How to Find Probate Leads [or Buy Probate Leads]

Published on June 30, 2023

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How to Find Probate Leads [or Buy Probate Leads]

How to Find Probate Leads [or Buy Probate Leads]

One often overlooked strategy in real estate investing is probate leads. This powerful yet largely untapped source of real estate leads represents a unique and lucrative opportunity since the properties are sold below market value. 

This article seeks to shed light on the process of finding probate leads, making it accessible and understandable for both novice and seasoned investors alike. 

As we delve into the specifics of sourcing, analyzing, and closing probate deals, we will provide you with practical steps and insights to turn these opportunities into a thriving part of your real estate investment strategy, especially if you are new to the probate process.

What are Probate Properties?

What are Probate Properties?

Probate properties are those that belonged to a deceased person and now go through the process of probate. In other words, probate leads refer to potential motivated sellers.

This court process called probate is often overseen by a court. The handles the distribution of the deceased person's assets when they inherit properties, including any real estate, to heirs and beneficiaries based on the deceased's will. If there deceased person left no will, the distribution follows the intestacy laws of the state.

Typically, an executor (if named in the will) or an administrator (appointed by the local courthouse if no will exists) is in-charge of carrying out the probate process, which includes paying off any debts and taxes of the deceased's estate after the sale. The remaining assets, including any real estate properties, are then distributed to the heirs accordingly.

Probate properties can present potential investment opportunities for real estate investors. Heirs often decide to sell the property rather than keep it and they sell it at a below market price. 

This is because they prefer a quick sale to avoid maintenance costs and property taxes, or because the property needs significant repair or updating that are too much to handle. This creates an opportunity for investors to purchase the property, flip it, and sell or rent it for a profit.

Why Probate Real Estate leads are Valuable to Investors

As mentioned, probate properties provide great opportunities for investors. But of course, it requires understanding the legal process and having sensitivity to the emotional aspects of the transaction. If these aren’t an issue, probate leads are highly beneficial. 

Here are the reasons why you might want to consider probate real estate leads for your real estate business:

Sellers are highly motivated and they sell for cheap

As part of settling an estate to quickly pay off any outstanding debts or taxes of the deceased, executors or administrators may need to liquidate assets fast. The heirs may also prefer a quick sale to convert the property into cash or because they live out of town and can't manage the property. 

This urgency can result in properties being sold below their market value, providing an opportunity for investors to purchase at a discounted rate.

Many investors avoid probate

Probate investing is a niche area that many investors overlook and avoid, either due to a lack of knowledge or the potential emotional challenges involved in dealing with grieving families. 

As a result, there may be less competition for these properties compared to traditional real estate listings, providing a more favorable market for investors.

The market won't run out of probate properties

Unfortunately, death is a certainty of life, which means the market won’t run out of the supply of probate properties. 

For investors who develop expertise and a network in this area, it can be a reliable source of leads.

Promises huge profits

Many probate properties may require significant repairs or renovations as they could have been owned by elderly individuals who may not have kept the property up to date. 

This gives investors an opportunity to add value and potentially increase the return on their investment.

Risks of Probate Leads

Investing in probate leads, like any other form of real estate investment, also has its challenges and risks. Here are a few potential pitfalls you should be aware of if you are looking into entering the probate investing niche.

The process can take a while

Probate cases can take several months, sometimes years, to fully resolve, especially if the estate is large or if there are disputes among heirs. This delay can tie up capital and affect the profitability of the investment.

You may acquire debt

If it isn’t discovered that the property is tied to debt and you already bought it, you may acquire debt unknowingly. This means you will face legal issues eventually. The process would be longer since each jurisdiction may have its own laws and procedures for dealing with this.

You have to deal with emotions

Dealing with grieving families requires a sensitive approach. Missteps can lead to strained relationships and potentially sour deals. Also, there may be unknown or unexpected claims against the estate, including liens or other encumbrances on the property that can complicate the sale.

The property is sold as-is

Probate properties are often older and may not be maintained properly. Substantial renovations or repairs may be needed, requiring additional investment. It is also possible that there are more issues discovered after a real estate professional inspection.

Ways to Find Probate Leads

Ways to Find Probate Leads

If you've already decided to find probate leads and invest in them, let us help you search for deals faster. Here are some effective ways to get probate leads if you are looking to buy this property type for investment.

Online Public Records

Many local government and court systems maintain online databases of public records, including probate cases. Start by finding the appropriate website for your area of interest and look for sections labeled "public records," "court records," or "probate cases." 

Search the database using the decedent's name, date, or case number. The process might require time and patience as each probate court system may have different user interfaces and search methods. Look for files that include real estate within the deceased's estate. 

Just ensure that you don’t bypass any privacy rules set by the government so you don’t face any legal issues in the long run.

Probate Court

Visiting your local probate court or its clerk's office is another way to access probate records. Probate cases, including information about assets like real estate, are public records. 

While this approach can be more time-consuming and may require a bit of legwork, it's also one of the most direct methods to obtain accurate and timely property information. Check with the court clerk about the best way to access and search these files.

The records from the probate court system often include additional details that can be valuable to an investor, such as the executor's contact information, attorneys involved, or any filed objections or claims against the estate.

Buy Real Estate Data

Many data companies or lead providers sell detailed real estate data, including probate leads (for example, LeadVine) and other types of leads.

These companies pull information from a variety of sources when locating probate leads, saving you the time and effort of collecting it yourself. They also regularly update their information, ensuring that you have the most accurate and current leads. You can add these new real estate leads to your CRM right away.

Some providers even allow you to customize the data you purchase based on your specific needs and criteria. But before buying, ensure that the company covers your area of interest and verify the accuracy of their data.

Real Estate Lead Generation Platforms

Numerous companies specialize in generating probate leads or leads on heirs who want to sell properties they don't want to inherit. These services pull data from various public sources, sort and organize it, and then provide it to you for a fee before the data becomes public.

These platforms are a great way to get probate leads since they will save you considerable time and effort in finding the right property. However, they require monetary investment.

Many real estate generation platforms use advanced technology to aggregate and organize data from various sources, which means you don’t have to find a probate listing manually.

They also offer access to a wide range of data, including details about the property, the owners who need to sell, and the status of the probate court process. This comprehensive data can help you make informed decisions about which leads to pursue.

Online Newsletter

There are numerous online newsletters and subscription-based news services in your local county dedicated on how to navigate the probate and real estate investment industry. They offer leads as well, so they can be a great source if you do not know how to find probate leads at all.

By subscribing, you receive curated information and insights delivered directly to your inbox. Most online newsletters operate on a regular schedule, providing weekly or monthly updates about an online lead. This consistency means you'll have a steady stream of new leads coming in. 

Moreover, some of these services also provide probate leads, industry trends, legal updates, and practical tips for engaging with potential motivated sellers.

Many real estate newsletters are free or relatively inexpensive, making them a cost-effective way to generate probate leads.


Obituaries, typically published in local newspapers and on funeral homes' websites, can provide leads. Once you find a potential lead, use the decedent's name or the one who will inherit the property to search public records or probate court files to determine if they owned real estate. 

Another great thing you'll find about this source is that if you're interested in properties in a particular region, monitoring obituaries from local newspapers can provide a relevant pool of leads.

This method requires tact, discretion, and respect for the bereaved family's feelings during a difficult time.

Newspaper Classified Ads

Check the classifieds section of local newspapers to find the leads for probate or estate sales. These listings provide direct information about properties ready for purchase, saving you the time and effort of identifying whether a property is part of an estate. 

These sections are often listed as "estate sale," "probate sale," or similar terms. They serve as public notices that a property from an estate is being sold.

This is inarguably one of the quickest ways to find potential leads since the executors use this when they are motivated to sell. By checking these regularly, you're likely to find probate leads or potential clients that can immediately transact with you.

Local Attorneys

Establish relationships with local attorneys, particularly those who specialize in probate filing or estate law. 

These professionals handle probate cases and often know if a real estate asset needs to be sold. Networking with them and letting them know about your interest can generate leads that others might miss.

Moreover, once you've built a good rapport with an attorney, they can provide a steady stream of leads over time. This can be more efficient than continually sourcing new leads yourself.

In addition to off-market leads, attorneys can offer valuable legal advice to help navigate the complex probate process.

Referral Probate Leads

These are leads you receive through networking with other professionals, such as real estate agents, financial planners, or even personal contacts who know about your interest in probate real estate. Building a robust professional network can yield valuable leads.

A lead that comes from a referral is more likely to trust you, because they've been introduced to you by someone they know and trust. This can make the process of negotiation and acquisition smoother.

Also, unlike other sources that require monetary investment or substantial time, referrals can often be generated with less effort and little to no cost.

Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist

Hiring a real estate agent who specializes in probate can provide you with specific market expertise and potential leads. They have a deep understanding of the probate process, real estate planning, existing relationships with probate attorneys, and knowledge about upcoming probate sales.

They also received specific training to understand associated legal and tax requirements of a probate sale and how to effectively communicate with estate executors involved in the process.

Once a working relationship has been established with a Probate Real Estate Specialist, they can continue to provide you with leads on an ongoing basis.

Probate Properties in Auction

Sometimes probate properties are sold at auction, often when the estate needs to be quickly liquidated to pay debts. You can find these auctions through local newspapers, online auction websites, or court notices.

Properties that go to auction are typically ready for immediate sale so they can really expand your real estate leads. There's no need to negotiate a sale agreement with the estate's executor or wait for the probate process to be completed.

Probate auctions also include a wide variety of properties, including residential, commercial, and even vacant land. This can provide investors with many opportunities to diversify their investment portfolio.

Strategic Marketing (Market yourself as a probate investor)

This involves positioning yourself as a probate investor in your community. The aim is to make sure when someone thinks about selling a potential probate property, they think of you.

Methods to find leads under this strategy include advertising, direct mail campaigns, social media marketing, hosting local seminars on probate process, or community networking. 

How to Purchase Probate Leads

How to Purchase Probate Leads

Probate sales are known to be more complex and time-consuming than standard real estate transactions due to the involvement of the court. It's crucial that you understand the whole process of purchasing real estate probate leads before embarking on any transactions:

Make an Offer

Once you've identified a probate property you're interested in and the heir of the estate must sell soon to liquidate all the assets, the first step is to make an offer. This can be done through a real estate agent or directly to the executor if possible. 

Keep in mind that probate properties often need repairs or upgrades, so factor that into your offer. Also, remember that the probate court will need to approve the sale to ensure it represents the fair market value of the property.

Attend the Hearing

After your offer is submitted, a hearing date will be set for court confirmation of the sale. In most areas, other prospective buyers can also attend this hearing and make overbids on the property. 

If this happens, you'll have the opportunity to increase your offer. If no overbids are made, or if your final bid is the highest, the court will typically approve the sale to you.

Submit Paperwork

If your offer is accepted and confirmed by the court, you'll then move forward with the sales transaction, much like a traditional real estate purchase. 

This involves submitting all necessary paperwork, such as the sales agreement and disclosures. It's highly recommended to work with a real estate attorney during this process, especially given the potential complexities of probate sales.

Secure Financing

Just like with a traditional property purchase, you’ll need to ensure your financing is secure before you complete the purchase. 

Whether you're using a mortgage loan, private financing, or personal funds, you'll need to have everything in place by the closing date. Your lender will need to appraise the property, and the loan will need to be underwritten and approved.

Sign the Contract

Once all conditions have been met and your financing is secure, you'll sign the sales contract and any other closing documents. After the contract is signed and the purchase price is paid, the ownership of the property will be transferred to you.

Summary: Best Ways to Find Probate Leads [or Buy Probate Leads Online]

Finding probate leads can be a fruitful venture for real estate investors seeking unique opportunities. The range of methods available, from sifting through online public records and attending court hearings to subscribing to online newsletters, scouring obituaries, and networking with local attorneys, offers investors diverse avenues to explore. 

However, it's essential to remember the sensitive nature of this process. You have to deal with families experiencing loss and navigating the complexities of probate law when you embark on a journey to find probate real estate leads.

If you’re looking for other lead types that are a lot less complicated, check out Property Leads. We offer highly motivated leads for a reasonable price and we ensure exclusivity so you would have less to no competitions.

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