Real Estate Investing | How To & Education
Divorce Public Records: Should Real Estate Investors and Realtors® Say, I Do?
What Real Estate Investors and Realtors® should know about using divorce public records as a lead or list source.
Like marriage public records, there are divorce public records. Many real estate investors and Realtors® consider divorces, one of many life events, to be a great list source, often referred to as motivated sellers. And for a good reason. Divorces do sometimes result in property sales and purchases.
The ability and promise of easily direct marketing to a list of divorce public records attracts many real estate investors and Realtors®, often inexperienced, to purchase divorce public records from a list source.
Experienced real estate investors and Realtors® will tell you it’s complicated to leverage divorce public records list sources as quality leads. Why?
By the time a divorce is recorded and made public, it’s likely too late for you to get in the game. Savvy real estate investors and Realtors® have been in the game long before the divorce is made a public record.
Here we outline the major factors to consider if pursuing divorce public records a lead source, as well as the proven and targeted direct marketing tactics that includes uncovering your own divorce leads among many life events and long before they end up available from a list source.
Divorce Rate is Down
Not to put too fine a point on it, but divorce sales don’t happen as often as people think. Research shows the 2015 divorce rate landed at 16.9 per 1,000 married women age 15 or older. That is down from 17.6 in 2014 and a peak of almost 23 divorces in 1980.Know too, that the rate of marriage is also decreasing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2000 to 2015, the rate of marriage per 1,000 people went from 8.2 to 6.9.
In the majority of divorces, one of the two parties end up staying put, a fact that shrinks the number of opportunities.
Existing Relationships Are Hard to Beat
Experienced investors and Realtors® will tell you that if you intend to make divorce events your game, knowing your market means developing close relationships with divorce attorneys. Every divorce attorney has a go-to list of investors and Realtors® to refer to divorcing couples at the right time, and they carry a lot of influence with their clients. In a divorce where a sale of real estate is required, and the couple is not-cooperating, it is the attorneys, not the couple, that choose the real estate agent.
Real Estate Agents
Everyone knows a real estate agent, especially divorcing couples.
If their agent is better than most, they’re regularly in touch with previous clients. While that’s not the norm, you’re still up against their onslaught of advertising
.A couple or individual considering divorce is likely to reach out privately to an agent in their sphere of influence to gauge the market. This means investors and agents with no direct relationship to the couple or individual are outside that sphere of influence and, again, far in advance of a divorce public record becoming visible.
There’s a chance you can lock down the agent and dangle a cash offer and quick close. However, cash offers are common today, and an agent’s broker may require the home to be put on a local MLS, especially in inventory-starved locations.
Again, relationships are the key. A good Realtor will have at least three to five investors on speed dial and can direct the right deal to the right investors within minutes.
If there’s a bankruptcy following the divorce, expect additional delays. Granted, bankruptcy sales don’t always attract the same amount of competition, so it may be beneficial to stay tuned to its progress. It’s worth noting that for many couples, financial distress occurs after the divorce. Often it can be worthwhile to track the property and the individuals long after the marriage has ended.
Give thought to sending a letter or door-knocking to introduce yourself as an option for a home sale. If you found them through an attorney, ask for an introduction. Also keep in mind that once a home enters the foreclosure process by way of a notice of default, it’s no longer an inside game—it’s on everyone else’s radar as well.
Direct Marketing Remains the Most Effective
If you’re in the divorce chasing business, understand you may experience some uncomfortable feedback on your efforts to buy a struggling couple’s property. But when you get a positive response, what you heard before will cease to matter.
Use PropertyRadar to build lists and send letters; or, uncover email addresses and phone numbers. Be direct and honest in your approach.
In summary, few homes get sold as a direct result of divorce and focusing on divorce public records data as your primary lead source is unreliable and most likely too late. Because of that, divorce public records are only good for one thing: knowing who got divorced.
If divorce-based transactions are going to be your game, the most valuable way to cultivate leads is to know your market and the players within. Those players make up a diverse ecosystem of professional stakeholders such as lawyers, financial planners, CPAs, Realtors®, and property managers.
Life events like divorce can be a source of deals, but relying on divorce public records will prove to be frustrating as you find yourself repeatedly late to the game. If you’re willing to build relationships, know your market, and invest in targeted local marketing, you may enjoy great success at the expense of everyone else buying divorce public records as their way to compete with you.