Many real estate investors will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on direct mail and yet the benefit on this marketing choice is next to nothing. But the smart real estate investors are turning to skip tracing to provide a much higher quality process for locating buyers and seller. Larry Higgins is a skip trace expert for real estate investors and he is willing to explain how and why his process provides such a great return on investment.
In a very competitive market, such as the one we are in right now, it can be difficult to find good quality buyers and seller. The money spent on letters and postcards is pretty much wasted. But skip tracing allows you to find the people that you are looking or to make those great deals. Traditional skip tracing was created to find people who have skipped out on their debt. Creditors were trying to track them down to get paid.
But in the real estate investment field, you are simply trying to find the person who owns a specific property. You might want to purchase a specific property, or you could feel that the house looks like it could have a motivated seller if you could only locate the person. Often times this applies to vacant homes which are not listed for sale so you have no way of contacting the owner. But in the time you would spend writing out a mailer or letter to leave on the houses in the neighborhood, you could locate the owner and have a phone number in your hand.
Skip tracing can also be very useful when you determine that the owner of a house that is looking particularly rundown is deceased. Now you need to use your search skills to locate the heirs of this homeowner and see if they are ready to make you a great deal on the property. Using free resources on the Internet such as obituaries, free people finder sites, social media, and even Google can be a great way to determine who is in control of a home for an estate and how you can contact them to make an offer on a house that is sitting empty.
What Is Skip Tracing Used for in Real Estate?
Real estate investors, sales agents, and others in the field use skip tracing to locate property owners, usually so that they can convince those owners to sell. Investors looking for stock for wholesaling or projects to flip frequently look for distressed properties or those in probate because they are not on the market yet, so their competition is lower. Sales agents and brokers acting as sellers’ agents use them for marketing their services for the same purpose and using similar techniques.
- Postcard outreach
- Opt-in messaging through text and email
- Targeted social media advertising
In addition to these shared strategies used by many professionals, some also use skip tracing to get phone information. This allows for a cold calling approach that puts a little more of a personal face on the entire process, but it requires finesse because not everyone welcomes that kind of outreach right away. Regardless of the contact method you select, the contact information needed by real estate professionals can be found with skip tracing.
Cost of Skip Tracing Services
Many services require a monthly subscription fee for a certain level of access, usually expressed as a number of record deliveries. Those costs can range from $99 to $1500 per month, depending on the number of licensed users on your account and the service plan you select. There is typically no contract, but it is up to you to cancel the service or downgrade your plan if you rely less on it in the near term.
BatchSkipTracing takes a different approach, offering you a flat rate cost of $0.20 per result. If you only use it a couple of times a month, you could pay out just a few dollars to get the contact information you need to act on your leads. That’s an incredibly low cost to try things out, and it remains affordable even when you’re requesting records in bulk.
Pros & Cons of Skip Tracing
Using skip tracing to find contact information is often the only way to quickly get messages to absentee property owners, which is one of its significant advantages. You can do public records searches yourself, source by source, but that is time-consuming, and it might turn a property deal unprofitable to put that much time in upfront. Of course, there are some downsides as well.
- Privacy & telecommunications laws to observe & remain compliant with
- Possible backlash from reaching out to a personal phone number or private address
- Not everyone has contact information that shows up in skip tracing
The best tracing resources out there offer tier-1 data resources, which are the most up-to-date public records out there. Still, you may not find a way to reach out if someone has not changed their old contact information with the post office or signed a new lease or mortgage since moving. Those situations are rare, though, and good skip tracing services can quickly find 99% of the population.
Still, thinking about whether skip tracing is a suitable investment for your real estate business? Keep these core points in mind:
- Signing up with BatchSkipTracing is free, and it gives you the chance to check out how everything works before you pay for a trace
- Results are just $0.20 each so that you can explore this option for just a dollar or two
- Searches run in seconds, and full reports are complete in minutes, so you don’t have to spend much time finding contact information for your leads
There’s not a lot else to say if you still need convincing. Give it a try today.