If you’re looking for free skip tracing tools for real estate, you should be aware of the risks and cautious about your approach to such tools.
Table of Contents
- What Is Skip Tracing in Real Estate?
- Skip Tracing Cost: What to Expect?
- 3 Options for Affordable or Free Skip Tracing Tools for Real Estate
- Bottom Line: Should I Use Free Skip Tracing Tools for Real Estate?
Skip tracing started gaining online traction in the past few years due to people’s concerns regarding their personal information and how their data is being shared. As more people became aware of skip tracing services, what is a skip tracer and how it is all done, the use of skip tracing only increased, especially when it comes to the real estate market.
Since skip tracing is a method of obtaining information that is typically difficult to find, it is now considered one of the most used services in the real estate industry for the off-market data it can provide.
But what is skip tracing exactly, and are people’s concerns justified when it comes to being traced by real estate investors and professionals?
In this article, we will explain what skip tracing is, how it’s done, and what are the best skip tracing services and free skip tracing tools for real estate?
What Is Skip Tracing in Real Estate?
The general term “skip tracing” is the act of obtaining information or details about someone by tracing public records and connecting the lines. In real estate, skip tracing is mostly used for tracing property owners to purchase a property that they own.
When they want to sell properties that they own, homeowners typically use public listing records by working with an agent to facilitate the selling of their property. In many cases, however, property owners might choose not to work with a professional or get their property listed for sale to the public.
Such properties are referred to as “off-market” properties because they are not listed on the official real estate market. However, they are an important part of the market nonetheless, as they sometimes turn out to be the best investment opportunities.
Due to the rising number of investors who require skip tracing real estate services, several skip tracers and skip tracing services have emerged recently that trace properties as a business model.
Of course, it also means that several skip tracing software and platforms were created, as we will later see. We will talk more about the platforms in the below section on paid and free skip tracing tools for real estate.
How Do You Skip Trace in Real Estate?
Before talking about the skip tracing real estate tools that you can use, let’s first talk about the process of skip tracing and how it is done. While there are free skip tracing tools for real estate that are available online, the process of skip tracing existed long before the age of computers.
Since property ownership always requires certain information to be made available to the public in the form of tax records and such, anyone can practically skip trace properties, including you. Although, being a skip tracer isn’t really a simple task.
It is why most people rely on either hiring a real estate professional to provide them with information about off-market properties and homeowners or using paid or free skip tracing tools for real estate.
Generally, here is what each method entails:
Doing the Skip Tracing Yourself
The DIY method is a good and free option if you want to skip trace properties in your local neighborhood and if the number of properties you want to skip trace is small.
The best place to start with such an approach is a visit to the county’s tax assessor’s office. You can find a wide range of information related to property ownership if you have an address. By using the information, you should be able to trace the current property owner.
To make the process more efficient, you can use other mediums, such as social media or word of mouth, to obtain information about the owner and whether they want to sell or not.
Hiring a Professional Skip Tracer
Hiring a real estate professional to help you with your data collection is the most common practice for skip tracing real estate. As a real estate investor or home buyer, you will probably be hiring an agent to assist you.
Real estate agents are the most common source of real estate data because they can access the MLS. However, off-market properties are not listed on the MLS. What real estate agents can do to help in such a situation is to obtain the data from a professional skip tracer who specializes in identifying property owners through public data.
It is becoming a very common service in the real estate industry, with some companies and professionals offering batch skip trace of properties in an entire neighborhood all at once. Be wary, however, as some skip tracing services might be illegal and might resort to undesired practices, such as sending unwarranted messages to property owners.
Skip Tracing Software
The most recent development in the world of real estate skip tracing is the rise of skip tracing software and online services. Whether you’re looking for an automated platform with an AI that can batch skip trace entire markets or an online skip tracing service provider that operates through a website – there are plenty of options to choose from.
While hiring a professional is a common practice, it is a somewhat costly one. On the other hand, Skip tracing platforms are often a cheaper option.
Additionally, many skip tracing platforms can provide the results in minutes compared to requiring days or weeks for a real estate professional to obtain them.
Of course, while there are platforms that only offer skip tracing, the best skip tracing services will often offer additional features and services that investors might be interested in.
Skip Tracing Cost: What to Expect?
If you’re looking to use a skip tracing tool or hire a professional, you probably want to know how much it will cost you. However, there isn’t a straightforward answer to that.
When it comes to hiring a professional, if you hire a real estate agent, you will pay the agent fee upon closing a deal. If you want to work directly with a skip tracing service or professional, you can expect to pay per record you want to get. The fee can range between $1.00 to $5.00 per record for a typical skip tracer.
The issue, however, is those skip tracers usually only work with agents and only provide batch skip tracing data because it’s simply more practical for them. It is also why it might take longer to get this data from a professional. You will need to wait until they do batch skip tracing for the entire market before they can give you the data that you need.
What About Skip Tracing Software?
As for using skip tracing software, the prices work differently. When looking at skip tracing software, you’ll find that most of them offer much more than skip tracing. The majority of the websites specialize in a wider range of real estate tools and services, with skip tracing being an added feature that you get with the rest of the kit.
For this reason, it is possible to get free skip tracing tools for real estate by subscribing to a platform that you need for other uses. At the same time, however, it means that you will often have to pay a larger fee for the entire kit, even if you’re only looking to use the skip tracing feature.
Free Skip Tracing Tools for Real Estate: Good or Bad Idea?
Using any tool or service that is offered for free or at a suspiciously low price usually requires a lot of consideration and caution. It is because any company or service provider ultimately aims to make a profit.
If you’re using a service and it’s not clear to you how they’re making a profit, then it’s a sign of concern as it means they might be profiting in shady ways. Of course, it doesn’t imply that all free tools are malicious.
Nowadays, it’s very common for companies to offer free tools and services as a marketing technique for advertising and selling their paid features. So, whenever you’re using free skip tracing tools for real estate, you should ask yourself what they’re getting in return and whether or not they’re clear about it.
However, as you will see in the next section, the best skip tracing service providers typically offer multiple paid plans with sets of features that make them unique and useful to buyers and investors.
3 Options for Affordable Skip Tracing Tools
The following are our top picks when it comes to affordable skip tracing tools that are easy to use. We chose the following tools because they offer unique and very useful features, in addition to the accuracy and potency of their data.
1. PropStream ($99 per month)
If you’re a real estate investor and you’re looking for a platform that offers a wide range of useful tools, then this is the one for you. PropStream is a platform that specializes in providing several features that are not limited to skip tracing services.
The platform offers a robust Customer Relationship Management system for real estate investors and professionals who want to establish a strong and efficient list of leads. It also includes a website builder and automated marketing campaign capabilities, making it a comprehensive CRM system.
To gain access to PropStream’s skip tracing service, you will need to purchase the full PropStream subscription plan for $99 per month, which gives you access to all the available tools and features.
When it comes to their skip tracing PropStream pricing, you will need to pay a fee of $0.12 per record or $0.10 if you use the list automator add-on, which costs an additional $27 per month to use.
While $0.12 per skip trace is considered one of the cheapest options in real estate, the monthly subscription cost might be off-putting for users who don’t need the other features.
2. Skip Genie ($58 per month)
If you’re looking for a platform that specializes in skip tracing, then Skip Genie is an excellent option.
The founders of Skip Genie built the platform because they needed it for their own use. The platform is optimized for reliable and consistent data, accessibility for new users and beginner investors, and speed.
While Skip Genie doesn’t offer any additional features or add-ons, they do provide coaching on finding motivated sellers in real estate and how to negotiate and close deals.
Skip Genie Pricing
The pricing model of Skip Genie is unique in that although they only provide skip tracing, they do have a monthly subscription plan. However, what’s interesting is that for the price of $58 per month, you also get to conduct 100 monthly searches.
It means that the price per result is $0.58. If you want to do more searches, you will only need to pay $0.12 per search. Of course, if you’re only looking to do a few searches, perhaps Skip Genie isn’t the best option for you.
3. Mojo Skip Tracer ($49 per month)
A unique feature of Mojo Skip Tracer is that it offers unlimited bulk skip tracing. The tool is excellent for professionals who want to build a large and expansive list of leads that they can target with automated marketing campaigns.
However, the downside of using Mojo is its average hit rate of 50%. It means that around 50 out of each 100 leads that you upload might not get you any results.
So, it’s good to use it for tracing a large number of properties for doing a market analysis or comps, but not for getting reliable data on specific properties.
For $49 per month, you get access to the skip tracing tool. You get a hosted lead manager for an additional $10 per month.
Mojo’s pricing means that you can get unlimited bulk skip tracing for a total of $59 per month, which is considered the cheapest option that investors can find.
Bottom Line: Should I Use Free Skip Tracing Tools for Real Estate?
While there are free skip tracing tools for real estate, the best things in life rarely come for free.
Skip tracing is such a crucial step in real estate investments, as off-market properties can be the best properties for investing in today’s highly competitive market. With the recent drought in newly built houses, off-market properties are gaining more importance.
Although there are many ways to skip trace properties in real estate, skip tracing software is becoming the best option for investors to use. Even though free skip tracing tools are available, it is recommended that you use paid options that offer skip tracing as a feature and provide additional services and tools that you will need.
Finally, if you’re looking for a place to find off-market properties for sale or rental investment properties, perhaps you should use Mashvisor.
Mashvisor can help you find properties that you can skip trace and attempt buying while providing rental data and return on investment projections about the properties you might want to buy.
To start using Mashvisor’s real estate investment tools today, click here to sign up for a 7-day free trial followed by 15% off for life on your subscription.