Two real estate niches with little competition – and where your work can really HELP people in distress
It’s true that sellers in these situations are upset, and are often more emotional than those who simply choose to sell because they want a different house or want to move to a different area. (They may not be any more emotional than those who were forced to either sell or face foreclosure, however.)
Just like those short sale clients, probate and divorce clients really need the help of a conscientious, caring agent.
Many are in a financial position that requires a sale, and some are in a positon where making joint decisions is difficult. They need a “middle man” to calm the waters and keep everyone on track. They also need someone who will give them honest answers and get the houses sold even if it’s not possible to put them in prime showing condition.
This not only simplifies the division of assets, but allows for payment of estate debts. It can save the heirs money in upkeep costs and prevent family members from needing to dig into their own bank accounts to keep up with payments if the estate is cash-poor.
Executors who live out of the area can really be in a bind. They don’t know anyone in your city so they don’t know who might be trustworthy when it comes to clearing out the house, cleaning, yard work, repairs, etc. They also know nothing about local pricing, so are prime candidates to be taken advantage of by someone looking for a quick profit on a flip.
Most don’t know how to evaluate the financial pros and cons of selling in as-is condition as opposed to doing the clean-up and fix-up prior to listing. As a professional you can help them obtain bids, then weigh the cost of putting the house in prime condition against the probable increase in the selling price.
Some agents shy away from probate listings because they feel it’s a bit ghoulish to profit from someone’s sorrow. And indeed, you do have to tread lightly.
I recall a listing I had years ago. Two sisters came to ask me to list their parent’s property, and they specified that another agent in our town was not to be allowed to even show it. Why? Because she had asked for the listing at the Dad’s funeral. I guess she thought that since she’d known them and their parents since childhood it gave her some kind of privilege, but they thought it was crass and uncaring – and they assumed that the only reason she came to the funeral was to secure the listing.
So, yes, the grieving do need a bit of time to settle down and think about what needs to be done before they’re ready to list. But once they’re ready, they need your help and your protection.
How to approach getting these listings…
One of the best ways to secure probate listings is to establish yourself with probate attorneys. You might need to act as a second source for price opinions a few times while you’re getting acquainted, but once you’ve shown yourself to be competent and caring, they attorneys will recommend you.
You can also wait until probate is filed, then contact executors directly. Their names will be of public record at the courthouse.
One of my copywriting clients, an investor, has an assistant who checks those records weekly. You could do that, or you could use one of the services that gathers and sells probate leads.
Either way, you’ll need letters, so I wrote them for you.
This Probate Prospecting letter set includes letters to both executors and attorneys regarding specific homes, and a set of postcards designed to catch an attorney’s attention and get you on his or her list of real estate resources.
The Probate Postcard set offers six brief messages to executors, offering your assistance in a non-pushy manner.
Divorcing couples often need someone with the strength to remain neutral and unaffected by the couple’s bitterness. They also need an agent with the patience to meet with them separately if necessary and to help them reach a compromise when one wants to use the transaction as a tool against the other. In this case, the agent’s negotiation skills might come into play long before they begin negotiating with a buyer and his or her agent.
I recall one sale my agency had years ago. The wife had taken a painting that the husband said was his. He refused to sign the closing papers until she returned the painting. She refused to return the painting until he signed the closing papers. We finally solved it by having the closing attorney hold the painting until the transaction was finalized.
As an agent I didn’t have occasion to handle many divorcing couples, but one in particular stands out. I had sold them the house several years earlier, so they called me to find them a buyer. I liked both of them individually, but SURE didn’t like listening to either of them telling me about the other’s sins.
And… by the time we were finished, I knew why that gentleman had moved in with his girlfriend. Every time the wife and I were on the phone together she spent half the time screeching at the children. It wasn’t easy to stay on topic with that going on.
Since you’ll need letters…
My Divorce Prospecting letters remind couples that unless one can get a new loan, selling the house will be in their best interests. If they hold title jointly, or if they both signed the mortgage, their finances will be tied together until the house is sold.
Of course they include your offer to meet with them separately, and to consult with them at no obligation on their part.
These niches aren’t for everyone…
You have to have the right personality and temperament to deal with people who are sometimes overly emotional, demanding, and even unreasonable.
But if they ARE for you…
You’ll find yourself with less competition in getting those listings.
Girls in cemetery image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net