Off-market properties are the hottest area of real estate investment because the pool of operators with access to the leads you are working with is a lot smaller. That small pool is due to the different skills and commitment to the work it takes and the need for specialized tools like skip tracing options that let you track down property owners.
What Is Real Estate Skip Tracing?
Using traditional skip tracing techniques to track down property owners is the most common reason to use skip tracing in real estate. Some property management professionals and long-term investors also use it to trace tenants and prospective tenants. Still, tracing owners who may be motivated to sell is how real estate agents and wholesalers find business.
1. Find the Owner’s Name
There are many ways to find a property owner’s name. You only need one that works for your research style.
- Real estate map search apps
- Pre-foreclosure lists
- Public records of property deeds and titles
- Tax lien lists
Once you have the owner’s name, it’s a matter of figuring out how to get in contact.
2. Skip Tracing Website
More and more real estate investors use bulk skip tracing tools to find property owners’ contact information. Batch Skip Tracing is a popular choice because of its price structure. You only pay for the results you pull, so it is easy to control costs. Each result is a flat cost, too. You don’t have to run large-skip tracing batches to make it cost-effective, so it works as well for small investors as for large property management firms. Results are compiled into a report, and you receive them electronically within 48 hours of running a search.
3. Utilize Social Media Networks
If you use a high-quality skip tracing website that provides you with access to top-tier data sources, you may get social media profiles back as part of your trace. Otherwise, you can go looking for them yourself by searching for accounts in the property owner’s name. This takes a little time, but it is free. Consult the search on each social platform to see if there are any public accounts in the property owner’s name, then either message them or check for other contact information like a phone number or email.
4. Skip Tracing Through Google
Google can also be an excellent resource for contact information. It indexes public social media profiles, personal and professional web pages, and directories like the online yellow and white pages. That allows you to search many online resources at once. It still only provides a search of the surface web and active social media platforms, so it does not return as much data as a skip tracing service.
5. Offline Skip Tracing Techniques
Private investigators provide local skip tracing that uses offline techniques to find people. Those might include interviews with locals near the last known addresses or discussions with past employers. Be careful trying offline techniques for yourself because most states require you to have a private investigator’s license to do skip tracing work.
Which Skip Tracing Option Is Best for You?
Using a paid skip tracing site or app is usually the best option when looking at the labor involved with tracing on your own and the costs of hiring a private investigator. The key is to find one with access to the best, most up-to-date information out there. Current pre-foreclosure lists, property records, and active phone numbers listed in directories like the white pages are essential to a skip tracing service’s performance. Keep that in mind as you check out options and costs for your next batch of property owner searches.