Probate Monday: Using the Money Else Where?

Scott CostelloAll, Blog, Probate Investing 11 Comments

Probate Investing MondayI’ve yet to receive any calls from my latest probate mailing which is a bit discouraging.  I’ve always gotten a few but for some reason this time I’ve gotten the big ZERO!   I know I’ll eventually get a deal if I keep at it, but I’m closing in on a year and haven’t gotten much.  I’m as stubborn as the next guy, but sometimes it’s worth switching things up a bit and heading into a new strategy.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past weekend to try and come up with some options.  Let me lay them out and see what you guys thing…

Option #1:  Keep up with Probates, but switch my target market

It may make some sense to concentrate my limited marketing funds into one area.  Since I’m going to be putting up bandit signs in Mercer County, it might benefit me more to send out mailers to that county as well.  The list would cost the same and I may even get more leads that way.  I’ll have to discuss this option with my coach and my lead source.

Option #2: Try and resell my Morris County leads to Realtors or other investors for a slight profit.

This is an intriguing option as it could lead to some more marketing money.  I posted an ad on craigslist today to test the market out.  I’m willing to sell the leads for $1 each or for $3 each if the buyer wants exclusivity. I’ve attempted to re-sell the leads before with little success, but I think I gave up to soon.

Option #3: Stop marketing to probates and concentrate all my marketing dollars to bandit signs

This is a real option, but I hate giving up on something and that is exactly what I would be doing.  I know probate investing can work out and if I get a deal in my Morris County it could be quite good.  The only question is how long will it take?  The market in Mercer County is much more favorable in terms of housing zones (2 and 3) while Morris County is mostly 4s, 5s and 6s.  If you aren’t sure what the zones are it basically breaks down to this according to Steve Cook…

  • Zone 1: War zones
  • Zone 2: Fringe of war zones
  • Zone 3: Mix of renters and owners
  • Zone 4: Mostly home owners
  • Zone 5: Few Renters and a lot of “pride of ownership”
  • Zone 6: Tough to find fixer uppers (rentals are top dollar)
  • Zone 7: Very hard to find fixer uppers.  The residents here can usually afford to take care of their homes. Retail buyers will pay top dollar for fixer uppers
  • Zone 8: Deals are typically very difficult to find in these types of areas

Option #4: Continue Marketing to Morris County Probates

I’m seriously leaning towards not doing this, but they always say when you are about to give up just go a little further and success will be right there.

So what does everyone thing??

Scott Costello
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Comments 11

  1. Scott – we found August was a lousy month for everything. Not sure if your mailing was in August or not but it just seemed like everybody was in vacation mode. Things are starting to pick up for us this week and last week now that kids are back in school and people are focusing on things again. Just wanted to mention this because it’s not just us that found August to be a bad month…

    1. August and early September haven’t returned good results from my mailers. I actually just get a voice mail tonight which is the first call from the September mailings.

    2. Summer months are definitely slower….I’m actually excited about making some offers on properties on the MLS in these last months because I think the banks would love to offload some properties at year end.

      Keep the mailing going Scotty! If you can add in some bandit signs that would be great. You don’t have to clutter the town with them…you can just focus on some very targeted areas.

  2. Scott,
    From your posts before I know you have a real estate license. Why don’t you try to list and sell the houses yourself? I know a lot of other investors do not want get into the agent business, but there are a lot of houses we have to pass up because the sellers want market value. Last year I got two probate listings where the sellers want to sell, but there’s no profit for a flip. I earned about $10,000 in commission from the sales. Plus I got more experienced with probates. Just something to consider!

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for the great advice and I have thought about that in the past. The only problem is that I don’t know if I have the free time to be a listing agent. How much of your time does it take to sell a house being the listing agent?

      1. I think listing a house probably takes about the same time as trying to wholesale it, since you’re essentially doing the same thing. (although I was never really good at wholesaling, so I would think wholesaling it would be even harder). I only listed the ones where the sellers were reasonable and I could list them slightly below market for a quick sale in as-is condition, market it a little on line and through the MLS, and they sold quickly within a week or two. It took some time to explain the settlement process with the seller, but I would think that took just as much, if not less time, to explain as if you are buying it as an investor. Since you’re busy, just list the ones where the sellers seem easy to work with.

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