Real Estate Skip Tracing Tactics
Tools and techniques to Help you find the owner of a vacant property
Some real estate owners are tough to find and believe it or not, that’s a good thing! You see if they’re hard to find that means that most if not all other real estate wholesalers and investors will give up looking for them if they even try at all. Now I’ll admit it can be frustrating if you don’t know where to look but never fear. I’ve put together this real estate skip tracing page to help walk you through the process.
Below I’ll walk you through the tools, techniques and websites that can help you find those hidded property owners, but first lets answer the question:
What is Real Estate Skip Tracing?
Real Estate Skip Tracing is the process of locating a property owner’s whereabouts. “Skip Tracing” is the process of performing this task, which may be done by an investor, wholesaler or it can be performed by an independent skip tracing company. The term “skip” (as a noun) refers to the person being searched for and is derived from the idiomatic expression “to skip town,” meaning to depart (perhaps in a rush), leaving minimal clues behind to “trace” the “skip” to a new location.
Now that we’ve defined real estate skip tracing let’s move on to the techniques, tools, and websites that will help in your efforts.
Step #1 – Find The Owners Name
Let’s imagine you’ve driven by a vacant house and you want to find the property owner so you can contact them about buying the property. The first thing to do is find the owners name, and you can do this by checking online with your county tax assessors office to see who name is on the tax records. Finding this online is typically pretty easy just “Google” “
If you are a Realeflow Member you can look up pretty much any property in the country and find out who owns it and the property tax billing address. It’s also much easier to navigate than your county website so if you’re not a member I encourage you to take a minute and check out everything it has to offer.
Alright, now you have the property address and owners name, so let us move onto tracking down their current location…
Step # 2 – Skip Tracing Websites (People Search)
I love free stuff, and in today’s world there are a lot of great open source resources for skip tracing property owners, and currently, my favorite is Fast People Search. Not only does there information seem to be pretty accurate for a free site they also provide available phone numbers, email address, aliases, and their relative’s names.
Once you find the property owners name enter it and check out the results. In many cases, you’ll get lucky, and their new address will pop right up, and your job is done, but of course, that’s not always the case. Also, remember the information differs from one website to the next so find a few favorites and check them all when looking for a property owner.
Below is a list skip tracing website’s you can check out and remember to bookmark your favorites for later use. You can also check back here from time to time because I’ll update the information on this page as new resources become available or as these become obsolete.
My Favorite Free Skip Tracing Website
Highly Recommended: FastPeopleSearch.com
My favorite free search website by far! I love that it gives you instant results and doesn’t try to up sell you to a premium service. I’m praying they don’t change this site and keep it just the way it is.
My Favorite Premimum Skip Tracing Website
Ask anyone that’s been in the real estate investing business for a while what the best real estate skip tracing site is and they’ll probably say TLO, and I’ll admit their information is pretty darn good, but there’s a small problem… TLO doesn’t want real estate investors using their services. (or so I’ve heard)
Now some investors and wholesalers are successful in getting accounts with them because they’ve been coached on how to do it. (or so I’ve heard) But my guess is if you’re successful getting an account that you might not have it long because they do frequently audit them to look at your activity (or so I’ve heard)
Problem Solved! Microbilt has the same great information plus they’re a leader in the Alternative Credit Reporting Business (bad credit) Which gives them access to more information and that could help you in finding more real estate owners. In addition to great data Microbilt might offer you some great pricing on skip tracing account because you were referred by The Wholesalers Toolbox (but I’m not allowed to say) So fill out the form by clicking here and ask them for yourself (remember you need to have a business to apply for an account)
My List of other Skip Tracing Websites
When I first put this page together most of these were pretty good websites, but now many redirect to other sites that will only let you view results when you upgrade to a premium membership. Also, many of them do this weird thing like they’re scanning for results and it takes forever… it’s very very annoying.
I recommend the websites I mentioned above but if you like click through the list and see if you find any others you prefer to use.
Step # 3 – Social Media Networks
Finding property owners through social media can sometimes can be done in a matter of minutes, especially if the owner has a name that isn’t common. I’ve found my fair share of property owners by searching for their name on Facebook and LinkedIn. Once you locate someone you suspect is the owner just send them a quick message asking if they’re the owner of the property and ask if they are thinking about selling.
Step #4 Skip Tracing with Google
As basic as is sounds just doing a quick google search for the person might turn up some results. Skip tracing can be tedious work but you could be one search away from a good payday so leave no stone un-turned. The best way to find someone using a search engine is just put their name (or variations of their name) in quotations. Example: “Jonathan J Homeowner” or “Jon Homeowner” and see what results you get, you might just hit the jackpot.
Step #5 Advanced Skip Tracing Tools
If you’re not tech savvy this likely isn’t the tool for you… But if you’re a wanna be private detective then this might be right up your alley. Inteltechniques.com is a website designed for individuals who want to be trained in open source intelligence techniques. I’m not recommending you sign up for their training, (although it would probably very interesting). What I do suggest is you take a look at their Free Tools Page and you’ll notice the links on the far left of the page for their custom search tools, giving you access to 100’s of online search resources. So for you advanced real estate skip tracers check them out at Inteltechniques.com
Step #6 Offline Skip Tracing Techniques
Send Them A Letter – There are also a few offline tricks you can try when your online search hasn’t turned up any results. First try sending a letter to the owner of the house. Mail it to the vacant property address and write “do not forward” “return service requested” on the envelope. If they have forwarded their mail with the USPS the letter will come back to you with their new address written on it.
Leave Them A Note – Secondly you can try taping your letter on the door with blue or red painters tape (easy to peal off & won’t damage the door) and write “Property Owner, Confidential” on the front of the envelope. If the owner has one of the neighbors keeping there eye on the house the letter will get to them. we’ve used this method time and time again with much success.
Visit The Neighbors – Believe it or not just asking the neighbor works well. Go knock on the neighbors door and tell them you’re an investor trying to locate the owner and you’ve exhausted all other resources. Many times you’ll find a compassionate person that will tell you were the owner moved to.
Help Us Put More Tools In The Skip Tracing Toolbox
Using this information can help you track down more property owners and the more skiptracing you do, the better you’ll get at it. Just use your head and follow their trail using the best online sources and offline techniques you can find and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of great success!
If you know of anything useful I haven’t mentioned here, please use the form below to let me know about it.