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Ryan G. WrightSep 28, 2020 1:00:09 AM7 min read

How Do You Skip Trace in Real Estate? 

Getting the best deals as a real estate investor may entail locating home owners of vacant and abandoned properties. As we covered some effective strategies of contacting the owner of a vacant home, vacant homes can be a gold mine for real estate investors as you can buy them at a price lower than market value.

But how can you find the owner of a vacant home? One of the best ways to locate homeowners is called skip tracing. This blog post aims to provide vital information on how you can skip traces in real estate to locate property owners who might have skipped town.


What is skip tracing in real estate?

Skip tracing in real estate is a term used to describe a process of tracking down the location of a property owner that has skipped town. The process can be quite cumbersome because these homeowners may not leave any hint regarding their whereabouts. So, trying to locate them may prove to be quite a herculean task.


Uses of skip tracing in real estate

Skip tracing in real estate is mainly used to locate the whereabouts of a property owner. Using skip tracking in real estate, we are trying to find the following information of an owner:

  • Property address
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Current address of the property owner

Debt collectors also skip trace to track debtors who have defaulted on their loans and skipped away from their residence. Bounty hunters also make use of skip tracing to track down their target.

The average cost of skip tracing

Every real estate investor knows that both time and cost-efficiency are of the essence.  Investors tend to favor selecting a skip tracer with the lowest cost and, at the same time, an impressive turnaround service.

The skip tracing cost also depends on some other factors, such as the intricacy of the search and the pedigree of the skip tracer.

With this in mind, how much would a typical skip tracing cost? Some skip tracers with a better track record could charge as much as 10- 25% per skip trace. You can also find low charging skip tracers who demand as low as $10 to trace about a 100 – 200 property leads.

For cases that are much more complicated, you might need to hire a skip tracer with current and more sophisticated tools, and you may pay as much as $50 – $100 for a very meticulous search.

The majority of skip tracing outfits would want their pay in full irrespective of their search outcome. However, some may only demand an administrative fee but operate on a no find no pay agreement. You must consider the charges and competency of different skip tracing services before picking the best that meets your demands and budget.

How do you perform skip trace on a property owner?

There are many ways you can choose to use while skipping tracing the owners of properties. Let us take a look at some of them.

#1. Hire a professional skip tracer

Skip tracing in real estate can be quite tedious and also time-consuming. To save you the stress of going through the procedures yourself, you can choose to hire a skip tracer’s services. Most skip tracers have the needed tools to carry out a thorough and effective search on homeowners who might have skipped town. There are several skip tracing platforms you can contact if you choose to hire a professional.

#2. Do It Yourself

Hiring a professional to carry out a skip tracing may not be feasible for all real estate investors due to the cost and other factors. Some investors may choose to skip trace by themselves.

Using this approach may require you to dig out a lot of personal information about the property owner. Information about property owners in the United States can be gotten from the tax assessor’s office where you can find a vast collection of relevant data regarding property holding. You can check this blog post telling you useful ways to contact the owner of a vacant house.

#3. Use of skip tracing software for real estate investors

Skip trace in real estate has evolved. Today, you can find specialized tools that have made the process not only easier but accurate. Real estate investors are leveraging on skip tracing software to land profitable investment deals. The use of skip tracing software in real estate allows an investor to carry out a comprehensive investment property analysis.

For example, you can also try The Investor’s Edge software, which is an investing tool to help you find vacant homes and contact those owners through postcards instantly.

This software can streamline the process of investing and also enable you to find property owners in a quick time. You can choose from several skips tracing software for real estate investors to use.

Tips on how to start to skip tracing

‘How do you skip trace in real estate?’ is a question asked by many individuals who are new to investing in real estate. The following tips and suggestions can be very useful if you are about to start to skip tracing.

Set out your goals

Before you begin to skip trace, you must set out your intended goals and outcome. What you intend to do with the property should form the basis of your action as a start to skip tracing.

Collect leads

You can begin by writing down the addresses of distressed properties that you believe the owners would be willing to sell. It would help if you focused on key identifiers, including the full name, gender, age, and last known address of the subject. Ensure you do not over-stuff your search with too many fields.

Do your research

Social media sites are good platforms you can use to search for owners of properties. You can as well run a Google search on the names of the property owners to get more information about them. Here are common websites to start your research:


Organize the data you have obtained:

Ensure you properly organize your data once you have gathered them. Make sure there are no mistakes in the spelling of names or addresses of your subjects. Note that only relevant data should be considered as it provides you a better chance of finding out new information on your subject.

Pros of skip tracing in real estate

Skip tracing comes with several advantages that could be very beneficial to the user, which includes the following:

More investment opportunities.

Skip tracking provides a vast array of investment opportunities: Shrewd real estate investors are capitalizing on the gains of skip tracing to dig up the owners of properties you are interested in and strike up a deal. I made tons of mistakes and including finding good deals on the market is the most important thing for real estate investing.

It takes time to learn and you need to prepare for that.

Find good deals

Get access to low competition deals.

It gives an extra edge to the investor as there would be little or no competition: Several real estate investors are reluctant to commit their time and resources to skip tracing. As a result, an investor who goes all the way in contacting the property owner in question may end up being the only investor with an offer. Thus, giving you the leeway to strike a much better bargain with the owner of the property.

Easily generates investing prospects

Shopping for deals by real estate investors could be quite tortuous and also time-consuming. However, skip tracing makes it easy to create a list of prospects and reach out to them.

Cons of skip tracing in real estate

Despite its immense benefits, there are still some downsides to skipping tracing, which includes the following:

Data may sometimes be misleading

There are situations when a property owner’s data may not be only misleading but entirely false. You might be spending time and resources digging up information of property owners that might be outdated and inaccurate.

Some property owners may want to go under the radar by changing their identity, contact information, and in some cases, their social security number.

The cost of skip tracing can be high

Several real estate investors do not engage the skip tracers’ services due to its high cost. Furthermore, you might end up paying for a service without results as the skip tracing procedure may not yield the expected results. However, you might be lucky to find a skip tracing company that offers a no find, no pay policy.

Lack of guarantee

Despite the rigors, you might face finding and contacting the owners of abandoned properties, the homeowner may still decide not to sell. So, there are no guarantees that committing resources to skip tracing would always give you the best bargains.

Final Thoughts

In real estate, skip tracking may sound complicated and time consuming, but if you use the right tool, it may save you lots of time such as Investor’s Edge. At the same time, you can have much higher chances of getting a better deal that will boost your investment profit.

Learn how all this works by attending our next webinar.