Skip Tracing For Real Estate Agents

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What is Skip Tracing?

Real estate skip tracing is primarily a process of locating a person. Usually, it is used to find a property owner who may be motivated to sell. Locating these owners allows real estate professionals, investors to find listings and excellent deals.

Any serious real estate investor needs to be well versed in skip tracing and using skip tracing tools in order to get contact information from otherwise hard-to-locate owners, like maybe absentee owners. While direct mail has traditionally been used to track these owners, skip tracing can be immensely more effective.

Using the system, it is possible to find homeowners which other investors have not been able to find, which means your odds of closing a deal with a motivated seller is higher are higher.

Most real estate investors rely on snail mail, but you can be perhaps the first person to call the owner directly with a way to help them out and sell their property to you. If anything, they might have not even thought of selling their home, but now that you bring it up, it can be a viable option that they consider.

How Does Skip Tracing for Real Estate Work?

While skip tracing may sound a little basic, it also happens to be one of the most effective ways to locate a property owner. The way this process works, in a nutshell, is to get the property owner’s contact information, which can be quite challenging to do.

In real estate, skip tracing is the process of finding the owner.

Usually, real estate investors are looking for:

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Many absentee owners or those who are out of state will not leave their current address lurking in public records.

However, they almost always have a forwarding address that’s registered with the National Change of Address (NCOA), which makes them easier to track down.

The catch is that the postal service isn’t obliged to provide you with that person’s forwarding address or tell you who the person is, even if you have a valid reason. That’s why we need to use the best skip tracing tools available to locate the owner of a property.

Fortunately for everyone, skip tracing software allows you to find who you need to contact. Launch Control is a service/software that can help you search for and find the person who owns the property in the shortest time.

While you can also search for the owner using a search engine like Google or on social media platforms like Facebook, but usually these channels don’t reveal much information. Also, if you don’t know who the owner is, i.e., their name, there is no starting point for the search. That’s why using paid skip trace services saves a great deal of time and consequently money.

Once the property owner’s information has been confirmed, you can then contact the person and determine if they are willing to sell. Often that will mean helping them through the sales process or providing them with information about their situation, which motivates them to sell.

How Do Real Estate Skip Tracing Companies Work?

Skip tracing real estate companies and even private investigators by and large work a lot like how an individual investor will perform their own skip trace. Generally, it requires walking through six steps, which should help you land an excellent deal.

The Plan

When it comes to skip tracing, you should plan to succeed. Think about what your intended outcome should be for the lead. Do you want to purchase the property? Or list the property for sale on their behalf? So, you start with your exit strategy. Then create a follow-up strategy so that you are ready once the target has been identified. Once you have done this, you then visualize how the subject will look based on your intuitiveness and gut instinct. You want to understand their situation, then use your imagination and creativity to approach the owner.

Get Leads

Skip tracing for real estate investors will require you to find out who owns the property. That means getting an address or the property owner's name, if not both. Usually, sellers who are facing the prospect of foreclosure, or are delinquent on their taxes, or are absentee landlords are more motivated to sell. One of the ways it works is to find distressed properties and note down their address. Now, this is a lead. The other way to find sellers who may be motivated to sell is to buy a list of property owners likely to sell.


Good real estate investing is all about research. You can start by searching the internet for information about that property and hope to find the person who owns it. It is surprisingly easy in some cases to find a lot of information on social media. Make sure to check popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Try finding their phone numbers in online directories like,, and

Get Organized

You want to format the information collected. The format should be easy to share with a professional skip tracer (if you hire one). However, you will also need the information if you are using a service like Launch Control. You will need the address of the property at the very least as the starting point, if not their name. You can check real estate skip trace reviews if you are in the market to hire one.

Upload Everything

You then want to upload your list of leads or the lead into a skip tracing service like Enter the address, phone, and name of the person. The software will then pull up a full profile of the owner in addition to their contact information.

Finally – Make Contact

You have now been able to do what many debt collectors get paid for! You have the information needed to get in touch with the prospect. Get in touch with them, and work your magic to help close with the seller.

When Should You Use Batch Skip Tracing?

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It is the most common type of real estate skip tracing and also happens to be the most beneficial, usually used by wholesalers and real estate businesses to locate contact information for a long list of prospects.

It is also called bulk skip tracing and mainly involves finding the contact information of a large list of property owners. The fact that real estate skip tracing is comparatively easier makes bulk skip tracing a more effective strategy. The goal is to find the property owners’ name and their phone number(s).

The name and address can then be used to generate a mailing list with a contactable phone list. This is another excellent batch skip tracing method. Furthermore, generating leads using bulk skip tracing is cheaper since it allows you to focus on more motivated sellers. It also helps increase ROI compared to other methods.

What Types of Properties Are the Best Candidates for Skip Tracing?

Skip tracing helps investors in many different ways. However, there are a few types of leads where skip tracing shines, especially for investors looking for motivated sellers.

Tax Delinquent Homes: Often, homeowners that are behind on their taxes and owe money are more motivated to sell.

High-Equity Homes: Usually, these are people who have over 50% home equity in the property.

Absentee Homeowners: Usually, these are property owners who are from out of state or those who own a second home or possibly multiple properties. They happen to make up the highest number of people who may be willing to sell.

Vacant Homes: Now, these have remained vacant for more than 90 days. All mails delivered to these homes are never answered.

Empty Nesters: These are a category of homeowners whose kids have left for college or may have started their own families. So, they may be interested in getting a smaller home.

Growing Families: If two people in a relationship have a baby within 24 months, they may want to get a larger home so that the toddler has space to crawl and run. So, they might want to sell the current home and upgrade to a larger one.

Homes Owned By Seniors: Usually, these are people over 72 who may want to downsize their property for some peace of mind.

Old Listings: These happen to be homes that were on the market for a pretty long time but still remain unsold.

Dead owners: Homes owned by people who were recently deceased or their trust.

Corporate-owned: Usually these are properties that are part of an LLC or an entity that has multiple properties and might be interested in selling.

Pre-foreclosure properties: The owners have received a Notice of Default because they have consistently been behind on their mortgage payments

Recently Divorced: Properties held by partners who are now divorced.

What Do Real Estate Skip Tracing Companies Charge?

As a real estate investor, your time and the cost of tracing someone are important. That’s why when searching for a skip tracer, you want to find someone that charges the least while at the same time provides a service in the shortest time.

On average, skip tracing services for real estate investors will pay depending on who they choose and the complexity of the search, in addition to a few other factors. Some can pay as low as $10 to hire someone to skip trace up to 200 properties. Others may charge $1-2 per property lead; some charge $10-24 per skip trace, mainly because they claim to provide more accurate results.

We often tell people that they should expect that a portion of the phone numbers they receive will be disconnected lines or ones that are out of date. So, you might want to account for this when you determine a budget and take a look at the performance metrics.

Alternatively, you can use software like Launch Control, which charges a monthly fee for thousands of monthly contacts. Usually, this works out to around 0.15 per phone number. In addition, you get unlimited text messages, property details, and drip campaigns.

What Should You Do After Skip Tracing All the Leads?

After you find the property owner, the next step is to contact them. You should have a follow-up system in place, with a script and database for all the conversations. A free Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) like Google Streak can be used to keep track of everything.

Make sure that you can collect lots of information about the property from the owner so that you get the best deal.
The critical component here is to understand the current owner’s financial situation, which will tell you if they are motivated to sell the property. Also, the more solutions you offer the prospect, the higher the odds of you seeing better results.

Finally, hire a real estate attorney to draft a binding contract to buy the property or give you the rights to maybe list it. Make sure all parties sign the agreement, then it is up to you to close the on the property.

Final Word On Real Estate Skip Tracing

Skip tracing in real estate is an excellent way to remain ahead of the competition because you’re reaching real estate prospects that nobody else can reach, and thus, that will result in more sales. If anything, it also helps you stand out from the competition.

Skip tracing requires that you spend money, but you can save time and consequently money while achieving your goals with the right approach. That’s why it is a method that smart real estate investors use to seek out properties that nobody else may know of or care to try buying.