Category Archives: Estate Sale Contracts
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.
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.
Baby Boomers continue to age and retire, and unfortunately there are some with debilitating diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory loss.
As family and loved ones work to assist them it often becomes necessary to hire an estate sale company or liquidator to help them downsize to enter a care facility or even move into a relatives home.
It is common for the family or a relative to sit down with their loved one to discuss what must be done to make their life simpler and easier for them. The family may have an estate liquidator sit in on the first discussion allowing the liquidator to meet and interact with the prospective owner and family. However, because of the nature of the health issues they are facing, the person may not recall these conversations and the various discussions of what they will need to sell or who will take charge of the final distribution and including the clean out of the property when the sale is concluded.
Important for all parties, especially the family or relatives and the estate sale company is to have a contract that covers all aspects of the sale including final disposition of any remaining articles and the pay out of the net proceeds and who will receive these funds. The contract should be signed and initialed by all parties involved. If there aren’t any younger family members involved you may want to have an attorney present or signing off for the protection of the family member and the estate sale company. If so this should help avoid future issues of the selling of personal property contents. The need for an attorney is not always necessary, but this is another benefit of meeting with the future prospective client. *Please note Estate Sales News and the editor is not an attorney and we do not provide legal advice. Please seek out an attorney for legal counsel. The information presented here are recommendations only.
A brief check list.
Be sure to have at least one or more family members or friends present at each discussion and contract signing. They should be the responsible party for their relative and their signature and initials should be present on each page of any documents signed.
Copies of contracts should be kept be each party involved.
Any items that are not to be included in the sale should be clearly written on an addendum, that is initialed and signed by all parties.
The family or responsible party for the ill individual should be the contact person and this should permit the estate liquidator to conduct the estate sale agreed to by the parties in the contract.
Caring and providing emotional security is in the hands of family and friends, however, estate liquidators are compassionate and do their very best to work with responsible parties within the confines of the signed contract.
It seems that every week we receive press releases or Google Alerts about new businesses being formed around “estate sales”.
From franchises for liquidators, to new estate sale listing websites, to associations and societies for estate liquidators, and other businesses such as clean out companies, relocation services, there is an endless generation of businesses, not to mention the daily growth of more and more estate sale companies. These services and many others are being created for the growing number of baby boomers retiring and the desire to become an entrepreneur.
What started in the early 2000’s with one estate sale listing company and one small association created by a veteran liquidator that had written a code of ethics and online courses for becoming an estate liquidator, we now have explosive growth in the estate sale company business.
So many websites offer you the opportunity to locate an estate sale company through their website having researched these liquidators and signed a code of ethics or agreed to a list of good business practices.
All of this brings to the forefront the absolute need for you – the perspective seller, to do your due diligence. We are unaware of any company or group that has any authority other than to chastise and remove a company from their website and list. We encourage sellers to read and research through these various companies for estate liquidators, but the final choice and what you need should be based on conversations with prior clients of the individual estate sale company.
Even with thousands of estate sale companies, there are so many baby boomers on the move, many companies are already booked until August. Let’s do a brief review of what is truly important.
Be sure to ask about their experience. There is nothing wrong with new estate sale companies as long as they have previous experience working side by side with another experienced estate liquidator. An apprenticeship if you will. During the time that they work with someone with knowledge and experience they should learn about staging (or set-up) of the sale, recognizing what is being sold and pricing (general household) usually is priced by what prices are being reallized at other sales in your area, and of course knowing where to research unique, rare, unusual, or antique items. It is also important to have a certified appraiser that an estate sale company can use as well.
Ask about their education in the estate sale business, but it takes more than just reading and answering tests. Experience gained with a working estate liquidator is important.
It is beneficial to be able to speak with past clients. Written testimonials are helpful, but speaking with a client that they worked for within the last year is also a key component to deciding on whether or not you may want to hire them. Ask about their overall experience, but keep in mind financial results aren’t always the deciding factor. Were they on time, responsible, insured, and did they do what they agreed to. They may provide you with a brochure which is a great way to lay out their services. Keep that for future reference. Ask them if they have memberships with any associations or societies and if so what that means for you.
Do a complete review with them of their contract. If they don’t have a contract simply put – look at another company. If you are unsure of the contract ask to take it to your attorney so that all parties understand and begin the process with a good working relationship. Make certain that everyone understands what will and won’t be in the sale and if there is a penalty for removing something after the sale begins. If everyone is on the same page when the estate sale process starts it helps relieve stress and can forge a good working relationship between client and estate liquidator.
It is always important to look at any estate sales a company may be holding and if possible visit a company during a sale. Observation can be very informative.
Do not make the mistake of choosing an estate sale company by commission. That should be the “last” consideration.
This is just a quick review. For more information look at the orange tab on the top left side of our Front Page. How To Choose An Estate Sale Company.
No one can guarantee you that the estate sale company you choose will be perfect. All any company or group can do is remove them from the website and discontinue their membership. What matters is that you, the client, did your due diligence so that your final decision was yours. It is your financial bottom line and your responsibility. If you have questions contact us at email@example.com We welcome your questions and comments. Please visit us on Facebook and Twitter and check out our Pinterest page.
When you choose your estate sale company along with a complete and thorough review of the estate sale contract, ask to see proof of liability insurance and do not be surprised when the estate liquidator asks to see a copy of a homeowner policy. In todays’ world it is important that both the liquidator and the property be covered by insured.
If the estate sale company belongs to any associations ask to see some type of ID (appraisers, education, etc.)
More and more liquidators are bringing professionally prepared brochures, but they should contain pertinent information about the company, name, address, phone number, email address, how long they have been in business, (license number if required by state or municipality) educational information (if any i.e. appraisal or fine art courses, estate liquidation courses), where they list their sales and advertise, and a list of their services showing fees or commission charges. It should also include if they have insurance or are bonded.
Following all this information, the estate liquidator should take photographs (if possible) to start the listing of the sale.
Access to the property should be arranged for pricing and staging and the dates and times of the sale.
If either party has any concerns about the sale this is the time to express these concerns. If the home is overflowing (commonly referred to by many as a hoarder) and you have an issue with this term discuss it with the estate liquidator. Television shows have promoted the use of this term and many times this can help encourage buyers to attend the sale. The term is not intended to be disrespectful.
As a seller when the estate sale company is ready to leave the property you should have trust and confidence and if not this is the time to settle any further concerns. You have hired a professional to sell the personal property and they need to do their job. Keep in mind most estate liquidators conduct sale after sale and they want your estate sale to succeed too so eliminating concerns and reducing your stress is good for you, the seller and the estate sale company.
Please subscribe to our magazine, it’s free, new articles are delivered directly to your in box and you can opt out at any time (no obligation) and the tab is in the upper left part of the website. We hope you will tell any estate sale companies you interview or work with you read and use EstateSalesNews.com as your resource for estate sales information and news.
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.