Finding leads is the heart of real estate investment, but not just any leads. It would be best if you had motivated sellers in neighborhoods that match your data about the next areas to be developed widely. You also need to ensure you have the correct contact information, especially if the potential seller is another investor with a long list of properties in inventory. That’s where skip tracing can help you get an edge that can not be gained with just MLS data and neighborhood demographics.
What Is Skip Tracing?
Skip tracing is the art of finding contact information for people who are not advertising their whereabouts. The term is used primarily in debt recovery and bail bond work, where finding someone who has skipped town or skipped out on an obligation is a part of the business. Using the same techniques, real estate investors can find owners who are behind on tax or mortgage payments and those motivated to sell for other reasons. What you’re capable of learning about the potential owners is only limited by the quality of the data available in your search results. The more diligent your search, the more you have to go on.
How To Skip Trace & Find Real Estate Leads
If you have ever looked up someone’s contact information using a public record search, white pages lookup, or similar directory services, you have performed basic skip tracing. Private investigators and others who use the technique regularly may also check:
• Vehicle registration lists and county deed registries
• Small business registration and ownership information
• WHOIS directories for web pages relating to the property or person of interest, if any
• Debt records and tax liens against the property
• Public records that may contain addresses or contact information for the owner
• Public-facing social media
• Public records of family relationships like those found on genealogy websites
When you are looking for real estate leads, the most crucial information will be that they pertain to properties the person owns and ways to contact that owner. If you get additional information, you can pinpoint possible selling motivations that allow you to make a directed pitch. Consider these examples:
1. Age & ownership record information corroborates family records that indicate an empty nester who no longer needs a large home for kids that still live in the house
2. Property deed records uncover a large number of vacant buildings owned by a single absentee owner who has not developed them in years
3. Tax liens indicate the property will be seized and sold if the debt does not get resolved soon, motivating the potential seller to consider offers that take care of the mortgage and tax debt
4. Debt records point to an owner with easy to find contact information and a mortgage that has entered the pre-foreclosure stage of default
There are good reasons for the owner to become a seller in each of these cases, the owner in question may not be considering a sale yet. If you reach out based on the leads you get from skip tracing, it helps to know enough about the property and its owner to make an informed appeal to the needs that the individual faces.
Benefits of Hiring A Skip Tracing Service
Doing the work of skip tracing on your own is laborious because there are dozens if not hundreds of public records databases to search. Services do that heavy lifting, but they also do a lot more. By curating an up-to-date pool of data that combines the records from as many public-facing sources as possible, they give you the ability to learn everything you need in a single search. It’s like having a digital private investigator on subscription. To learn more, contact our team and tell them about your investment goals and information needs.