Probate Investing; the First Steps

February 13, 2013 in Probates/ Probate Investing

Navigating Probate

Navigating Probate

 

I have found probate investing to be one of the most lucrative niches in real estate investing. It is also one that most people assume is difficult to navigate. The truth of the matter is that it is a relatively simple and straightforward process once you have a basic understanding of the probate process.

 

 

How Do I Find Out Where I Can Get A List Of Probates?

It’s really easy. Look up the phone number for your local probate court and give them a call. Ask how you can get a list of probates. They will tell you exactly how their system works.

In my city they are published in the newspaper so those leads are free. But be aware, that they have different procedures in different areas. In some areas you can get those leads online, or you may even be able to purchase a list. While purchasing a list may not be your first choice, it sure beats going down to the courthouse to get those records which is the case in some areas.

The important thing is to make the call to the probate court and begin the process.

 

What information do you need to begin the process?

There are only 4 pieces of information that you need to get started:

The name and address for the executor or personal representative and the name and address of the deceased. That's it.

 

What's the difference in an executor and a personal representative?

An executor is the person appointed by the court to carry out the provisions in a Last Will and Testament.

A personal representative has two meanings: a person who manages the financial affairs of another person or the person appointed by the court to settle an estate. The court-appointed personal representative is an executor if there is a will or an administrator if there is no will.

Once you have the address of the deceased is where you might hit your first snag. When you have been doing this for a while, you will begin to recognize addresses that belong to nursing homes. If the address for the deceased turns out to belong to a nursing home, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t own real property.

You will have to look that person up on the tax assessor’s site.

 

How Do I Find My Local Tax Assessor’s Site?

All you have to do is type into search bar on the internet, “Property valuation and the name of your county and State.” So I would type in, “Property Valuation Jefferson County KY”.

 

The PVA or Tax Assessor’s Site; Your New Best Friend

In most areas, there is at least some information you can on these sites free.

But what you really need is a paid subscription to get all the information that is available. It is only $25 a month here to have complete access to this site, and from what I’ve heard it is generally pretty affordable most everywhere. You can get a wealth of information from the Property Valuation Site (PVA) or Tax Assessor’s site such as the basic property information, how long the person has owned the property, tax records and much, much more. I would advise everyone to purchase a monthly subscription.

 

How Will This Information On the PVA Help Me?

You can look up properties by several different methods; by name, the address, parcel ID, or legal description. Most of the time, you will just use the name or address to look up a property.

Having the ability to look up these properties, will help you determine if this is a lead you want to pursue. You might find that:

-The property is in a bad area or a war zone

-The property is just too far away from your target area.

-The property is too expensive. If your market is bread and butter homes with an ARV of $60,000-$100,000 and this house has a value of $300,000, you will know immediately not to include this house in your leads.

Once you are working in this niche, you can check also this site from time to time to see if a property has been sold.

Be sure to check back next week next week for more tips on working in the niche of probates.

 

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