The Estate Sale Contract Review – questions to be asked & answered

questions and answers


This Monday we would like to review some of the important areas in an estate sale contract. It is one of the most requested pages in our news magazine.



  • Duplicate contracts – for the benefit of the seller and the estate sale company you should have two contracts with you so that when the contract is signed both parties have a completed contract exactly the same.
  • Dates of sale – both sellers and estate liquidators should make sure the dates chosen will work for both and that there isn’t anything going on in the community that could detract or impair the sale (such as a community festival, town wide garage sales, etc. unless it is necessary or you choose to proceed without concern).
  • Who is going to run the sale – if you are using a company that conducts more than one sale at a time you should ask the estate liquidator you are interviewing to introduce you to the person who will be in charge of the sale and put that person’s name on the contract as well. This should be done before you sign the contract or at the least at the signing of the contract. Signing up with liquidator X and an employee Y shows up to stage, price and run the sale without your prior knowledge or consent can be unsettling (no surprises and you can decide ahead if you feel comfortable with that individual and with that arrangement).
  • How much will you be charged – is it a flat fee, flat commission or sliding commission? It should say exactly what you will be paying.
  • Advertising – who is paying and what kind of advertising, Internet, newspaper, emails to followers of the company. As a seller the marketing of your sale is as important as the staging and pricing. If the buyers don’t show up you can’t sell goods and have financial success.
  • When will you be paid – do they settle up with cash at the end of the sale, accept checks, take credit cards (and if so what fee will you be charged and what happens with charge backs) etc.
  • What about clean outs – does the estate liquidator leave the premises broom clean and remove all unsold items or is it up to you.
  • Security – what kind of security does the estate sale company provide for valuable items? Do they hire security people (not necessary in many instances), do they use showcases. Security should be mentioned and if high valued items included in the contract somewhere.
  • Can a seller be present – this should be clearly stated yes or no in the contract. Each estate sale company has a policy and there is no right or wrong, just a decision based on what they feel will be the most beneficial to both parties.