Below is a question I received from one of my students earlier this week and my response to her. I felt it could of benefit to others so I’m sharing it here.

Hi Ernie,

I am getting ready to reach out to some probate attorneys here in my major city. I am a bit stuck on what or how I can provide a benefit to the attorney. Any thoughts? 

I am looking for something to have me stick out. Attorneys are so always time oriented that I feel I need to be quick, precise but be able to have an impactful discussion about my services.

Thanks

Great question. There are three answers for this question:

1. The benefit that you provide to attorneys? 

You bring a real estate expertise that they do not have. You can help with comparables. 

You can help with property acquisition that is especially important when a property needs to be sold quickly. 

It is also helpful to have you around when it’s a property that is full of problems such as squatters, evictions, or run down houses. 

The service that your title company offers you is usually something they do not have.  

If a listing is what the seller really wants, then you can bring your agent of choice that you personally endorse. 

A big challenge that often occurs in probate is that the court appraiser will determine the value to be retail which often times is incorrect. But if you can bring in your contractor and/or an estimate of what the repairs would be on this property; that would be a tremendous help for the estate and for the court appraiser. 

Your job here would be to make the attorney look good in front of their clients and to take off the day-to-day tasks that come with the liquidation of real estate for this attorney. They really should only be concerned with the legal aspects of the probate case and not the actual liquidation of the real estate. 

2. What attorneys in specific are you looking for?

Estate planning attorneys because they will have houses that need to be sold. These houses will bypass probate; however, they still need the same urgency in terms of selling.

Probate attorneys who are mom and pop businesses, especially need your support and are lawyers whom are usually open to your joint services.

As you work with your sellers stay in contact with the attorneys that facilitated the probate case for them. You will then have a proven track record with that particular attorney so it would be time to nurture that relationship after the closing.

3. How to convey your value to the attorney? 

Yes, time tends to be a limited factor for these attorneys. However, you’ll find that the majority of them struggle when it comes to marketing and attracting more business for themselves. This is where you have more of a specialty as a real estate professional. You can share some marketing tactics with them and also let them know that you would like to refer clients, as many of the people you work with are in need of preparing their estate, plus the fact that you are in a business where everybody needs a probate attorney because of a death in the family (Believe me when people hear that you are working in probate they will come to you). 

Attracting attorneys can be interesting depending where in the country you are working with them at. If it’s any major city and they work for a big law firm then that would be a bit more difficult to develop a personal relationship but not impossible. However, many of my students have followed my advice and have actively prospected attorneys by inviting them out to lunch and have been received positively which has developed into great relationships with continuous referrals from these attorneys. 

It’s all about a relationship and it’s all about always being in their presence whether you’re sending a card, email, voicemail, message etc. but if you can schedule periodic in person lunches or coffees that would be especially fantastic.

To your success,

Ernie “Helping Students Out” Vargas