Probate Monday #7 – Got the Meeting, now what?

Scott Costello All, Blog, Probate Investing 17 Comments

ViewHouseBefore I start week 7, I need to admit that I fell behind and have yet to mail out my letters.  I’m one mouse click away from printing them out, but ran out of time this weekend to pick up the envelopes and stamps.  I’m terrible at working something new into my schedule and over the past week I have not been focused and let a few distractions get in the way.   Honestly?  how hard is it to go to an office supply store and get envelopes and then pick up stamps?  takes 30 minutes.

Ok, now that I have that off my chest I’m going to see if I can, in the future, get stamps and envelopes mailed to me on a regular basis so I won’t have to go and pick them up myself.

The real topic of this post is what to do when you go see the house after a prospective seller calls.  This is not rocket science, but there are a few things you’ll want to do while you are at the house.

What to take with you? This is more important then you would think, because if you are prepared you will be more confident and you will also appear more professional.  Here is the list of items I’m going to be taking with me on my house meetings…

  1. Clip Board: try writing on a piece of paper in mid air haha
  2. Probate Worksheet: use this for reference and to write down any other personal information about the seller
  3. Property Repair Worksheet: I haven’t explained this before, but it’ll be a handy way to quickly mark down problems when walking through the house
  4. Your Business Card: To give to the seller
  5. Experienced Investor or Contractor to help identifying repairs: This is optional, but highly recommended for people just starting out and who don’t feel comfortable estimating repair values or even spotting repairs.

What to do when you get there? We all are going to be nervous our first few times meeting these people.  We are going to feel like frauds, but don’t let that feeling scare you.  I know I won’t because I’m not a fraud, I’m there to help this person out who CALLED ME.   Here is my quick check list of what I’m going to do

  1. Smile
  2. Create a little small talk, but keep it light.  Only purpose is to relax everyone because they are nervous too.
  3. Have them show me around the property.  I take this approach as apposed to walking around myself because I want the seller to talk, i want to learn about them.  You’ll quickly find out if they are “Attached” to the house for any reason.  This is one of the ways to discern motivation.
  4. Making sure to check out every room and take notes on your Property Repair Worksheet.  The worksheet also helps you remember to check all the important items like roof, HVAC, leaks, etc.
  5. When the assessment is completed, tell the person you will get back to them in a day or two when you have had time to prepare your offer.

Should I make an offer yet? If you are experienced with repair values and are confident in making an offer on the spot, you may do so.  I on the other hand am going to need a day or so to consult with my team and review the list of repairs in order to come up with an offer.

Ron Mead’s Suggestion:

Your tendency will be to underestimate the cost of projects, so that is why I suggest you consult with someone in the business as to what the fix-up total cost might be.

Also don’t be afraid to walk away if you feel the project might be getting to big.  You are looking for houses that need minor repairs not a rebuild.

Later this week I will try and come up with a Property Repair Worksheet that can be used.  I don’t have one myself but have a good idea where I could get one.  I was thinking J Scott at 123Flip.com might be kind enough to offer one to us if I ask nicely.

Next week I will talk about Determining the value of the house.

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Comments 17

  1. Awesome! Can't wait for your crazy caller stories!! One thing my Dad's been doing to relax people is when they say “I got your letter” in a confrontational way he smiles and says “GREAT! The post office is doing a good job then!” It really seems to make people pause and even relax a bit. Another one I like is when somebody says “Why do you want to buy my house?” he will say “Why is there something wrong with it?”. 🙂 It's so much fun having my Dad work with us on this … he's found his true calling! Anyway – thought you'd enjoy those. Good luck.

  2. Scott, when are you going to stop making excuses and start taking action?

    Enough of the 'Getting ready to get ready' stuff. Get them mailed out and quit being afraid that they're going to call you ya big baby 🙂 I've bookmarked your site to keep up on whats going on but I still don't see that you've done something so simple and easy like, “Mail out probate letters”

    C'mon Scottie, step up to the plate and come hang with the 'Go Getters' we've got kool-aid and the grass is really greener on this side 🙂

  3. Julie, I love that “GREAT! The post office is doing a good job then!” — that's a good one…your dad IS a natural! I can tell you that I've never had someone ask “Why do you want to buy my house?”…but I'll be ready with my response when someone does 😉

  4. Nick, I like the tough love. Keep it up.

    Scott,
    Have you considered taking a digital camera. I don't believe I will always be able to have a contractor with me, but I can take digital shots and discuss it with him afterwards. I plan on snapping 20-50 photos on each house. As I take the picture of the little details it should help me cement a price with the seller. Just a thought.

    I procrastinated on getting my first letters out as well. Not sure why, I guess the hidden fear of no turning back. Why put in 100's of hours to stop at something as silly as a letter. Essentially you have spent the hours building the birdhouse, but failed to put it outside. It looks very pretty, but its still useless.

    After I got the first letter in the mail, it is much easier now. No calls yet, but the birds will come.

  5. http://www.chrisbrogan.com/tiny-revolutions/
    http://goodfaithinvesting.com/2009/10/08/hubby-
    http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2009/11

    And lastly a favorite post of mine by someone who decided to take action and NOT quit even if it meant he spent 4-5 hours a day after work doing what he had to do to make it happen:

    http://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/223/topics/

    I can assure you that he's cleared at least $70k in the last few months alone and will easily clear $150k by next June.

    Scott, mail out the letters, get your mojo in check and Crush It!!

  6. Those are some great comeback lines Julie! I will definitely be using them and maybe my true calling will be answering phones from motivated sellers 🙂

  7. I knew I liked you from the start Nick. I spent the better part of last night getting the envelopes and stamps, and then printing, addressing, stuffing and stamping the letters. I will be dropping them in the mail at lunch.

  8. Good suggestion Jason. I will add that to the list of items to bring.

    It's funny, you don't really realize that the fear is the reason you haven't sent out the letters yet until someone points it out. To me it seemed as though other things (more important things) were getting in the way, but in reality it was my putting those things in the way. Strange

  9. Thats awesome, well done!

    btw Scott, that was my line of thinking 2 weeks ago to get off my butt. It wasn't directed to be condesending, but what finally woke me up.

    Race ya to the first deal *grin*

    Jason

  10. You just gave me an Idea Jason. What do you say we put a little wager on who gets the first deal? Something interesting.

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