than Sacramento’s historic mortgage payment percentage of 29.5 percent, Zillow noted buyers at the moment also tend to have lower median incomes.”[3]

These historically high prices mean that people who are making less money have to spend more of the income that they do have on a home. Realtor Magazine reported on the decreased inventory across the country and the increased prices, saying, “The inventory of existing homes is at its lowest level in seven years, while newly constructed home inventory has hit a 50-year low mark. Falling inventory is causing home prices to shoot up higher and faster than most analysts anticipated. The national median price of transacted homes was up 9.5 percent in August. Other price measures, like Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency price index, which look at price changes in sales of the same properties over time, have been rising as well, at double-digit annualized rates in recent months. Of course, not all markets are this robust. Phoenix is looking to notch a 25 percent gain for the year, while Chicago is just emerging from negative territory.”[4]

Surviving the Shortage as a Real Estate Investor through Probates

If you are interested in continuing to work in real estate, then you know something has to change. Real estate investors have a limited amount of options when facing a market like this. Some investors have simply moved on to other business opportunities, while others have succumbed to the increased prices, which have hurt their business and their balance sheets. But, there is a segment of real estate investors who have found a profitable way to deal with the challenges of the housing shortage by finding a new source of leads.

While many investors are only looking at the traditional segments of the market – single family, residential homes that are for sale by families who want to upgrade that are listed on the traditional MLS-style forums – there are other homes on the market that can be purchased at a significant discount. Properties owned as part of a probate are widely available and can be purchased for well less than comparable homes in the area. In fact, there are an estimated 100,000 probates entering the market each and every month throughout the United States.

Probate properties are those homes, apartments, multi-family homes and commercial sites that were previously owned by an individual who has passed. The local court then appoints an Executor to ensure that these homes and other properties are sold to take care of paying medical bills, funeral fees and other obligations.

Probates Provide Motivated Sellers

Once you start working in probates you will understand why Executors are motivated to sell their properties quickly and for a substantial – 30 percent to 50 percent off – of current market values. Each Executor is responsible to the court to ensure that the assets of the individual who has passed have been liquidated in order to meet financial obligations and provide an inheritance to the individuals left in the family.

Executors not only feel the pressure to sell because of the court, but they want to sell because of their own convenience. While some Executors can be a family attorney or an accountant, many times the Executor is a family member who has responsibilities of their own. They may even live out of state, and making repeated trips to show a home or apartment building can be nothing short of challenging. Executors also understand that, in addition to time constraints, the home their family member owned may not be fully updated. All of these conditions provide the opportunity for homes and other properties to be purchased for a fraction of the current market value.

Finding Probate Leads

Now that you understand the value of having access to probate properties in this challenging economy, you may be wondering how to get access to them. Many individuals who are starting a probate business decide that going to the local courthouse is the best way to look for opportunities in their area. This can take time, as you need to allow for travel to and from the courthouse as well as time evaluating filings to see if there are holdings within the probate appropriate for your business. As you can imagine, this can take away valuable time from your growing investment business, your family and the job you currently hold.

There is a better way. By using a professional probate lead service you can have up-to-date information and leads delivered right to your inbox on a weekly basis. With no more trips to the courthouse, no time wasted looking at complex filings that are hard to understand, you will have more time to go out and evaluate properties and opportunities. Unlike traditional leads in the current real estate market which can be nearly impossible to find and create the environment for high pricing, there are literally thousands of options for probate purchases each and every day.

Build a Vibrant Real Estate Investment Business with Probates

Having access to leads on a regular basis means that you will be able to find success in probate real estate investing. With time, patience and a carefully thought out business plan, you can be sure that having these leads will make an enormous difference in your ability to purchase homes and other properties as well as acquire them at a favorable price.

Probates are not limited to residential real estate, either. What you will find is that you can expand your investments to include apartment buildings, multi-family units, businesses, vacation homes and even purchase and resell personal property, including antiques, artwork and vehicles. The variety and opportunity with probates is endless because there is always a supply of leads available.

The Most Reliable Source

Are you looking for a reliable lead source for all of your probate investment needs? The experts at US Probate Leads offer the highest quality leads available on the market today. Our certified lead specialists visit every courthouse in the United States, constantly evaluating new probate filings and making those available to our investors. In addition to our premium lead service, we also offer services that can keep you informed on the newest trends in the market. Contact our office today to learn more about our lead service, monthly newsletter, e-books, seminars, webinars and even our individualized mentoring program. Contact us today to speak to one of our friendly, knowledgeable customer service representatives.









Key Do’s and Don’ts of Probate Leads: How to Find Motivated Sellers

By Kristine Gentry, VP of Innovation, US Probate Leads

As the real estate market continues to tighten, successful investors are diversifying their lead streams and trying new sources. One of the most underutilized sources of leads are probate leads. Why are they underutilized?

Primarily because people do not understand the opportunities that are available or how to quickly and easily obtain probate leads. In addition, some investors do not know what to do with probate leads once they have them. If you are considering using probate leads to increase your opportunities, or if you already have probate leads, below are some tips for helping you make the most of your leads.

What Are Probate Leads?

Probates leads include information on property that is part of a legal filing after the death of a loved one. These cases include many types of property owned by someone who has passed away including homes, vacation homes, cars, RVs, businesses, commercial property, rental property, artwork, and other personal property. These cases are listed in each county after the death of a loved one where a probate needs to be filed and are controlled by the local court.

Oftentimes, this property has to be sold in order to pay for medical, tax, legal, and funeral expenses. The court will assign an Executor to handle the sale of the property so that these obligations can be met and the heirs can receive any remaining funds.

As part of an overall investment strategy, probate leads are valuable because they come with very motivated sellers. Executors need to deal with the property that is in the probate filing in order to meet the court requirements. Many times, they need cash in order to pay bills that have been left after the passing of their loved one.

Often, they do not live near the inherited property and simply want to sell it as quickly and easily as possible. If they know the property needs updates, they may not want to have to deal with that hassle and would rather sell the property at a discount. In addition, since they inherited the property, anything they make on the property is extra for them so they are less worried about getting maximum value for the property.

Probate properties may be available for thirty to fifty percent off of the market price and are generally available for a quick closing. So, probate leads are a great way to diversity and increase your lead source. But once you have probate leads, what do you do?

Probate leads are not like all other leads and should be treated differently. Do offer to help the executor/heir. Remember they have recently suffered a loss and are grieving. Since probate leads are generated when probates are filed in a local courthouse after a death, it is necessary to be especially warm and considerate when speaking with executors and heirs. They have recently gone through a very tough time and are probably overwhelmed with the loss of their loved one as well as all the legal and financial issues they are faced with as the executor of the estate.

For some executors/heirs, the last thing they have the time or energy to deal with is a recently inherited piece of property. They may not live near the property and may not have the time to take care of basic issues with the house. For instance, suddenly having another yard to maintain can seem daunting.

You can help by offering to mow the lawn, trim shrubs, or water plants. Sometimes the heir or executor simply need someone to talk to. You can be that friendly person they can speak with. Offer condolences and let the executor or heir take the lead in how much they want to talk about their loved one. Simply asking what they need help with can go a long way. Do continue to reach out to the executor/heir. One mailing or phone call will not be enough.

Unlike other leads sources, it is hard to know when will be the right time to reach out to an executor or heir. In some cases, heirs want to sell property as fast as possible. They may be ready to sell quickly so they can move on. In other cases, heirs are reluctant to sell their loved one’s property.

They may hold onto it for months before feeling pressured to do something with the property. We have learned that it is important to regularly reach out to executors and heirs and recommend doing so for at least a year. Sending a mailer or making a phone call every other month is a good timeline. The important thing is for the executor or heir to have your contact information available when they decide they are ready to sell.

Do be honest about how you can help and why it is beneficial to you both. Executors and heirs have a lot going on. They will know that you are interested in making money and not just a stranger who showed up to help out of the blue. It is best to be honest and explain that you make money by purchasing properties below market value, fixing them up, and reselling them. And that it might be helpful for them to sell you their property below market value so that they do not have to deal with the hassle of fixing up a house to sell and then listing it.

Remind them that you can help them get cash quick, but there are no guarantees of how long it would take for the house to sell at full value.

This is a win/win situation for you and the executor or heir, and you should be up front about that. Don’t forget about historical leads. Heirs often don’t sell right away. New users of probate leads often think that the leads have a short time on the market. However, that is not the case. Generally it takes some time for Executors to get all of the paperwork filed and to go through their loved one’s things before they are ready to sell.

There is also the process of grieving, which can cause Executors to hold onto a property for a time before they are willing to sell it. With these parameters in mind, real estate investors who are looking at probate leads will find that Executors who are selling property may not be ready to sell for twelve months after the filing. In many cases, the leads are still viable eighteen months after the passing of a loved one. This allows for plenty of time for real estate investors to make contact with the Executor. Therefore, a successful probate investing practice should include the usage of historical leads. Don’t try to get leads on your own. Purchase them from a reputable source.

Many investors have attempted to gather leads themselves from courthouse records and quickly grew tired of the painstaking and time consuming process of doing so. Now, there is no need to gather these records on your own. Several companies provide probate leads for you. Most specialize in only a handful of counties – often counties where probates are available online. However, some companies have researchers trained to go to courthouses where these records are not available online, which is the case for the vast majority of counties.

U.S. Probate Leads is a family-owned company that has been in the probate business for over 15 years. We have more experience and offer high-quality ads that include skip tracing for executors and addresses.

Don’t waste your time gathering probate leads. Instead, contact us to learn about why our leads are the best on the market. Get Access to Probate Leads Today. Using probate leads is a great way to find more leads in your area as a real estate investor. With long-term viability and Executors that are motivated to sell, you will see that probates are a way to quickly find discounted properties.

If you are looking for diversity in your lead package, then you can get access to probate leads easily and quickly by vising US Probate Leads. We offer county by county listings of the probate leads listed in your area delivered directly to your inbox. Each county in the United States is covered by our trained team of lead specialists. Our team makes sure that you have the leads that you need in order to make your business grow.

Want more information?

You can visit us at today and get more information on our lead services or sign up. In addition to our lead service, we also offer seminars, webinars, eBooks, software and individualized mentoring for dedicated investors. Contact us today for more information and learn how we can help you to meet your real estate goals.

Probate Leads Available Now – In Your Area US Probate Leads has access to virtually any county in the United States, meaning regardless of where you live, you can start receiving leads monthly.

Go to the US Probate leads site:, click on your state and get started. To get a 10% discount, place an order before September 30th. Use discount code “Realty411.” Or you can contact them directly at: (877) 470-9751.

Now is the time to make your mark in this little-known niche – never before have more properties become available than will in the coming years. Becoming a US Probate Leads subscriber could really be the start of a whole new future, a more lucrative career, and an exciting investment opportunity.

- Article By Kristine Gentry, VP of Innovation, US Probate Leads