As a real estate investor, you know how difficult it is finding sellers and getting in touch with them. Today, a lot of homeowners value their privacy. So how do you contact motivated sellers whose information is not easy to find?
Skip tracing is a wonderful tool for connecting with people whose contact information is inaccessible. If used properly, it’ll give you accurate phone numbers and addresses, even for absentee owners. Misused, you could actually alienate people and abuse privacy laws.
What is Skip Tracing?
In its most basic form, skip tracing is a means of finding people who have gone “missing” (i.e., off the grid). These people, be they persons-of-interest, witnesses, debtors, or other individuals, are trackable through public or private search engine databases, and skip tracing software provides their location and contact data.
How can Real Estate Investors Use Skip Tracing?
Skip tracing runs down public records and other data sets unique to real estate, while also performing extensive web searches, so it can do more for real estate investors than traditional methods for finding sellers. But what does it search? A skip trace yields results from a number of sources, including but not limited to the following:
- Registered mailing addresses
- Property deeds and titled assets
- Credit reports
- Criminal and civil court records
- Yellow and white pages
- Publicly accessible obituaries
- Web and social media accounts
- Professional organization directories
- Business license registrations
As you can infer, you can skip trace prospects in a matter of seconds to find properties that meet your needs and requirements. You can then compile leads into a list, a spreadsheet maybe, with names, addresses, and phone numbers, all verified and correct, and either you or your sales team can start calling.
Skip Tracing Do's
Real estate investors often use skip tracing to reach homeowners who don’t have much investment in their property anymore. They are motivated to sell fast, and if you can make a deal, you’ll flip a neglected property that otherwise would have just sat.
So what do you do to make skip tracing work for you? Here is a list of best practices, so you can make the best use of traced information:
- Have a game plan: what kind(s) of properties are you looking for? What is your budget to purchase? How much money are you willing to spend on repairs? How soon do you want to flip after you buy? Know what you want, so you can seize it.
- Employ skip tracing tools which access multiple levels (or tiers) of owner information.
- Skip trace a high volume of contacts in bulk, all at once, to get high accuracy matches via Batch Skip Tracing.
- Keep a record of homeowners, their properties and contact information, so that when you call, you can engage them in conversation.
- Craft an ideal message for each homeowner, based on their situation, so that they do not skip out again.
Every homeowner who is motivated to sell is likely compelled to because of a situation that is beyond their control, so be tactful in your approach. Do not come across as “another investor out to make a buck.” Be the solution to their problem.
Skip Tracing Don'ts
Skip tracing is the fastest way to track more leads, and thus close more deals, if you know How to Be Fearless When You Call Motivated Sellers. However, when skip tracing, there are considerations, because of the nature of the data and the laws that apply:
- Do not invade a homeowner’s privacy when seeking information. There are limits to what you can do, as a professional and a decent person.
- Don’t scan private records or data that’s legally protected or confidential. If it’s not available to the public, it’s no one’s business.
- Do not manually trace or do any footwork that requires a private investigator’s license.
- Never look for or access information if it breaks local, state, or federal law.
That last one seems obvious, but we have to say it because it is a real concern. Always research and be aware of laws and regulations about skip tracing, or hire a service that does.
GoForClose sources good data with ethical skip traces. We never source phone numbers and addresses from private, sealed records. Our methods are thorough but lawful, and we provide a quality report of distressed properties in your area, with verified numbers to call.
GoForClose Skip Traces the Best Data Available
Like most investigative services, accuracy is highly dependent upon who you source information from and the quality of their information. Skip tracing does most of the heavy lifting, but it really comes down to who can deliver the most accurate information from the most sources with just a few clicks.
At GoForClose, we care about quality, not quantity. We utilize four different skip trace providers and perform ongoing multi-tiered batch skip tracing to get the most accurate numbers for you. You can provide your own list, OR you can have us build a motivated homeowner list, if your market is still available, with NextData. Our internal database with over 150 million properties pulls from many unique data sets, so our list is built off 92+ motivation factors. It all comes down to your needs and requirements, and the type of property you want to buy.
Better still, if you prefer to focus on closing deals, we can market to leads for you through our automated marketing campaigns. Your Inside Sales Associate (ISA) will talk to and nurture leads, prequalify and provide a warm transfer to you when it’s time to deal.
If you have questions or are curious to know more, request a free consultation below.
April Henley is a Professional Writer and our Content Developer. She has 5 years of Real Estate Industry knowledge, and 8 years of experience writing copy for various marketing initiatives. She came to us from a Fortune 500 Real Estate Company (Lennar), where she co-created content for a partnership with Amazon and wrote a variety of multichannel, multipurpose pieces for home buyers and owners.