For real estate investors in the probate market, dealing with attorneys is inevitability. However, many investors both novice and expert find themselves intimidated by attorneys. In our society, attorneys are perceived to be well educated in legal matters and far from the level of the common man on the street.
In reality, attorneys are a great resource for the probate real estate investor. So how do attorneys fit in the probate real estate market? In the probate business, attorneys often times, are the trusted advisers to probate estates. Individuals going through probate hire them to guide them through this process. So when we are dealing with them, we want to deal with them in a manner that can demonstrate our knowledge of the probate business. More importantly, we want to demonstrate that we are not here to take advantage of their clients.
To clarify, you will not necessarily be dealing with attorneys on a day to day basis in probate real estate business. Attorneys are really the employees of the client which means that they will not always be your first point of contact. Your first point of contact is always the executor, who is the personal representative and person in charge of the probate process. Basically, the personal representative has gone has gone out and hired an attorney. Bottom-line, the executor is the person you want to speak to about the property.
However, there may be reasons as to why the personal representative would want you to speak with their attorney. They may be very interested in selling and may want you to speak with their attorney about it. If that is the case, then you will make the call. Or maybe you cannot get a hold of the executor or personal representative of the probate estate. So naturally the next best person to contact might their attorney. In these cases, when you must contact the attorney, here are a few things to make dealing with the attorney more productive:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
First of all, you want to do your homework. This means performing your due diligence on the particular case that you are working on. You are going to want to know who the person was who died. You are going to find out the contact information for the personal representative and the address of the property in question. Have all your questions and all your data gathered on one easy-to-read sheet. Study it a little bit and get yourself ready.
SET YOUR OBJECTIVE IN ADVANCE
Second, you must determine what your end goal. What’s the objective of this conversation with the attorney? What would you like to see come out of the conversation? Being prepared and knowing your objective beforehand will help communicate your message. Keep in mind, that the attorney may be busy so you may have little time to discuss the case. You may even have to go through a gatekeeper, which could be a paralegal or an assistant or secretary of the attorney. If that is the case, you still need to have your end goal and objectives ready. So having that end goal from the beginning is important.
MAKE THE CALL
Third, after you have done your homework, set your objectives and goals, the next step is to take action and “make the call”. Just pick up the phone, call the attorney and get going. Keep in mind that you have done your homework are ready so it is important to have confidence. Remember, you have a legitimate reason to call and it is the attorney’s job to talk with you and if it is regarding his case, he will want to talk with you.
FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, AND FOLLOW UP
Fourth, now that you have taken action, the next step is what many experts consider to be the key to success: follow up, follow up, and more follow up. Once you have made the call, there may be a follow up action needed after this call and make sure to do it especially if the attorney is expecting it. Another scenario is that when you call, the attorney may not be available on that day; do not stop there. Get a calendar and write a date that you are going to follow up.
If you are giving the attorney a day or two to call you back and they do not return your call, do not give up, make sure to follow up. Following up is very important in this business. The key to success in just about any sales transaction is to follow up. And don’t take no for an answer. If you cannot get a hold of a person, you keep following up and you keep reaching out to that person. Don’t take no for an answer. If you really want something in life, you have to go for it.
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS FOR FUTURE BUSINESS
Fifth and last, an important rule to remember is that many of these attorneys are really good resources for your future ongoing probate real estate investing business. The beauty of probate real estate investing is that it is not one-time deal. Probate is a business. It goes on during good economic times and during downturns. It is truly recession-proof. Keep in mind, attorneys may have clients, who for whatever reason, may have a property that is need of a buyer or investor.
This is where you the probate real estate investor comes in. You have to let that attorney know that you are there for them. Treat them with professionalism and with courtesy after a conversation. Thank them for their time. Send them a card in the mail and say, “Thank you so much for your time.” That shows appreciation and goes a long way. Invite these people to lunch. You will be surprised at how many attorneys are willing to get out of that office and spend a little bit of time at lunch with you. Never forget, probate real estate investing is a relationship business and dealing with attorneys is an ongoing relationship that you should continue to nurture and grow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ernie Vargas provides more real estate investing information, especially for the novice and sophisticated probate real estate investor but also applies to anyone who wants to be successful in real estate. Stay up-to-date at ProbateFox.com and while you are there, don’t forget to sign up for Ernie’s popular, no-cost online probate real estate training course!