The Coronavirus pandemic has affected different businesses globally and caused a standstill even in the real estate market. Factors such as restriction of movement, the high transmission rates seen across the globe, uncertainty about the future, and the plunging financial market has affected the real estate market and the ability of real estate agents to conduct their businesses effectively. Although real estate activities have significantly slowed down as sellers, agents, and buyers try to consider the course of the pandemic and its effects on the financial market, determined real estate agents can still conduct their businesses through online platforms and telecommunication. Skip tracing is an effective way that real estate agents can use to find potential sellers.
What is Skip Tracing?
Skip tracing involves the process of seeking and obtaining information about people who cannot be located easily in their residential places, workplace, or any other areas that they might frequently visit. The process of skip tracing is commonly used by banking or insurance organizations to find fugitives or loan defaulters who are fleeing from the law. The process entails looking for any information about a person from their neighbors, workmates, family members, friends, or colleagues and connecting it to determine the location of the missing person. The information collected usually includes details such as phone numbers, names, physical appearance, place of employment, connections that the person might have in other cities, social security details, or any other reference information that can be useful.
Skip Tracing in Real Estate
In real estate, skip tracing is usually conducted by real estate agents, private organizations that work with real estate agents, or organization interested in purchasing a specific property. Real estate agents use skip tracing to locate absentee homeowners to determine whether they are interested in selling their property. Most absentee property owners abandon their houses due to factors such as time constrain, inability to find a suitable buyer, and disinterest in selling their house. For instance, homeowner might decide to move to a different location due to a job or business opportunity. The uncertainty of whether the individual would be able to get the job or succeed in the business will determine their decision to sell or retain their house. In most cases, the absentee homeowners being traced will leave little to no clues about where they are going, their likelihood of coming back, and their decision on whether they want to sell or keep their property.
Batch Skip Tracing
Batch skip tracing is an analytical process of finding property sellers or anyone who has relocated or needs to be found because of law-related reasons. Batch skip tracing systems allows real estate agents to access details of different house owners. Batch skip tracing can also be referred to as bulk skip tracing because it involves accessing the information of a long list of homeowners at the same time. It offers you the assurance of getting valid phone numbers, emails, most current addresses, and other details about people. Most batch skit searching service providers allows real estate agents to conduct the search by themselves. These systems require real estate agents to pay a certain amount of fee depending on the number of searches they are interested in obtaining. Some batch skip tracing systems allows real estate agents or licensed private investigators to search up to 2,000 individuals or details. The quality of the batch skip tracing data obtained relies on the type of website used for skip tracing and its effectiveness in offering credible contacts.
How to Use Skip Tracing Services
If you are planning to use the skip tracing services, it is essential to first check whether the property owner left a forwarding address with the National Change of Address (NCOA). This can make it significantly easy for a real estate agent to reach out to the homeowner. Aside from the NCOA, as a real estate agent you can also consult a private investigation firm and request them to inquire from the United States Postal Service (USPS) about the same information, since the USPS is not allowed to offer such information to random people. The following process can be used to skip trace when looking for a missing homeowner:
- Planning: This stage involves determining the approaches you will use while looking for the information of the missing individual. This step should entail listing down all the details that you already have about the person and the sources that you can consult.
- Obtaining leads and researching: After finding the ultimate leads that you can use, it is essential to rule out those that might not be useful and focus on the leads that offer you tangible information. You could also conduct a research to find out important information about the person from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You might also obtain additional information about the person from a website of the organization where they had been working before relocating. This is particularly common among leaders and managers in organization who are required to place their contact information on the website.
- Skip Tracing systems: The next step would involve uploading the information you have obtained on skip tracing websites to assist in searching for the missing person. Some of the websites like Google and People finder assist skip tracers to obtain information on missing people’s location by pointing out the number of people the same name or surname in different cities.
- Obtaining the Information and making contact: The last step entails obtaining the information from skip tracing websites and reaching out to the person. This can be done by either sending an email or making a phone call. A phone call might be more useful as it would allow you to access the person directly. These options will ensure that you will not have to physically visit the homeowner as this could pace you at risk of contacting the Corona virus.
How skip tracing can be useful during the Coronavirus pandemic
- Finding vacant or abandoned houses: Skip tracing can help real estate agents to trace and find home owners who might be interested in selling their property or houses but do not have the right connections to access the right real estate agent who can assist them.
- Finding potential customers: Although the Coronavirus has affected the entire world, numerous people exist who were initially interested in selling their property. Using skip tracing services during these challenging times can help you access more customers who are stranded and unable to sell their property due to the movement restrictions ad challenges in finding an appropriate buyer.
- Getting more deals: Sellers who may not prefer using a real estate agent during normal circumstances are also likely to engage a real estate agent during this pandemic. This will increase the number of deals that you will get and possibly increase your income levels.
The Coranavirus outbreak has made it impossible for most businesses to operate unless they offer critical services like healthcare or food distribution. Despite these challenges, as a real estate professional, you can still access potential sellers by using skip tracing services. These services allow you to find sellers who might have abandoned house or properties that you have identified earlier and by connecting you to them, ensures that you can offer to sell their houses for them. The sellers identified might also be interested in obtaining a different type of property, which can be an added advantage to you. While the health professionals, health organizations, and government across the globe continue fighting against the effects of the Coronavirus, you can promote your business by using skip tracing.