Working Probate Is Like Social Work

4359194343?profile=originalIt should go without saying that dealing with probated properties demands a level of sensitivity, beyond the rigors of a traditional sale. 

The executor is not merely feeling the loss of a loved one, but there are other dynamics going on. From my experience, the astute investor or agent that can help the executor navigate through these other issues will be successful. In this sense, you are not an investor or an agent - you are a problem solver and in some cases, a social worker. 

I recently designed a probate site for an agent that made it a selling point that she can secure the home of a probated property to keep out "self entitled" heirs from removing items and valuables from the probated property. She is doing well working probates because she is willing to enter into this frank, heart-to-heart conversation that doesn't couch words. The reality is, when someone passes, there will be family members that sweep in to claim belongings that they may or may not have an equitable right to. It becomes in many cases a free for all. The agent's call to action was to lock up the probated property like Fort Knox. 

In another case, an investor makes it a salient part of their probate marketing campaign to stress that they can remove belongings in a dignified manner, liquidating non-real property assets to generate cash for the estate OR donate items to charity, giving the family a sizable tax write off. 

I can go on about stories, but the quintessential point is that when working probate, you are less a real estate professional, and more social work. Oftentimes being a referee between heir in-fighting, 

When subscribing to a list of probate filings, some clients love us. Some of them hate us. It all boils down to the results. And among the successful agents and investors that are getting more inventory, there is one common denominator, I have found: They have a mindset of solving problems, and not just listing the house or buying the house. Their fundamental value proposition when working probate is to restore normalcy in a thorny process that often wedges family members against each other. As if listing the home - or buying the home - is almost an afterthought. 

It's really capsulized in the entrepreneurs creed, a plaque hanging on my wall that says in essence, "We are only compensated to the extent that we add value to other people". 

In other words, when working probates, listing or buying the real estate is the end goal, but what precedes it is building empathy and trust and creating harmony. The rest will follow. 

My job is to craft this message that resonates with executors tasked with the honor and burden of settling their loved one's estate. If you'd like to  have a website dedicated to probate, get in touch. 

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of REO Pro Network to add comments!

Join REO Pro Network


  • You haven't mentioned the 90% rule. Probates have to sell within 90% of the referee's appraisal, This is to protect investors from buying way below market value. I should also mention I am in California. Your state may be different. How are you dealing with that? I have been completing Probate resales for well over 20 years. Regarding the statement: wedges family members against each other. I have settled several inter family lawsuit's by picking up the phone and updating them one at a time as to what is going on. I have also learned that people judge others by what they would do. Be Careful of the one's who do not trust the other's involved.

This reply was deleted.