4 Important keys to a Probate Letter

Scott Costello All, Blog, Probate Investing 13 Comments

doublecloseBefore I get started explaining how I am going to construct the letter (if i wasn’t using the one in Ron Mead’s course) I want to touch on a specific situation you’ll come across when looking through the probate files.  When one of the surviving heirs is a wife, husband or someone who has the same address as the deceased.  Here is a situation that I have run into…

Spouse dies and the Personal Representative lives at the same address and also shares a common last name and is the opposite sex.  In this case we can make the assumption that it is a surviving spouse.  What does this mean to us?  Well you’ll have to make a decision on if you want to mail to these people.  It will be very emotional for them and you may not want to appear to be insensitive.   This is your purgative.  Me? I’m going to pass on these situations.

Probate Letter Keys

This is very important because we are about to enter into a very emotional situation and we must step lightly.  Appearing insensitive is a sure way to not get a call back, or a nasty one.  After constructing the heading of the letter with your name, address and phone number, you want to address the letter to the personal representative.   Now for the important stuff..

Probate Letter Outline

Paragraph #1

  • Offer your condolences
  • Acknowledge their sensitive situation
  • Softly bring up why you are mailing them by referring that often times real estate needs to be sold for various reasons during probate.

Paragraph #2

  • Tell them what you do
  • Mention the property you are interested in. * you may take a general approach just in case the person has multiple properties
  • Remind them that you are here if they need your service (house buying).  Be kind

Paragraph #3

  • Let them know you are on their side and are looking out for their best interest
  • Give them a few reasons why selling to you now will be beneficial to them
  • Remind them that it’s possible to sell real estate while still in probate

Paragraph #4

  • One last time, let the PR know that if they decide to sell you will make the process easy
  • They will be saving money by avoiding attorney fees and other commissions
  • Close out the letter by listing a contact number

Points to Remember

  • Be polite and respectful
  • Acknowledge their loss
  • Be understanding of their situation
  • Remember you are offering to help them out of a tough situation
  • Don’t overdue the sympathy as that will sound false and be transparent

Ron Mead’s Tips

Tip #1: Create a Word (or other document software) template, so you can just fill in the personal rep’s name and address, the name of the deceased and the address of the desired property.   If you are a little bit savvy with your document software you can create a mail merge and do it automatically.

Tip #2: Mail the letters out immediately after you create them.   The longer you wait, the more time someone else has to beat you to the lead.

Tip #3: Use nice stationary for the letters.  Go to the office supply store and buy a nice thick, quality paper.

Tip #4: You can hand address the envelopes if you want, but there are hand written fonts that you can purchase that look real.

Tip #5 Only mail one letter to each lead.  Mailing multiple times may come across as harassment and work against you.   Ron does recommend sending a follow up postcard about 10 days after mailing the letter.   My Note: like most of you, I’ve always heard to mail multiple times (once a month, until they sell the place or tell you to stop).  This is personal preference and maybe experiment with both methods and see what works best for you.

Tip #6: If you have the PR’s phone number, follow up with a call 2 weeks later after sending the post card

Conclusion

It’s important to setup a system to stay consistent.  Here is my plan of attack for my situation…

  1. Day 1: Get Lead list
  2. Day 2: Check leads for Real Estate Owned
  3. Day 3: Prepare my probate letters
  4. Day 4: Send out the letters
  5. Day 14: Send out Post Cards

Some of you may be able to combine the above steps, but that will work for me and my work schedule.  If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to try and answer them.   If you want to contact me directly shoot me an email at scostell@yahoo.com

If for some reason you are having trouble creating your letter from the above outline, a good idea would be to purchase Ron Mead’s course here.


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Comments 13

  1. I'm with you Scott. When I was searching the probate records I never would send letters when it appeared there was a surviving spouse. I always passed on those deals.

    Good luck. I like the plan that you got in motion. Work it baby!

  2. I'm with you Scott. When I was searching the probate records I never would send letters when it appeared there was a surviving spouse. I always passed on those deals.

    Good luck. I like the plan that you got in motion. Work it baby!

  3. Hi Scott –

    I just came across this post. I have been working with probates regularly for about 2 years now and I do my mailings a little bit differently. I mail probates for about 15 -16 months.

    I don't want to come across as a “pushy” person so I also have several (different) low key letters. But I can tell you from experience, many of the people that contact me have been getting my letters for a year before they get around to selling the house. Probably about 50 % of the houses I have bought through my probate letters have been at that one year point. I firmly believe that I have gotten the houses because everyone else has given up on them.

    After about 6 months, I start checking to see which properties have sold and I begin taking those people out of the database but I continue to send to the others. At any given time, I have about 15-16 months of probate lists that are being sent out every 4-6 weeks. Every now and then I have someone that calls me to let me know the house has been sold but I have only had 2-3 complaints with this procedure out of thousands of letters. You might want to give it a try.

  4. Does Ron Mead’s letter follow your Probate Letter Outline above? Is Ron’s letter working for you? I’m thinking of investing in the course.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Mike,

      Yes, Ron’s letter follows my post exactly and was actually the inspiration for my post. It’s a good letter that is received well by the leads (for the most part, some will get pissed off because you simply contacted them).

  5. Scott,

    I am seriously considering purchasing Ron’s course. To this date have you used it solely to mail to probates and how many deals have you gotten from it? If you’re willing to share of course.

    1. Post
      Author

      Jeremy,

      I’ve used Ron’s letter almost exclusively for my probate mailings. It brings in about a 6% response rate. I’ve only tested one other letter, but I didn’t stick with it long enough to get a good sample. I used this letter about 3 years ago, but at that time our probate list provider stopped their service so we stopped our probates and did out-of-state owners.

      We started back up with probate this year (we pull our own leads from the courthouse now). This year, we’ve only closed one deal. Not sure what the reason is, but I don’t think it’s the letter or what Ron teaches in his course. We only ever closed one year a deal when we did Out-of-State owners so I think it’s more a problem on how we are handling the calls after we get them.

      Remember I only do this part time, and have limited budget for mailings. About 600 or so mailings a month. Your results may differ depending on your area and quantity of your mailings.

      If you have any more specific questions feel free to ask.

  6. I thought it was interesting that a probate letter could be provided in order to prove the validity of a will. Though, as you said, this letter could appear at a very emotional and stressful time for the personal representative of the deceased person. The will could then be passed to that heir, depending on proof of relationship. Apparently, many wills go unacknowledged because an heir is not found. What happens then? Does the lawyer keep the property or does the property just end up not being claimed?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Lillian,

      That is a great question. While I haven’t looked into this, my guess is that the estate (and property) would go to the state/city and be auctioned off at some point. It all probably depends on the local laws though.

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