What Is Unclaimed Property?

Unclaimed Property

From money lying in a dormant checking account or pension fund to lost luggage, unclaimed property encompasses many things. However, most define unclaimed property as any tangible or intangible property that has been abandoned or lost by its owner for an extended period of time.

Securing Unclaimed Property At Auction

According to the Air Transport Users Council, 1.2 million bags lost each year in airports around the world are never returned to their owner, creating a unique way to profit from unclaimed property. Thousands of stolen items also go unclaimed at police stations each year. The majority of these items will never be returned to their rightful owner. Instead, they will go under the hammer and be sold at auction to the highest bidder.

With luggage or police auctions, people have the opportunity to view and see the items they would like to bid on, which is an obvious advantage. Storage auctions, on the other hand, are a bit different. Bidders are allowed to view each unit for a brief period of time to estimate its approximate value, but often only a few items can be detected during the viewing, making the process a little more challenging.

However, there are more than 50,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S. alone, which provides ample opportunity to secure unclaimed property at bargain prices. If a renter does not make the monthly payment for their storage rental, the storage company has the right to auction off the contents of the unit as compensation for the money it is owed.

Finding Out About Auctions

Airline, police, and storage auctions take place all of the time, but many people have no idea where to find out about them. Rather than paying a fee to use an auction finding service, there are plenty of ways to find out about potentially profitable auctions online.

Many airlines, storage facilities, and even police stations utilize auctioneer companies and websites, or auction aggregator sites, to sell the unclaimed property that they have accrued. Thus, hundreds of auctions can usually be found simply by perusing auction websites. For individuals solely interested in storage auctions, many times these auctions can be found by visiting self-storage websites as well.

Developing A Plan For The Loot

If a person has a winning bid at auction, they need to have a plan in place to make money from the items they have purchased. The first step is to have any questionable items appraised. It is worth noting that anyone interested in pursuing the unclaimed property business full-time should begin developing a list of trusted appraisers they can call on time and time again for fast and accurate appraisals.

Having the unclaimed property items appraised allows someone to know how much to charge for the items, but where should they go to sell them?

There is no venue that is better than all of the others for selling unclaimed property merchandise. However, one of the most cost-effective venues to sell valuable items, or any type of items for that matter, is eBay.

Although creating eBay listings is a popular choice, items of greater value may fetch a higher price through the use of an auction house. For large and bulky items that are more costly to ship, selling the items on consignment may be an ideal option as well. Anyone who wants the best possible price for their items should avoid Craigslist and garage sales, because people often use these venues to haggle over prices in search of the best deals possible.

For many full-time buyers and sellers of unclaimed property, opening a thrift store or warehouse is often a popular option. This provides them with a facility to both store and sell the items they accumulate.

The Bottom Line

There are thousands of opportunities to purchase unclaimed property each and every year, and due to the low entry barrier, anyone can begin profiting in this potentially lucrative business with little start-up capital. All in all, it’s a terrific way to make a little extra money or launch an unclaimed property empire.

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