Compiling Probate Lists


Today I want to answer a reader question that I have gotten several times just in the past couple of weeks. In fact, investors who are just getting started in probate investing ask me this particular question all the time:

“How many months should I go back when I first start out”?

I’m going to answer that question today, and I want to try to clear up some confusion surrounding this process at the same time.  (Grab your FREE probate letter at the bottom of the article.)

How Far Should You go Back?

Knowing how far back you should go to find properties in probate, involves understanding how the probate process works. The probate process itself may take up to a year or more from start to finish, but the house is sold before the estate is closed.  Some personal representatives get busy settling the estate and get the job done. It takes other people longer to begin the process, therefore they are months down the line before they get through the whole process.  For that reason, I recommend that you go back 6 months when you start compiling your first list.

What you want to do is to go back and get all the properties in probate for that time period.


Scrubbing Your Lists

Once you have compiled your list, your next step should be to scrub the list. For those of you that might not be familiar with that term, to “scrub”, it means to clean up that list.  You want to remove folks that you don’t want to mail to.

Those might include:

  • Properties that have already been sold
  • Houses in war zones or areas that are not desirable to investors or retail buyers
  • Houses that are too expensive.

Wholesalers and rehabbers have criteria that they follow when buying houses. The criteria will be a little different for everyone, but you want to find out what it is for the investors in your particular area.

How do you do that?  You simply ask them.  In general, they will be bread and butter houses at or just above the median or average sales price. Some rehabbers will buy property that I consider “move up” houses or second home purchases. Once again, you need to learn what the criteria is for the investors your area.


Putting Together a List for Direct Mail Marketing

Once you have your starting list of properties where the probate has been opened in the last 6 months, you will begin to add each new month (one by one) going forward. Six months from now, you will have 1 full year of probate properties and that is a good list.

Don’t forget that you need to continue to scrub your list on a regular basis. Once a quarter is ideal.

Now you’re probably thinking, that’s a whole lot of work. I will tell you that it is. However, this is a perfect job for a VA (virtual assistant), and it will keep your mailing costs down so it’s worth the time and the trouble. Not everyone will call you to say the house has been sold, so be prepared to update your list from time to time.


Would you Rather Listen? Tips for Compiling Probate Lists – Podcast #155

You Can Listen to the Podcast Here.

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I would love to hear about your experience with probate investing.


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