Potential Probate Deal

October 29, 2009 · 6 comments

Last weekend we received a call from a closing attorney that we’ve worked with in the past; he knows that we’re investors, and had told us previously that he’ll let us know if he every comes across any potential deals for us.

On the phone, the closing attorney mentioned that he and his wife had walked to a local garage sale, and upon speaking with the woman running it, he learned that the owner (the woman’s mother) had recently passed-away. They were selling whatever items they could, and then planned to eventually sell the house. The attorney asked how much they’d be asking, and when he found out that it was a very reasonable price, he called me.

To date, every investment property that we’ve purchased has been an REO property (bank-owned foreclosure), but I’m certainly not opposed to dealing with sellers directly, especially in a situation where I can help them as much as they can help us. So, if this woman really needed to sell the house, it had the potential to be a win/win for both of us.

My wife and I (with baby in tow) did the 30 minute drive up to the house. It’s in an upscale part of town, where houses typically sell for a good bit more than what we are accustomed to buying and selling for. The house was a very nice, 50’s style ranch with a big lot, and the first thing we noticed was a whole bunch of torn-out carpet on the front lawn.

We spoke with the woman running the garage sale for about an hour. Apparently, her mother had lived in the house for many years, and had passed away over the summer. The recent floods in Atlanta had caused a good bit of water damage to the house, and the woman and her daughter had spent many hours tearing out the wet carpet, cutting out some wet drywall, and doing their best to prevent any further damage to the property. That explained the carpet on the front lawn.

We let her know that we were investors and that we had heard she was considering selling the house. She said that she wasn’t ready to sell just yet, but seemed interested in having a potential cash buyer; she mentioned that she had had a couple bids from contractors to remodel the house, and that they had all come in above $50K, much more than she wanted to spend. She let us look around the property, and gave us a bit more information regarding its history and condition.

In the end, we let her know that we were very interested in the property if and when she was ready to sell (we got the feeling she was ready to “let go” of the property just yet). I gave her my card, and she said that she’d definitely give us a call when she was ready to sell, probably in the next month or two.

We’ll see what happens…

6 responses to “Potential Probate Deal”

  1. jp moses says:

    Sweet! I love probate deals! Always makes me feel like I’m truly helping someone take a monkey off their back at a difficult time. And turning a nice profit doesn’t hurt either, of course.

    Just be careful not to let yourself get too emotionally tied to the idea of helping them out…if the numbers don’t make as much sense as your typical REO deal, you could sometimes be tempted to compromise on your deal for their sake. Maybe that’s not you…but I’ve done it….so fair warning. 🙂

    Let us know if you get it!


  2. This post is a good lesson on networking and how referral leads can develop. I’m looking forward to seeing if she calls you back in a few months

  3. Don Hines says:

    Any clues why she thinks she might be ready in a couple of months instead of now.
    Probate?? Emotions??


  4. Chris Ranney says:

    Don’t forget to reward your bird dog – LOL

  5. J Scott says:

    Don –

    My guess is that it’s purely emotional. The house was still completely filled with stuff (including lots of pictures), and it looked like they were busy sorting and deciding what to do with everything.

    I mentioned to her that I’d be happy to purchase the house and then let them take as much time as they wanted to clean it out (I’m paying cash, and I’m willing to hold it a couple extra months if necessary), and she seemed to like that idea…but she wasn’t ready to deal with the details of a sale just yet.

  6. J Scott says:

    Chris –

    He did a closing for us a couple weeks ago (buyer selected him), and we really liked him. So, we’re planning to use him for all our closings moving forward (which is a reward in itself), but we’re also planning to take his wife and him to a nice dinner in the next couple weeks.

    You bring up a great point thought that you MUST reward people when they help you…

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