What Is Skip Tracing?

Magnifying glass and a book

The Problem with Debt-collecting

Sometimes, collecting debt is an immensely straightforward process. You simply need to locate the debtor, contact them, and they might pay what they owe.

However, that’s not always the case. On many occasions, debtors might be difficult to find, which is why some debt collection agencies use skip tracing to manage the issue.

Finding property owners why want to avoid legal responsibilities can be a challenging experience. Thus, skip trace tactics allow you to search public records, contact people who might know your debtor, verify their information, and much more.

The only way to collect the money people owe you is by contacting them first. Therefore, skip tracing tactics are convenient if you want to quickly locate your debtor. Overall, two-thirds of American consumer debt consists of mortgages and credit cards, which shows that many people have issues paying off what they owe, especially when it comes to real estate.

Sometimes, the skip tracing service is even in the debt collection process since it ensures property owners can locate debtors if they have to.

Solving the Issue: The Skip Tracing Process

Skip tracing work might sound like a daunting process at first, but it’s extremely convenient if you want to avoid issues later on. Although not all real estate investors use skip tracers, you should know the basic aspects of skip tracing.

You could, for example, hire a skip tracer to do the job for you. However, you would need to invest money, which might not be convenient if you’re on a budget. Other professionals can use skip tracing tactics as well, such as private investigators, journalists, attorneys, etc. Nonetheless, the methods are more popular among debt collection agency experts.

In an effort to avoid you, your debtor might change their address, contact information, and much more. Consequently, you may not be able to locate them. If you’re a skip tracer, you can ensure you’re able to find them and collect the debt, which is essential for you as a business owner.

Local laws protect the skip tracer, especially if your debtor is trying to skip town or keeps changing their contact information. Even so, it’s hard to understand all the details unless you’re aware of the most important facts on the subject.

How to Know if You Need to Use Skip Tracing

The first requirement to use skip tracing tactics is to, obviously, have a client who’s not paying you what they owe you. Nonetheless, that’s not all. Just because your customer is not answering your calls doesn’t mean you have to become a skip tracer.

Fortunately, due to the advances in technology, nowadays, you have more than one option to contact a debtor. You can easily go online and find them on social media platforms, call them on the phone, or write an email.

If none of that works, and you have proof that your debtor might be skipping towns and changing their information to avoid paying off the debt, then you should consider implementing skip tracing techniques.

Skip Tracing in Real Estate

Real estate investors can rely on skip tracing methods to achieve many things. You could, for example, locate distressed properties, or identify the owners of specific types of properties.

Overall, skip tracing methods offer you different types of information you may need depending on the severity of your issue. If your debtor skipped town, a simple search in Google might not be enough. Nonetheless, in other cases going through social media or Whitepages could get you what you need.

Skip tracers often have a number of options available to get all the information someone needs. Thus, collection agencies rely on a vast majority of methods they use in the process of locating the person you’re looking for.

Furthermore, in the real estate world, skip tracing might also help you if you get information on the property, such as the mortgage details, the price, everything on the last sale, and so on.

Services and Options You Can Explore

When you are a real estate investor, you might have to rely on different skip tracing techniques. However, with skip-tracing software, you could save time and energy since the programs help you easily find what you’re looking for.

Private investigators offer specialized services as well, and you should consider that if you believe it’s a better way for you to locate individuals.

In some cases, a skip tracer might not be able to find all the information they need in public databases. Therefore, you may need more alternatives than just going through public records. Using software to help you or hiring a debt collection agency could be a solution for you.

The Skip Tracing Process Itself

Suppose that you already tried to collect the debt or get specific information about a property you’re interested in. Nonetheless, you’re still not able to find what you need.

Skip tracing might be the best option for you in that case. It typically consists of specific steps, which are the following:

The Skip Tracer Has to Verify the Information

Some debtors simply change their contact information and forget to update it, or might unintentionally lose track of the debts they owe.

Consequently, the first thing skip tracers do is to verify the debtors’ contact information. If everything goes right, you might be able to quickly contact the person after that.

They Find Public Information

When you’re unable to contact a debtor, the next option available might be to find more information on them. It’s a time-consuming process, and many people get frustrated as well.

To locate the debtor, skip tracers might go through public records and search through court records, travel history, social media, job and loan applications and history, credit reports, etc.

Contacting Friends and Family

If nothing else works, skip tracers could try to contact friends or family to try to locate the debtor. However, this is always the last method you should use since people might not be willing to help you.

How a Skip Tracer Gets Things Done

Collecting information is not necessarily hard, but in many cases, it can be immensely frustrating and take up a lot of time. Therefore, many real estate investors often use software to do the job.

Additionally, skip tracing might prove to be unsuccessful sometimes, which tends to happen if your research skills are not the best, or if you simply don’t have the right tools to do the job. Even though finding phone numbers may not be hard, you need more than that on some occasions, especially if the debtor is purposefully ignoring you.

Even though there are options available (for example, software), some programs might be too expensive for you as well, which might make you wonder if you have the resources you need.

Debt collection is a complicated process for some, which is why skip tracing exists. It’s an immensely useful strategy for someone in the real estate world, but it also requires you to work hard. Thus, you should consider all your options since the sheer amount of time and energy involved might make you want to find a professional to do the job.

Should You Hire Skip Tracing Services?

If you’re in the real estate world and you have a non-paying and non-responsive client, you might be wondering if skip tracing is the right option for you.

Up until now, you may have tried all the available alternatives except for skip tracing. Even so, your debtor might still be unresponsive, or you might be unable to find the information you need on a specific property.

Fortunately, skip tracing services exist. However, you need to evaluate your alternatives before deciding since they can be costly.

You could, for example, rely on skip tracing programs for your debt collection process. Thus, you don’t necessarily need to hire someone to do the job for you.

However, if you prefer experts, they can often offer other services as well. In many cases, skip tracing professionals charge an hourly rate, whereas several companies require you to pay a monthly fee, especially if you’re planning on doing many searches.

Lastly, some agencies work on a contingency-fee-basis, which is convenient if you want to save some money since the experts can only charge you if the debtor pays what they owe.

Keynote Takeaways

Not all homeowners are responsible people who pay their debts when they have to, so skip tracing methods might be what you need to implement to ensure you are able to find them. Even though it may be a tricky process at first, you could try to do it yourself (software) or hire professionals to do the job.

C.L. Butler

C.L. Butler

I wholesale and flip in my home market of Indianapolis. I've developed some great relationships with people all over the world that I wouldn't normally be exposed to if it wasn't for the power of real estate.

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About Me

I’m a real estate investor with a passion for technology. by leveraging technology and services you can reach your financial and business goals quickly and efficiently 

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