The biggest distinction is that when working probate leads, you can get through to the executor of the estate (decision maker), while inheritance leads can get you in front of heirs that may have no influence into what happens to the property.
Armed with probate leads, you can start a conversation with the executor/administrator that has been appointed by the probate court to divvy up the estate.
In contrast, inheritance lists provides you information on heirs that has no say so. They may not have seen Uncle Harry in 40 years. By populating a list of heirs, you can easily get a burgeoning list of people that can't make decisions and thus, throw away your marketing dollars. Imagine getting a database of 1,000 people that have passed, and add in two or three heirs. You now have thousands of contacts to reach out to, with a great many of them unable to sell the estate home. You can discover that up to 2/3 of this list is useless.
Another drawback to inheritance lists is the volume of undeliverable mail. It's been estimated that ~20% of the US population moves in the course of a year. The providers of these lists concede the fact that there will be a sizable amount of returned mail and will offer a credit to preempt the irate calls after the mailer goes out.
At first, it may be tempting to invest in an inheritance list that seemingly has a lower cost per unit. Yet when you factor in the fact that you are not reaching the decision maker that has any say so in the estate, and even then have returned mail because of bad addresses, the cost is much higher than using authentic probate leads.
At the end of the day, probate leads lower your cost per acquisition and increase your return on investment.
Diamonds and cubic zirconium may look the same, but there’s a big difference in worth between the real gem and a lollypop ring you can get out of a vending machine. Such is the distinction between probate leads and inheritance lists.
I have a few other investing articles here on this real estate blog if you want to check out more information on Probate Investing. Don't forget to check out REIClub's 4 FREE Probate Investing training videos and pick up on some tips and tricks for working on probate investments deals.