Search Results for: estate sale contract

Cancelling An Estate Sale Contract Can Be Costly For Sellers

Cancelling an estate sale contract can be costly. It isn’t a simple matter of deciding to use another liquidator or do it yourself.

An estate sale contract is an agreement between owners, heirs or an estate attorney and an estate sale company. The estate sale contract details what is required of both parties in the transaction.

When an estate sale company has begun working on a sale they have many costs involved. This includes labor, possibly using dumpsters for trash, advertising, transportation, permits and more. They have given up their business time to conduct your sale while someone else needing an estate sale may have been turned down.

A cancellation clause in a contract protecting the estate sale company has become a necessity almost everywhere today.

This clause details as a seller you will be expected to pay for and how. Many estate liquidators now charge an upfront fee to begin work on your sale. Similar to an attorney’s retainer fee. This money is usually reflected and deducted on the final accounting of the sale.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that many sellers allow estate sale companies to come in sort, clean and prepare for a sale and then cancel leaving estate sale companies out thousands of dollars.

It would not be unusual for an estate sale company to take a seller to small claims court or further depending on the accountable amount of expenses incurred by the estate sale company.

If you have doubts or concerns about using an estate sale company, the time to ask and decide is before you sign the contract. If you want a less expensive company to handle your sale, hire them, not the more expensive one who does the work and then is cancelled.

Estate sale companies support themselves and their staffs. This is “not a hobby”. This is a profession and sellers should recognize this work as such.

If you are thinking of cancelling your estate sale contract, think twice. It could be a costly proposition and stressful experience for you. Estate liquidators work to lessen your stress and help you profit as the market will allow.

Updated Checklist For Estate Sale Contracts

Here is an updated checklist for estate sale contracts for estate sale companies and sellers.

We are not an attorney, but these items should be included and understood in the estate sale contract.

The estate sale contract should lay out in clear language.

  • Name of the estate sales company
  • Name of owner/s, heirs, or attorney
  • Date of estate sale contract
  • Address where the sale is to take place
  • Dates the sale is to be held and time
  • Dates the estate sale company will be given access to setup and price
  • Any items excluded from sale on addendum when contract is signed
  • Utilities – electric, plumbing, heating and air conditioning should be working
  • Liability insurance for estate sale company
  • Homeowner must have active homeowner insurance policy
  • Ramifications of removal of items by sellers after contract is signed
  • Fee or commission that will be charged if items removed or sold ahead by seller
  • Cancellation clause of contract
  • Party responsible for advertising and costs
  • Who is responsible for obtaining and paying for any permits required
  • Cost of sale, commission, fee, any additional sale related costs
  • When seller will receive net proceeds and form of payment to be made
  • Will seller receive written account of sold items and what it will or won’t include
  • Who is responsible for the clean out when the estate sale is concluded
  • If estate sale company cleans out any costs associated with clean out
  • Any additional costs for appraisals or specific appraisals
  • **If needed winter expenses and responsibility, i.e. plowing, shoveling, sand etc.

Visit the top of our front page for Choosing An Estate Sale Company.

Estate Sale Contracts Are Commitments

Many people moving, downsizing, or selling off a family home, fail to realize that once you have signed an estate sale contract it is binding just like any other contract. You have committed to an estate sale company and they have committed with you. For this reason it is important to you as a seller that you understand the contract and ask any questions. Do not feel hesitant or intimidated to say I don’t understand this clause. The estate liquidator wants a clear understanding between you both and a good working relationship.

Estate sale companies are discovering (especially in packed homes) that sellers are coming in after they begin their setup, and remove items they hadn’t seen in years. This is not the way it works and most estate liquidators have a clause in their estate sale contract that says they may charge you a full commission on any items removed.

Estate Sale Contracts – Important Topics

EstateSalesNews.com has written about estate sale contracts in the past, but there are topics that deserve review.

One of them is the final payout to sellers of the net proceeds. Every estate sale contract should have a paragraph that addresses the specifics of how and when you, as a seller, will receive your net proceeds. It should lay out either the number of days (and this should be business days – excluding weekends and holidays preferably) or weeks, but certainly within 30 days of the conclusion of the sale.

Each estate sale company has a process they go through, however, 30 days should be the maximum and if you have a contract that is not specific, do not sign it. You will not have any guarantee of when or even if you will be paid. Estate sale companies that have good business ethics (99.9%) want you to know when you will be paid. They also want you to know how your will receive your proceeds, either by check, cashiers check, or in cash. When you review the contract with your prospective estate sale company look for the payout clause and ask questions if you have any. Estate sale companies want to have a good working relationship with you as a client. It benefits both of you.

Estate Sales Friday – Links To Estate Sale Websites, Estate Sale Contract Info

Estate Sale signAs we end the third week of August we offer links for you to use to find estate sales and right here on Estate Sales News information pertaining to estate sale contracts, staging, interviews, clean outs, what to expect and more.

Estate Sales News your #1 estate sales news and information source.

Click the links below to go to major estate sale listing websites.

Estatesale.com

EstateSales.Net

EstateSales.org

Estate sale contract information

 

Estate Sale Contracts Are A Hot Topic – What Sellers Need To Know

Trust, confidenceWeek after week estate sale contracts is one of the top searches on Estate Sales News.

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.

Estate Sales Friday – Learn About Estate Sales And Estate Sale Contracts

With 1000’s of estate sales taking place today a quick reminder that here on Estate Sales News you can learn about estate sales and estate sale contracts. We have hundreds of articles on different subjects that you can search and video as well.

Have a great weekend estate saling. EstateSalesNews.com is your #1 source for estates information and news.

Please let the estate sale companies you visit know you read Estate Sales News and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

 

 

Why Have An Estate Sale Contract? To Protect Sellers & Estate Sale Companies

Estate Sales NewsThousands of estate sales are taking place each week and now that winter is over and spring has arrived the number of sales will continue to increase.

When you are interviewing either as a perspective seller or as an estate sale company this is a business venture and as with all businesses a contract must be in place to set out in writing the terms, responsibilities, and consequences of the estate sale.

This is protection for both parties. It is not just about a date, address, or commission/fee. It is about who is responsible for utilities (seller), who prices and stages the contents being sold (the estate sale company), who advertises and pays for the ads (usually the estate sale company), which party will get the permit if needed, how will the sale be paid out (daily, at the end of the last day, within a precise time period after the sale), will the seller be paid by cash or cheque, and the list of what must be in the contract goes on. Please use our search feature to read other articles about the estate sale contract.

Each estate liquidator has their own contract that should delineate all terms including the consequences of removing items from a sale that were to be included (it is common practice for a seller to be charged the commission/fee for items removed once the contract is signed and was not excluded), but this is up to each liquidator. Sellers should make sure they know who is responsible for the clean out of the property after the sale, how it will be done, will there be additional costs or fees for that service and when it will be done.

It is the responsibility of the estate sale company to review the entire contract with the seller before signage. It is the obligation of the seller to ask the estate sale company any questions they may have and understand all the terms and responsibilities. If you aren’t sure, ask for a night to review it, seek legal advice, but once the decision is made and the contract is signed, remember this is business, especially for the estate sale company. They pay mortgages, utilities, staff, etc.

Estate sale companies work hard to achieve the best results possible. It is in the interest of both parties. The better the financial results, the better payout for seller and the better commission for the estate liquidator. They cannot guarantee results or control weather or economic conditions. Understanding what cannot be controlled is also key to a successful working business relationship.

How To Choose An Estate Sale Company – Estate Sale Contract – Part 3

MC900433850Yesterday we discussed the telephone interview and the face to face interview with the estate sale companies you decided might be your best choice to conduct an estate sale for you.

During their presentation the most important discussion that will take place is the estate sale contract. A word of advice, if they don’t have a written contract end your discussion. This is protection for both parties.

Disclaimer – Estate Sales News and Carol Madden, Editor are not attorneys. We do not provide legal advice. The information presented here is based on 25 years of estate liquidation business experience. Please consult an attorney for legal advice or contract legalities.

Our website will have a printable list shortly of topics that should be covered in an estate sale contract. Please watch for it.

Most every estate sale company has a contract that they like to use. What we present here are basics that should be included in the contract for your protection and theirs and to prevent misunderstandings and hopefully provide simplicity and clarity for a successful business relationship. Yes hiring a professional estate company does create a business relationship because money at some point will be involved and payment will be made on the results of the sale.

1) We recommend that at the top of the estate sale contract should be the estate sale company’s name, address, and telephone number.

2) The beginning of the contract should state the date of the contract, the contract is between (the name of the estate sale company) and a blank space ____________ to be filled in by the party or parties hiring and responsible (seller, heir(s), attorney, executor(s). If it involves more than one individual make sure to include all names.

3) The next section should include a statement about who, what, and where – the company (name) agrees to conduct an estate/house/tag/moving sale on ________ (this will be the dates chosen for the sale) at _________(the full address of where the sale will take place) and the estate sale company may include the county and state (if they work in an area where their company crosses state lines).

4) Another paragraph should include the necessity of having electricity and water on at the premises for the entire time (from staging through clean out). This should be the responsibility of the party or parties hiring the estate sale company. This is for safety and sanitation. This is also a paragraph where many companies that work in areas that receive snow or ice should be specific as to who is responsible for plowing driveways and shoveling sidewalks and providing sand/salt. Again these are safety issues and everyone part of the contract should know their responsibilities.

5) An important paragraph is the one that states clearly and concisely the commission or fee the estate sale company is charging on the gross proceeds of the sale. This part of the contract should also include whether the estate sale company has a minimum they are charging (some companies do and some don’t that is up to them and your choice if you accept or decline). All this information should be clear and understandable.

6) We recommend that a contract include a cancellation policy that will spell out in detail what happens if the contract is cancelled. (This includes a time line and any monetary penalty that an estate sale company may charge). If a company does not charge a penalty this should be included as well.

7) A paragraph about advertising the sale should be included in the contract and it should clearly state who will be paying for the advertising.

8) A disclaimer should be in the estate sale contract that an estate sale company cannot make guarantees of the gross proceeds of the sale, but will attempt (or, however, they choose to state it) to obtain the best possible results. Each company usually has specific wording for this.

9) When hiring a professional estate liquidation company you may see a paragraph that specifies who will be responsible for pricing and selling the items in the sale. **If you have price concerns about certain items discuss this during the walk through or during the presentation. Most estate sale companies have a wealth of experience and knowledge and know the market, but you should express any concerns you have about prices before signing the contract.

10) A big concern for estate sale liquidators is the removal of items that were originally going to be included in the sale and then removed or sold prior to the liquidation by the party hiring the estate sale company. A paragraph that specifically outlines what happens and any commissions or fees that will be charged on removed items is usually included. Many companies have an addendum to their contract for items that are either to be excluded or for which a decision has not been made. Most estate sale companies have a policy to charge for items removed from a sale after the signing of the contract that were not noted during the presentation. Remember estate sale companies start advertising and often attract buyers with some items. If they are removed from the liquidation sale prior to the start this affects their reputation with buyers and their financial bottom line.

11) There should be a paragraph that includes who has liability for the property and the customers attending the sale. The property should always have a homeowners (or similar) type of insurance policy as well as we recommend that the estate sale company have their own liability policy. Stating specifically who is responsible is important.

12) Most estate sale companies will include a paragraph that details what takes place after the sale with any goods left over and who is responsible for their disposal. Any additional charges and the amount should be included in this section of the contract.

13) The bottom of the contract should include signature lines for the estate sale company and parties hiring the company and also have lines for both to date.

Estate sale contracts can have many other important inclusions including whether a company is licensed, insured, or bonded and other areas of concern. Many companies have their contracts written by their attorney.

The above areas are presented as basics we consider important in an estate sale contract and can be worded differently or excluded by individual companies or attorneys.

* Please be sure to read our use and privacy page with regard to any articles or intellectual property on EstateSalesNews.com

Estate Sale Contracts – Basics Continued

Estate Sales NewsContinuing our discussion from Wednesday of estate sale contracts:

  • The next paragraph should deal with pricing and selling. The estate sale liquidator your hire is a professional and should be in charge of the pricing and selling. However, during the walk through of the property it is advisable to ask a potential seller about any particular items they are concerned with in regard to price. This is when an estate liquidator may have to determine whether to accept the sale or not and also if the seller wants to hire that liquidator. Both parties should be in agreement and it is recommended if there is an item to two of concern that those be included on an addendum to the contract with relation to price. Of course, a wise choice by a seller is to accept bids and decide towards the end if they may rethink their position on an item they had concern with price. It should also be noted that many estate sale companies will not work with price issues and that is perfectly acceptable as well. “initial”
  • This paragraph is controversial, but of major importance to all parties. If a seller removes any items that were to be in the sale after the contract was signed or sold prior to the sale also after the contract was signed what are the ramifications. This paragraph should clearly state what the estate sale company policy is  and if the seller will be charged a commission (state the amount if you are going to do this) based on the price the item would be marked or not. Estate sale companies base their decision to accept or reject a sale on the contents shown to them at the time of the contract signing. They have advertising and staff costs. Any items that are in question or a family member may wish to have should be removed prior to the signing of the contract or specified to the estate sale company. The removal of items after the fact is detrimental to a good working relationship and financial results for both parties. It also complicates the opening of the sale when the liquidator has to inform the waiting buyers lined up that items have been removed. “initial”
  • The next paragraph in the contract deals with liability insurance. The seller(s) whoever they are must have a liability policy on the property for their protection and the estate sale company’s protection. The estate sale liquidator should also have their own liability policy.
  • The contract should also state that seller(s) (owners, executors, heirs attorney), agree to not hold the estate liquidation company or their staff liable for damage or liability to persons or property (real or otherwise) before, during, or immediately after the sale. Again the reason for all parties to have liability insurance. “initial”
  • This paragraph deals with the disposal or removal of any items not sold. It should clearly state who will be responsible and if there is a fee.
  • It should be stated in the contract that if any permits are required who will obtain and pay for the permits.
  • The last basic we will cover for an estate sale contract is the part for signature of all parties involved and dates.

Having a blank lined addendum for additional information, considerations, etc. is always a good practice. Many estate sale companies advertise being bonded and insured. The addendum is a good place for this information to be included, but sellers be sure to ask about the type of bond an estate sale company has. See our archives for information on bonded and insured.

We have only covered what we consider the basics of an estate sale contract. As stated Wednesday, we are not an attorney and we do not give legal advice. The information provided is based on our 25 years in the personal property liquidation business. Every estate sale company has their own requirements, often based on state and municipality laws. The basics provided are intended as guidelines and assistance.