I can give you an answer from my personal experience.
My father died when I was 12 years old.
Immediately, after my father's obituary was published in the local newspaper, a number of the local REALTORs who read the obituary columns to look for possible business descended on us to get the listing on our home. However my mother and none of us children wanted to sell our home.
In fact we were absolutely terrified of the prospect that we might now be forced to sell our home at the worst possible time. .
From my perspective as a 12 year old boy, many years ago, the REALTORs who descended on us and wanted us to sell our home and give them the listing, merely looked like a pack of vultures to us, at the worst possible time while we were trying to cope with my father's death.
That was many years ago. Now that I am a Real Estate Broker myself, my observation is that I do not see how you can be perceived as anything but a vulture if you contact that family for any reason.
I would say, that in my opinion, John Sourby has the best approach. Market yourself to Attorneys who handle probate cases if you want to specialize in probate sales, and make certain that you have the specialized expertise that you need to handle probate sales effectively.
I realize that in the case that you present, all of the children are adults, and some just want their share of the inheritance as soon as possible. But in many cases one or more members of the family have a sentimental attachment to that family home and want to keep it.
Now the problem becomes one of: how do you get the money to satisfy the heirs that just want their share of the inheritance, and still save the home for the family member or members who want to keep the home.
if you can solve that problem for them, you will get some dedicated family members who will send you referral business for years to come.
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
You ask a legitimate question which no one answered.
Clearly you want to avoid any language containing probate.
However, you are fully able to offer help in the many dimensions of asset management the family must deal with. Be aware, you have many, many resources the family is unlikely to have and will need. In the season of others need is the time to extend your helping hand and guidance.
Best of success to you
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
I don't blame you for trying, but I wouldn't.
The best idea I can conjure, is to send a note or a postcard to everyone in the neighborhood, telling them that you are specializing in that neighborhood and are seeking referrals. In other words, trying to blanket the area so that you do not appear focusing on the bereaved family.
We market to probate attorneys who handle multiple estates every year. Not only is this a more efficient way to market that results in more listings, but it also keeps us from looking like ambulance chasers when the attorneys recommend our services.
Have a look at the "Services For Properties In Probate or Trust" page on our web site. This is not something untrained agents should do without adult supervision.
Also be sure you understand your State probate law. If the estate does not have an attorney it is safe to have one look over the paperwork to be sure there are no "hiccups" when you find the buyer.