I am not a lawyer, I am a Judgment Broker. This article is my opinion, and not legal advice. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.
Usually, when you have a judgment, your judgment debtor will not pay you voluntarily. Most people do not want to read or think a lot about their judgment. Most people just want an instant quote from someone who will buy their judgment immediately.
The problem is, that is not how getting a quote for a judgment really works, unless you sell your judgment for less than one cent on the dollar. Anyone that buys a judgment must spend time and money, and take some financial risks, to try to recover money from it.
In this article, “buyer” means an expert qualified to estimate and quote a judgment’s approximate value, which could be a judgment buyer, investor, recovery specialist, collection lawyer, or a collection agency.
Only a qualified judgment buyer can estimate and quote a judgment’s real value, which is mostly an estimate of both the risks, and what might be available to levy from what the judgment debtor owns, to satisfy the judgment.
To get a price quote for a cash up-front purchase of a judgment, you need a copy of the judgment, and what you know about the judgment debtor and their assets. While the judgment debtor is unknown and/or has no assets, the value of a judgment is approximately zero.
An example of an unfindable judgment debtor would be one having a name of (e.g.) Bill Smith, who was served with a lawsuit at a some transitory location, that could not be tied to anyone named Bill Smith. An example of a judgment debtor without assets would be one that has successfully filed for bankruptcy protection, or that has no attachable income or assets.
Presuming your judgment debtor is known and has some assets, your judgment may have some value. On a cash up-front sale, the buyer takes all the risks, so the price offered is always a small fraction of the face value of the judgment.
When you sell a judgment, there is always paperwork that usually must be notarized. Their paperwork includes both a contract and either an assignment of judgment form, or a lawyer’s or an agency’s retainer form. Before the buyer’s paperwork is sent to you, they must calculate the approximate value of your judgment, factoring in all known and some unknown risks.
Most judgments have value, however their value is not insurable, is not guaranteed, and is unknown, except for a short time after an estimate by a qualified buyer.
Even if judgments were guaranteed, they could never be sold cash up-front for anything close to their face value because of the time value of money. $100 now is infinitely more valuable than $100 ten years from now. Getting a tooth pulled 20 years from now is more appealing than getting a tooth pulled today. A judgment pays over time, if it pays at all.
About 85% of a judgment’s value is mostly an estimate of what the judgment debtor can be made to pay from their available assets now, and 15% on what the judgment debtor might be able to pay in the future. In today’s economy, the value of a judgment depends 85% on “now”. Now lasts a very short time, and many futures can change quickly.
The prices quoted for a judgment somewhat depends on the location of the judgment debtor, because that effects how the judgment might be recovered.
The value of a judgment does not depend on you or your judgment buyer, so shopping a judgment is not important, or at least not nearly as important as shopping for anything else. Shopping your judgment is usually like shopping a $100 bill. The price stays near $100, no matter which buyer you show your $100 bill to.
One option is to send your judgment to one to five judgment buyers. Another option is to send your judgment to just one judgment broker. Sending your judgment to more than five judgment buyers is a waste of their time and yours.