The answer to this question is: it depends on which unclaimed property you are recovering. Some funds are great to work; others can be difficult for a number of reasons, and offer little in the way of profit to the money finder.
The more difficult funds to work are just about any funds held by the state (in the Unclaimed Funds Division/Department). These funds are generally things like forgotten bank account, uncashed refund checks, unpaid stock dividends, etc. They are generally for small amounts (under $1000). They are regulated by state law, which limits finder’s fee caps at 5-15%, and worst of all, they are very public. Most states have a website where anyone can type in their name and see if the state is holding any funds for them.
While this makes it easy for you to find funds, it also is easy for your competition to find them. Worse yet, when you alert the owner to the fact that they have missing money, all they have to do is go to that website and find out where it is for themselves – and pay you nothing. Obviously, to be profitable, you have to find a way to be able to keep your sources secret.
Forget those funds. The best funds for an unclaimed property recovery specialist to work are real estate created overages. These are funds arising from tax sale, and sheriff’s sale, as well as from some probate cases. They aren’t held at the state level, and so through this legal loophole you can charge 30-50%. And these are big funds. $10,000, $50,000 – even more, sometimes. You do the math.
These funds urgently need to be worked, because unlike most state funds, real estate overages escheat – that is, if no one claims them, after a short period of time, the government gets to keep them. So not only do you get the benefit of a nice income for yourself, but you get to save these owners – most of whom sorely need the money – from losing money they never even knew they had in the first place.
With more and more foreclosures happening monthly, there’s never been a more profitable time to become a unclaimed property recovery specialist. The government is holding literally billions of dollars in funds that will be lost permanently without the intervention of a money finder.