The opportunities are endless in real estate; anyone with the passion and willingness to work can easily find them. This much is true for today’s guest, Al Nicoletti, who found his passion as a probate lawyer and, consequently, a huge market for probate real estate. In this episode, he talks about the massive opportunity for investors in this field. Al takes us across his career journey that led him to Jacksonville and, later on, growing to become a podcast host, content creator, and educator to investors and realtors. With his growth, Al shares how he deals with the challenges by time-blocking and delegating. He then gives us a view of the current market and probate deals opportunity available. Join this conversation and learn more about probate real estate. It could be the right niche for you!
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Probate Lawyer Al Nicoletti Shares The Current Market & Probate Deals Opportunity
We are excited. I’m super excited. We have Al Nicoletti with us. Al, welcome to the show. It’s such an honor to have you.
Julie, thank you so much for having me. Gem, it’s so nice to meet you. It is crazy when we get to hop on a show and are in the same group but still hasn’t formally connected. It’s the power of being in a network that’s so big. I’m happy to be here with you. It’s going to be a fun time.
We are excited to have you. Why don’t we start with a little bit about who’s Al? Can you tell our audience where you came from and where you are at professionally and business-wise? We would love to hear that.
I’m originally from Miami. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. I played music for so many years. I was a violinist. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I got out of school. I went to college for music and played there. I then realized, “I got to do something here. Do I want to go to do medicine? Do I want to go into pre-med? What was it?” Eventually, I thought, “If music wasn’t going to be the thing that made me money because I want to make money, I wanted to do something that was. Why don’t I go to law school and combine law and music, maybe do some entertainment law thing, go from there, and see what that’s going to be about?”
I had the bright idea of going to law school, not having a clue what I was getting into. When I went through school, I didn’t grab onto much as we went on until my third year studying for the bar. I took one class. They called it cyberspace. You can write anything on music. You can write anything in the software field. I learned so much about the Entertainment Law industry and realized that wasn’t where I wanted to go.
I found an interest in real estate. One of the subjects that I loved to study on was the Real Estate side. I thought a lot of the things in the mortgages, estates, and all that stuff were crazy. Studying for that was huge. It was the craziest thing. I passed the bar. I got out of school, got out of the bar, and had to get my first job. I went back to an old mentor of mine who took me under his wing. I worked for him. He did tons of real estate foreclosure defense and closings. I enjoyed the subject. My first job was that. I got submersed into that world.
Fast forward a year to two years later, in foreclosure defense, once in a while, you see things with probates and estates. I started dabbling in a bunch of different things in that real estate world. All of a sudden, one of my best friends offered the law firm up here in Jacksonville. They needed somebody to come in and be an attorney up here. I took the job and moved to Jacksonville. It was at that time in between when I realized that there was a huge market for probate real estate and a massive opportunity for investors.
I hit the four-year mark in August of 2022. That’s crazy. I didn’t even take the time to realize that. Working for four years in Jacksonville, I went around, spoke about it, networked, and talked to people about it. The model, system, and idea of how probate real estate can be huge in the real estate world took off for me. I got my podcast that’s going. I do tons of content creation and videos that are all on social media. I love educating investors and realtors all over Florida at masterminds and bootcamps.
You could say I’m a podcast host, content creator, and attorney. The thing that we will talk about too is that I transformed my life in the last couple of months. I dropped 68 pounds. I needed to do it for my life. I needed to do it for myself. It’s a crazy reflection on how the last couple of years went because I finally feel there’s control. Having gone through all that was crazy.
I cannot believe that. I went through a similar experience.
Yes. I lost over 30 pounds. It changed my life.
It does because it changes your mindset.
I can do hard things. Even on my worst days like now, I did not want to get up. I did not want to do that incline. I did not want to do those legs but I got up and did it. I’m glad I did. How relatable. When you get into that regimen, it’s part of your mindset. Health plays a big role, believe it or not. I believe in our success because, physically and mentally, we can get worn down. Physically keeping your body as healthy as possible helps, especially with your mindset.
What you feel about yourself is your mindset but it makes you feel so much better about yourself. It contributes a lot to your confidence which your confidence is shown in everything that you do. That’s amazing.
You are right, Gem. Julie, you were asking me how old I am. Since the weight loss, I’ve had people tell me I look twenty years younger.
I thought you were 28. I was like, “How old are you?” It’s because you were like, “I’m a lawyer.”
It feels great. I’m young. I’m a lawyer. I got my practice and business. It’s crazy. What was happening before was more chaos. I went on out on my own back in March 2021 in my firm. That was a crazy shift too because, at that time, I was already driving so many leads from all the speaking and the events I was going to. I had the ability to be able to jump and do my thing. When I did, it was just me and my assistant. I didn’t have a whole marketing team. I was marketing. I had some outsourcing but I didn’t have all of that.
It’s crazy that a year later, I have two assistants, a marketing team, and people that help me with wild things in closings. It’s grown, and because of that, that’s when I was able to make the shift. I saw a huge gap between June and July 2022. I knew I had a team that I could delegate to. I said, “If I don’t do this now, it’s not going to happen. I need to do this to be able to calm the chaos.” That was finding the opening. It was finding that perfect window, and it worked.
One thing that has been crazy is that I used to be terrible at traveling. I couldn’t get anything together. I don’t know what clothes to pick out. I didn’t know what to bring. I didn’t know what to eat. That’s the worst thing when traveling like where do you eat. It has all come full circle. I know how to pack. I know how to bring things. It’s changed my whole business. It’s because of doing those small things that keep me at high performance always, which you need to be in your business.Doing the small things keeps you at high performance always, which you need to be in your business. Click To Tweet
You mentioned the travel thing. I got off the road from traveling every month for over a year and a half. When I did lose the weight and incorporated, “I could do this on the road,” that was a good mental change for me as well. I knew I could do this regardless of where I was.
You have to be able to focus on that.
What is working in your business, and what are some of the things that you are focused on?
Some things that we’ve had to make a transition on internally with the files are a lot of the systems and processes that we have in place. When we get inbound calls or leads, how do we get it over to the assistant, and how do we schedule things? I used to do blind consultations. What’s a blind consult? It’s taking the call and having no documents and no information. We are making notes and then hoping that we get everything. I did that because I couldn’t help it. I wanted more of the business.
As I built the team, they were like, “We can’t do that because we are the ones working on it. We need all this stuff.” I’ve learned how to retrain my mind on, “How we get these documents more efficiently and vet sellers better on the deals.” A lot of times, sellers have questions. They are not necessarily in action mode to send you the documents, get things over or sign the contract. What they are doing is trying to either inquire or get a price quote and figure out what’s going on. We’ve gotten better at doing that.
By doing that, I realized we filtered out many leads and got quality leads. The vetting processes worked a lot better. Also, delegation within the firm has helped. That was a hard thing for me to do because on the weekend, I was working until 4:30 or 5:00 AM some mornings back in March 2021. I was eating too at the same time.
I was doing the same. I hired a COO, and my life changed.
You can sleep. You can say, “This is your role. This is my role.” That’s worked a lot, too. I had to learn and have to do it. It’s like the tricycles on a bicycle. At a certain point, you have to take them off. It is what it is. You are going to find your groove. It’s going to get a little rocky here and there. Maybe you are not going to do the hill. You are going to do the mountain. It’s going to be bumpy but you are going to figure it out eventually. There’s no way you can keep scaling and growing to a mass volume or high volume business by doing what you were doing before.
I hear so many investors talk about that at masterminds and networking groups about scaling and delegating. When it happens to you, and you start realizing that, you are like, “I’m so tired of being in the business. I want to be more on,” but you still got to be a part of that and help move it. It has never been better doing that stuff. That has been huge.
I want to hear about time blocking. I’m in the phase where I have a COO but I’m still in the phase of wanting to know what the heck is going on every second. I have to learn to let my team trust my team. They are all highly qualified and trained, so I don’t have a concern but it’s something I’m used to.
To piggyback off what both of you were saying in terms of delegating, it’s all about trusting the people that you’ve hired to do as good of a job as you. That trust is what pulls people. It’s like, “I’m so used to doing it or who could do it better than me?” That delegation is like, “I trust you.”
That’s a lot of it, too. By doing that delegation, you show that you trust them but at the same time, there’s that level of responsibility. It’s hard when you are the one that has done that for so long. I had a conversation more with myself and with my assistant but more about myself about, “I need to do more time blocking.” As lawyers, there are things we need to review. We can’t help it. Both of you are in real estate when you are looking at the bank account numbers, you can’t depend on the assistant for the bank account numbers. When it’s money, it’s you. It’s the same thing as lawyers. We always got to be the ones reviewing that file. It’s us at the end of the day.By delegating, you show that you trust your people and, at the same time, put that level of responsibility. Click To Tweet
I work for one.
It’s a different world. The time blocking has worked for me to where I’ve gotten, even health-wise. That’s how I learned it big time. I didn’t realize that time blocking was also known as a no-go zone. A no-go zone means it doesn’t matter what’s happening. At any point, I’m doing what I’m doing there. I didn’t understand that before. It’s easy to block something off the calendar, and then somebody calls, and you get distracted.
I learned because my workouts are time blocked. It’s a certain time of the day. That’s it. There is nothing else. There are no phone calls or text messages. I don’t care what’s going on. It’s needed for two reasons why. One, it clears the mind of anything that’s going on that day. People think that you got to constantly be submerged in it. You got to decompress from it. You got to start thinking about what’s going on, too.
You also need the time to do it. I’m implementing what I did with the workouts and my health side of it into the business side. I’m going to be implementing times during the week. I had to go through a lot of mental preparation before a live show. I was doing fourteen consults before a show on a Wednesday night at 8:00 PM. I’m crazy like that but I realize that there’s no way.
You are drained. I do recordings and stuff all day. It’s Monday and Tuesday until 8:00 PM. I’m toast.
There’s no way. What I started doing was saying, “My workout is at a certain time. That’s time blocked.” I have a huge time block even before the show. From 12:00 PM to the end of the day, it’s a no-go zone. In that way, it’s a fresh mind. I get work done. I have time to do billing. I have time to do this and that. Investors, realtors or anybody reading, I don’t know where the audience is but they are in business in some way. It is so critical that if you want to keep moving and getting files going, it’s easy to get lost in the week. The way you keep it on track is by having these things.
People would be amazed to know some of the things like group emails and group conference calls. That’s another thing that has worked, too. Getting everybody on the same email chain sounds like a basic thing but people don’t do them. They don’t understand what that is. They will text. I can’t do text anymore. I want group emails. Everybody is on the email thread.
That’s what I tell everybody. I’m like, “Send it through my email, so I have a record. You can text me all day long and drop me WhatsApp things or whatever communication you have. If it’s not in my email, it’s not going to be one of the priorities because I’m not monitoring every single social media messenger or whatever the case may be.”
That’s what still happens. We get messages.
There are so many chat platforms.
There are many of these mediums. They will text on Google chat. I’ve tried to explain, like, “Everybody has got to be on the same page.” I get complicated deals. I will get ones where we thought it was 6 kids, now it’s 8 kids, and they can’t find 2 of them. The thing is, I love getting those leads if the deal makes sense and you get everybody but what happens? You get on the phone.
They think they are the only heir, and now there are eight of them, and you can’t do the deal without eight. That takes another step to get everybody on the phone to say, “Here’s why we can’t do it.” Conference calls, when doing this, makes everything easy. Everybody is on the same page. Everybody heard what was there. Everybody knows the next action steps. That’s a big thing that has worked. When I get high-volume investors sending probates, I do a conference call. That’s all I do.
Piggybacking off of that, I feel like so much usually falls through the cracks because everybody is not on the same page. You are right. As far as your process for communication, that’s very important.
Also, case review, too. I learned that early on when I was at the firm in Miami, about every Friday or every other Friday. I’m writing out a list of all the things that are going on and doing follow-ups. I get it. There is CRM A lot of people that are doing high-volume deals probably have CRM. Even then, things can sit in a CRM, and you may not know what’s going on or what the status is. It’s having everybody in a team on the same page as, “What’s happening with this one? What’s happening with Main Street? What’s happening with South Street?” Going through it, action plans move the files forward. These are huge business concepts that people don’t know about.
How busy are you, especially during this economy? What are you doing? Are there any things you are doing differently during this market or have you changed anything? Is it steady as normal?
It feels like it slowed a bit. It ebbs and flows. Business does. Back in early August 2022, it was at least 8, 7, or 10 calls a day with voicemails and everything. It keeps coming in. In a while, it gets a little quiet but that’s a good thing because what that does for me is to say, “If it gets quiet, I need to work on marketing.” If it’s so busy, I pause the marketing because I want it to swell, “I wanted to go like this, so eventually, it goes like this.”
When the Fed raised the points above 6% when they started doing that, I worked with a lot of wholesalers. They were wholesaling it out to hedge funds, and the hedge funds stopped buying. Some of them did, not all of them but a lot stopped buying. That affected me because I would wait until the closing to get paid. That means they can’t close the deal. They are looking for new buyers but new buyers didn’t want to pay interest rates like that. It became more of a price point for a buyer coming in and what price they wanted to buy it at with those rates.
For probate, I have never been busier in terms of volume. It ebbs and flows. You never know. All of a sudden, I can turn my phone over, and I got five voicemails. That’s how it happens. What will happen is that we will go with a family at the end of September 2022. In that entire week, it will be blowing up the entire time I’m there. We are going to see more of a market shift, especially maybe more foreclosures.
We will always see probates happening and more distressed situations. It’s always a good market for probate. I’ve explained this for four years. The one constant that is always happening, especially in Florida, is that people own property. They own it, die, and the kids or the siblings want to sell it. Until they sell it and get the probate done, they can’t sell it. You will see more as we go.
I’m in Texas, so I’m waiting for some foreclosures.
You’ve got good land over there, though. I’ve heard there are good land deals.
The land prices are a little ridiculous. It’s through the roof, especially where I live. We had friends looking out here. They wanted to move out here but they were like, “We can’t afford to buy the land out there.” They went about two and a half hours North of us towards Dallas to get more land. They have 11 acres. He’s like, “I wish I would’ve bought two.”
I was in Austin not too long ago. I love that area. It’s beautiful. It’s nice. I’m going to be in San Antonio, so I’m sure we will see stuff there. No matter where you go, everything is a hot market. It’s a matter of, “What are people going to sell it for? Are they going to be motivated? Are they going to do something?”
If you could give three takeaways, suggestions or tips for our viewers, whether they be newer or experienced investors, what would the three things be?
One, I would say build out your team for the investing side of it. For example, get your title company and check. Get your probate attorney or real estate attorney. Get your transaction attorney. Get an attorney that can help you with litigation matters in the event sellers back out or you got something weird going on. That has been a big thing. I saw a deal where the sellers signed the contract and then didn’t want to close.
You got to build that team, so you get some demand letter out there. Build your team. Build the people that will get you private money or whoever you got that’s around you. They could be mentors or JV partners. Sometimes, it’s a deal that you don’t want to take on or you want to partner on. Find someone that can help solve those issues as well.
The other thing I would say is to try to see if probate is that realm for you. Where we are headed with the markets and the Baby Boomer generation, I’ve talked about it for several years. I hear other people talking about it. It’s only becoming an increasingly bigger market. People in Florida, Arizona, and Texas are going to be big. Georgia is another hot one. It’s an opportunity where if you do it and you start getting accustomed to it or if you like it and you know other people don’t like it, you can say, “If you get those deals, we will help you or will JV on those.” That’s huge because you are only going to see an increase in that.
Also, I would say to make it an effort to keep networking with your community. Maybe you do wholesale, and you are connecting with end buyers. Maybe you are an end buyer, and all of a sudden, you connected with a wholesaler. You may never want to have the boiler room-style thing that some of the wholesalers have. I saw it and thought about that, “I would never want to have something like that. I want to be an end buyer. I would want to be the one having the Airbnb. I would want to have the law firm.” We are good with that.
Find people that you can network with that don’t necessarily do what you do. Those opportunities will lead to things that you never believed before. It may lead to more money, partnerships, and success. I see it in our local community that we have here in Jacksonville. I don’t do any of the stuff that some of these people do but because I either know them or they know me, it’s a connecting network. There is huge stuff out there for people to learn.
I appreciate you giving all that feedback. Do you have any final comments or notes that you want to tell our viewers?
If you ever need to find my content or where I’m at, you can check me out on Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, and Facebook. You can find me on all these platforms. I’m a probate attorney here in Florida. One thing I’m going to maybe try to work on is slowly building out knowing where these other attorneys are in other states. I finally connected with somebody in Illinois. I’m about to connect with somebody in New Hampshire. I’m going to connect with somebody in Kentucky and Colorado. I want to have a map and be like, “I got this one.”
Get some strings and connect them.
I have to put that in here. That was a great idea. I should probably put that as a map here in my studio. People are like, “What is it?” I’m going to be like, “I got an attorney here, there, and here.”
They will have headshots of each state.
You never know when that’s going to roll out. I’m only in Florida but when you start looking for people in other states, find attorneys and find people that you are going to jive with and network with. Build everybody up. That’s the idea that wants to help to get to the same common goal. Finding those people is very hard but it’s not impossible. It just takes time. Don’t give up.Finding people is very hard, but it's not impossible. It just takes time. Don't give up. Click To Tweet
For our viewers, it’s so important when building a company that you know your people and their strengths and that you are putting them in the right places to set your company up. Listen to all of the advice that Al gave. He gave such great information about you, your companies, and how you want to grow them. If you weren’t taking notes, I suggest that you read this again to jot down these things because that’s what’s going to help in making your success.
Al Nicoletti, I want to thank you for being on our show. It has been such an honor and pleasure having you with us.
Thank you to you both. It’s always great having conversations that are productive ones that help viewers out there level up their business. I hope it helps everybody.
It was so nice meeting you.
About Al Nicoletti
Al Nicoletti is a Florida Real Estate/Probate Attorney known throughout Florida as the “Prince of Probate” a/k/a “The Probate King.” As a Probate attorney extraordinaire, Al has carved out a unique niche in probate real estate issues for inherited property and is dominating the Florida market solving simple and complex probate matters that once stalled real estate deals. Al developed a strategy to structure probates so they are fast, efficient, and can wait to get paid at the title closing.
Al’s law practice is strongly focused on Probate, Quiet Title, Partition, and Trust Administration (the real estate title fixer). He has a no-nonsense approach and is dedicated to positive quality results, done fast, efficiently and the right way, working with real estate investors, real estate agents/brokers, and other real estate professionals. In addition to managing his law practice, Al has a live weekly podcast show, is an educational speaker, influencer, social media content creator and enjoys traveling the State of Florida speaking at real estate investor association meetings, bootcamps, and masterminds to educate audiences on unique real estate niches.