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Your Complete Guide To Skip Tracing For Real Estate Investors

7 min read

The real estate market gets more competitive every year, so even with increasing property values and an endless parade of success stories, you need to work to remain competitive. This is especially true when you wholesale properties, but it applies to all forms of real estate investment. To stay ahead of the other players in your area, you need ways to access leads they do not have. That’s where skip tracing comes in. It can be a powerful tool to find potential commercial property acquisitions and homes to flip if used correctly.

What is Skip Tracing in Real Estate & How Do You Use It?

If you have never heard of skip tracing before, it’s the art of finding someone who has skipped town or otherwise taken measures to lay low. It involves public records searches of various kinds, as well as a little investigative work. It is primarily used in debt recovery and bail bond work but can also be a lead generator for real estate acquisitions. Skip tracing can get you the contact information you need to reach out and make queries when you locate potential properties that may have owners who are motivated to sell. This is great for finding absentee owners, those behind on mortgage payments, and others who may not have easy-to-locate contact information.

Pros And Cons Of Skip Tracing

Like any tactic, skip tracing has its ups and downs. Among its main benefits are the ability to find potential sellers you might not otherwise reach and access information about other properties they hold if they are motivated enough to sell inventory. These things make it a beneficial tactic when property owners respond positively, but when they respond negatively, there can be downsides.

• Some potential sellers view it as an invasion of privacy and shut down out of principle even if they are inclined to sell

• Skip tracing tactics must remain carefully within the law for the jurisdiction in which they take place to avoid potential legal consequences

• Effective tools require a capital investment like any other business resource

All told, these cons should lead you to skip trace judiciously, but not to avoid it. When you get results, the return on your initial investment in time and professional tools is well worth it. 

What Types Of Property Leads Are Best For Skip Tracing?

The range of property leads you can find with the right skip tracing tools is quite impressive. Not many lead generation utilities manage to hit everything from single-family homes in up-and-coming neighborhoods to empty lots open for development. Here are the specific types of leads that will most likely turn up when you use this tactic:

• Tax delinquent properties of all kinds that need to sell to resolve the lien

• Absentee owners

• Owners of vacant properties or empty lots

• Empty nesters who may be inclined to downsize homes

• Pre-foreclosure properties

• Growing families who may need to move up to larger homes

• Recently divorced or widowed owners, as well as those who are recently deceased

As you can see, the range of properties you can find under this umbrella of owner types is practically unlimited. That makes this an excellent tool for wholesaling properties to other investors if you need to locate leads in areas about to pop quickly. This lets you move ahead of the competition, picking your pet projects and turning the rest to other well-positioned investors.

What Are The Best Skip Tracing Tools?

You can’t go wrong with tried and true methods like public records searches, phone book lookup services, or even a trip to county records. To streamline it all while optimizing costs, it helps to have digital skip tracing utilities like Batch Skip Tracing to do all the work for you. With an existing database covering contact information for almost the entire country, these tools put the information you need to reach out right at your fingertips.

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