Today I want to spend a couple of minutes talking about a reader question that I get frequently about probate marketing for real estate investors and the reasons behind the process I follow. The question was, “Should I send direct mail to the PR and the heirs, or just to the PR (the personal representative)”?
Another way to put it was, “Why should I only send direct mail pieces to the personal representative rather than the personal representative and all of the heirs”?
Why Would You Only Mail the Personal Representative?
The answer is simple. Because it’s cheaper and there's not any real benefit that I found over time that you get from mailing all the heirs. The executor or the administrator (jointly referred to as the personal representative) is the “decision-maker”. This is the person you want to market to. They are the only person that can legally sign the sales and purchase agreement if you decide to purchase the house.
That doesn't mean that there's not another family member that might contact you or even show you the property. In fact, that’s often the way it works. Someone other than the personal representative will be the one taking care of most of the responsibilities concerning the estate.
Probate Marketing for Real Estate Investors
When it comes to probate marketing, you want to get the best results possible but at the same time, you don’t want to waste money on marketing that isn’t likely to yield results.
Here’s an example. Let’s assume you have $500 a month to spend on direct mail. If every one of those families has a personal representative and four siblings, that would mean you were sending five letters a month to folks about one particular property. You would have the potential to generate 100 leads. However, if you only sent the letter to the personal representative and you still had the same $500 to spend on marketing, you could mail to the PR about 500 unique properties. As you can see there is a big difference in the potential number of properties that could ultimately become deals.
What Does it Cost to Mail a Letter?
Today it's about a dollar letter to send a personalized (mail-merged) white computer-generated letter which includes them doing the work! This is what I recommend that you send because it gets the best result over time. That has remained consistent in my years of experience (since 2008) where I have specialized in probates and probate marketing.
Direct mail costs have come down a lot over the years for these letters. As I said, it's less than a dollar to send one of these letters today. In comparison, the cost to send the same letter was about $1.50 fifteen years ago. Your focus should be on reaching the decision-maker about a particular estate rather than reaching everyone concerned with a single estate. These folks will be in contact with each other so there’s no reason to mail the personal representative and the heirs.
Will You Always be Dealing with the PR?
There will typically be one family member who will be in charge as far as the day-to-day business of the estate goes. You know; there's always that one sister or brother that's in charge when it comes to matters like this. This will likely be the person that you deal with. If you mail the letter to the executor and they aren’t the person taking care of the day-to-day business, they will give the letter to the family member in that role. They would be handling things like property showings and possibly even the negotiation.
Just remember that the heirs want to sell the house so they can get what they will be inheriting. Otherwise, they don't get paid. It's definitely in their best interest to help move things along.
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When it comes to probate marketing for real estate investors, you will get better results if you follow the process. You will also save a lot of money on your marketing over time if you only mail the personal representative. Let me know if you have any questions.
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