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By Sharon Vornholt

Probates have been my #1 source of leads for more than a decade.  I love working with probates, however that’s not true for all investors.  The reason this niche is so good is because you will never run out of leads, and the heirs almost always need to sell the property.  It’s usually just a question of whether it’s a “pretty house” that will be listed (listen up Realtors), or it’s an ugly house needing repairs and updates that will be sold to an investor.  It’s a pretty straight forward choice in most cases.  Whether it’s a pretty house or an ugly house, there is so much opportunity here.

Why Do Investors Shy Away from Probates?

I think there are 2 main reasons investors are reluctant to work in the niche of probates.

1. First of all, they just don’t understand how the probate process works.

Investors think that they have to know a lot of legal stuff which just isn’t true. Since probate is a legal process, you do need to have a basic understanding of the probate process and the steps involved. Specifically, you need to know when the house can be sold.  One other thing that will help you tremendously is being familiar with the terminology used in probate.  Knowing these two things will allow you to show up as the “expert” to help them with their problem which is an unwanted house.

2. The second reason is that their mindset holds them back.

Probate investing isn’t that much different than other niches in real estate, particularly when it comes to off-market deals. There will be things you need to learn that are unique to that particular niche.

Because the property is part of an estate, it makes a difference in the way people feel about it.  Investors often feel like it’s creepy working with probates. Or they feel like they are taking advantage of someone at what is undeniably one of the worst times of their life when they make a low-ball offer.  They feel guilty even when it’s a fixer-upper that needs a lot of work.

It’s important to understand that it couldn’t be further from the truth.  In almost every case, the property must be sold before the estate can be closed.  That means that the heirs have to take care of the business of settling the estate, before the they can collect what they have inherited.

Here is the main thing to remember about probate; this is a great niche for investors because the heirs almost never want the house.  They just want the cash sitting in that property. This is also a very profitable and untapped source of leads for Realtors. In a seller’s market like we’re in now, a large percentage of those properties will likely be listed on the MLS. I’ve been doing this a long time, but I don’t know of a single Realtor in my area that specializes in probate property. As I said before, there is so much opportunity for both real estate investors and agents.

Showing Up as the Expert

Remember that marketing is how you get leads, and branding is why they choose YOU.

When you are able to show up as the expert to talk to a motivated seller, they will choose you over the other investors every single time because of your knowledge about probate.  The seller will be able to identify with you. They will also be confident they’ve made the right decision because they view you a trusted expert.

Armed with your knowledge about probate, all your marketing will get better results because you will have built a rock-solid brand around your expert status.  You begin this whole process by changing your mindset.  That’s the first step. Then once you have learned the terminology, you know the steps in the probate process, and you understand how to market to these folks, I can promise that you will be light years ahead of your competition.

Sharon Vornholt

Sharon Vornholt is the owner of Innovative Property Solutions, LLC in Louisville, KY.

Sharon owned and operated a successful home inspection company for 17 years. She began investing in real estate in 1998 and became a full time real estate investor in January of 2008.

Sharon specializes in wholesaling, and is also an experienced landlord and rehabber.

In addition, Sharon is an internet marketer and also writes articles for several national real estate sites. Sharon is the author of a popular real estate blog called the “Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog”. For your FREE REPORT “Probates and Absentee Owners: Your Fast Track to Real Estate Riches”, stop by her blog at:

To find learn how you can become the probate expert in your area, check out my course, Probate Investing Simplified