Estate Sale Contracts Are A Hot Topic – What Sellers Need To Know
As the estate liquidation business has grown, so have some issues with sellers and estate sale contracts. Many sellers believe that they can micro-manage an estate sale even though they have hired and signed a contract with a professional estate sale company.
Let’s review for clarity and understanding.
When you review the contract with the estate sale company, this is the time to ask any questions. It is important as a seller that you understand the terms of the contract and what is expected of you and what you should or should not expect from the estate sale company.
The contract should clearly state the name of the company, the name of the sellers (or responsible party or parties) hiring the seller. If the sellers are a group of family members make sure “all” parties are present for the contract presentation and questions. All sellers should sign the contract and initial paragraphs of importance such as:
- Who is responsible for access to the property.
- Electric, water, and heat will be provided by the selling party.
- Any items that are not being included in the sale have already been removed or written into an addendum and this should be initialed by sellers and the estate sale company.
- If the estate sale company (and almost all do) have a cancellation clause for the contract. Sellers should initial this and remember that unless stated in the clause could be legally held responsible for cancelling the sale – no you don’t have an opportunity to keep interviewing other companies for a lower commission. You have made your choice. Again initials by all parties should be expected.
- Estate sale companies may have a right to cancel clause for themselves if a seller/s becomes difficult to work with (micro-managing, removing items, failure to give access to the property, not providing utilities etc.)
- Many estate sale companies have a clause that permits them to charge you the seller/s the commission on the sale value of any item removed from the sale once the contract is signed and/or the sale is staged. They usually deduct it from a seller’s net proceeds.
- As a seller don’t expect to renegotiate a commission or fee during or after the sale. Estate sale companies have costs (staff, advertising, etc.) and their commission is based on that.
- Remember why you hired an estate sale company – because they are professional, familiar with area prices, and their marketing expertise. Things you can’t learn in a video or book. It takes hands on and time to gain this type of knowledge and experience.
If you aren’t ready to sign a contract – don’t. An estate sale contract is a legal document and should be respected and taken seriously. Be confident, comfortable, and secure with your choice of an estate sale company. Before you sign on the bottom line and initial, also make sure you have done your due diligence. Personal referrals are always the best source for finding an estate sale company, but if you use a service, remember that the majority of these services charge a fee for the estate liquidator to be part of them even if they meet their standards.
Keep in mind that an estate sale company cannot control weather, the economy (such as the stock market having a rough two weeks or so lately), and the number of other estate liquidations competing with yours.
An estate sale is a professional service to liquidate personal property contents for seller/s and hopefully provide a good financial outcome for all parties involved.
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