Category Archives: Liability Insurance

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 Sales Costs Evolve Over Time

One of the largest generations in our history, the baby boomer generation, has helped to create a boom in the estate sale industry, changed the way estate sales work, and the costs associated with estate sales.

Ten years ago holding an estate sale you payed a commission to an estate liquidation company or a flat fee and possibly paying an outside source to provide a clean out after the sale. The commission or fee was set by the estate sale company and was the same for almost every sale they conducted.

Not so today. The majority of estate sale companies now carry liability insurance, important for them and sellers. Workman’s compensation is also an expense for hundreds of estate sale companies. Estate sale companies that hold more than one estate sale per week or handle large content sales have had to add staff to handle the volume of sales they are working, advertising has gone from placing an ad in the local paper and hand made signs to marketing with estate sale advertising websites such as EstateSale.com (including featuring large or unusual sales an extra cost. Each estate sale adverting website is different and has varying costs), Facebook (and boosting the post for the sale) professional signage, brochures, memberships in associations, email targeting lists, and clean out costs either by the liquidation company or a company that specializes in clean outs of property.

EstateSalesNews.com Celebrates 3 Years Providing Estate Sales Information

It’s been three years since we launched this estate sale website magazine. We want to take a look back at the variety of topics we have covered.

We are also flattered that other websites have been developed to try to provide estate sale information. The difference for you our audience, we were in the estate sale business for 20 plus years. We do not charge you for all the information you find on our website. Others have been websites have been launched that either charge for information or are used to assist another existing website that estate sale companies (that estate sale companies already pay advertising fees for).

We started by discussing what is an estate sale. The definition has changed greatly over the years. We use to call them tag sales, house sales, moving sales, etc. Now for the most part we group them under one banner “estate sales”

When we launched there were about 9,000 estate sale companies. Today the growth continues and we have passed the 16,000 mark.

Estate Sale Information Today

Estate sale information is increasing the knowledge for all parties. The estate sale industry is surging. The questions that accompany this growth are increasing.

One of the many benefits occurring from this expansion of the cottage industry of years ago is the communication between estate liquidators. Before the internet and social media like Facebook, liquidators rarely communicated with each other or shared ideas and information.

The ability for estate sale companies to liaise with each other has brought so much to this industry. Such as discussions about carrying liability insurance, using professional signs for directions, the use of websites, keeping current about the laws that affect the industry (such as the sale of ivory), how to remove stains and spots, determining the age of some items, sharing advertising tips, the use of social media, working conditions, to name just a few. These groups share and discuss a variety of topics to assist and improve the estate sale business as a whole and make it better for everyone.

In todays’ world of estate liquidations, estate sale information and providing it is key to furnishing knowledge to all parties, prospective estate sale sellers and buyers.

What Does It Take To Become An Estate Liquidator – A Basic Overview

businessconceptsDeciding whether to become a professional estate sale liquidator is a major decision and requires you to decide about the many factors involved in estate liquidation. It isn’t an as easy as it looks and requires dedication and usually much more than a 40 hour week.

You will require some working capital to get started and to sustain you until you develop a clientele.

It is helpful to have attended estate sales to see how different estate liquidators work. Each estate sale company works a little differently, however, most follow some basics such as sorting, cleaning, staging (or setting up) and pricing. In order to become a successful estate liquidator it is beneficial to apprentice or work for an estate sale company. Become familiar with the process. You will also need a true working knowledge of what you are selling (what the item is, age, and what its’ value is).

Most of the very successful estate sale companies have experience and knowledge either as antique dealers, consignment shop owners, collectors or from working for other estate sale companies. They may also have taken courses to assist them in knowing how the entire process works from the initial contact with a client to the clean out of the premises after the sale.

Speaking with estate liquidators is very beneficial as well. There is so much to consider.

Some of the basics needed will be a license (if required), tables and supplies for set-up, liability insurance, a staff that is knowledgeable and reliable, an estate sale contract and thorough understanding of what should be included, a working knowledge of national, state, and local laws, ordinances etc., (from inability to sell prohibited items to permits for the sale and signs) and more. You will need to decided what types of payment you will accept, the payout to the client and if you will offer additional services such as clean out.

To become an estate liquidator you will also need to know about marketing, (how to advertise and where your target audience is), what items may bring the most interest of buyers to your sale. Whether you will want a website and if you do what will work best for you. You should also know about the the benefits of social media marketing and how to use it to your advantage.

There is much more than the discussion above to becoming a successful professional estate liquidator, but understanding the basics is a start and can help with your decision.

Not All Estate Sales Are Created Equal And They Don’t Need To Be

Estate Sale signThousands of estate sales and thousands of estate sale companies, and everyone is different in some way.

Many estate sale companies do not want to handle the small sales (under $5,000, in some areas of the country that could be $10,000). Don’t feel insulted or hopeless. There are so many estate sale companies out there with some good researching you should be able to find a reputable company that can help you.

There are several reasons estate sale companies are carefully choosing which sales they will handle. Many estate sale companies have full time staff (a cost of $10/hour or more per employee), liability insurance, licensing (if required in your area) the cost of advertising (if the companies are listed on all three major estate sale listing websites – Estatesale.com, EstateSales.Net, and EstateSales.org), the monthly costs are significant. Many estate sale companies spend an average of $5,000/month just on maintaining advertising and visibility on the internet. This can also include Facebook boosts and Twitter.

There are estate sale companies that also handle online auctions as well, so you have to decide how you want your personal property disseminated. It is important to keep in mind that unless the items are rare, or unique, the value is similar to what happens at a used car lot. Once driven off the lot, the value decreases and for some, if they are moving or downsizing just eliminating their belongings is what really counts.

When you telephone estate liquidators ask them if they only take sales with minimum values. Don’t feel offended, remember this is business for them, and there is someone out there for you. It may require a little more investigation.

You may also want to look at the estate sale listing sites above to see what companies are showing for their current sales.

Where To Find Estate Sales?

Estate Sales News is “the” online source for estate sales information (contracts, staging, choosing an estate sale company, how to interview, what to expect, pay out, clean out, and more) news, help, tips and where to find estate sale companies and estate sale listings.

Click on the links below to find 1000’s of estate sales.

Estatesale.com

EstateSales.Net

EstateSales.org

What To Expect Before The Estate Sale Begins

EstateSales_lgWhen 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.

Estate Sale Topics Past, Present, And Future on Estate Sales News

Estate Sales NewsApril 1, 2015 and with new additions and features. Estate Sales News offers topics we have written about in the past, present, and future. What you need to know. This list is for sellers, buyers, and estate sale companies. If you have a topic you would like us to report on just email us at support@estatesalesnews.com.

Advertising – From estate sale listing sites, SEO, social media, brochures, email lists, signs, & more

Animals – dealing with pet stains and odors etc.

Antiques – where to learn, how to know and understand (gesso for example)

Appraisals – It is more than USPAP, understand what it is, who they are, and the many associations

Art – A general discussion on where to learn more

Auctions – Online, on site, and the difference between an estate sale and how they can work together

Baby Boomers – companies that specialize in educating liquidators that work with those moving to assisted living, elderly parents, and downsizing

Bonding – what is it, the different types

Books – First additions to comics and where to find information

Buyers – Advertising for them, etiquette, number system, negotiating, working with them

Choosing an estate sale company it’s not so simple anymore (a printable list to assist you in the process)

Clients – Estate sellers, working with expectations and realities, a helping hand and more…

Clean outs – Who will and won’t, what to expect and fees

Clothing – Vintage or new

Conferences – 2013 and 2014 estate sale conferences

Consignments – what, why, and when they may be useful

Downsizing – decisions to be made including, don’t throw anything out until you talk to a liquidator

Education – Online eduction to apprenticing, society’s to belong to

Estate sales – Understanding what they are, and the process

Estate sale Contracts – What are the basics and what you should know.

Estate sale costs – commissions, fees, how and why what is charged

Estate sale listing websites – who, what they offer, where to find them on the internet

Ethics – Checking for reviews, doing your due diligence to choose an estate sale company

Growing your audience – so many sites that you can participate on to increase visibility on the internet

Insurance – Liability, why it is important, who needs it, where it can be found

Ivory – New United States rules and concerns in various states about the sale (will be updated as needed)

Jewelry – fine, vintage, costume, gold, silver, testing, weighing, and in general

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, reddit, and Instagram, why it is important and how to use it effectively. This is a frequent topic on EstateSalesNews.com

Taxes – an on going topic about estate taxes and sales taxes in different states.

ThrowBack Thursdays – we look back at items of the past including photos

Videos – News worthy estate sales and video chats.

What’s selling at estate sales

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2015 New Year’s Resolutions For Estate Sale Companies

Slide1This Monday with only two days left to 2014 we had a suggestion from an estate sale company owner about resolutions for the New Year of 2015.

Estate sale companies had a banner year in 2014. Whether you have been in business for years or you are a new estate sale company this is a great opportunity to review your business plan (how’s your accounting system working for you and even your client)? Do you have a team or staff that are basically “to go bag” ready for estate sales that come up at the last minute. Is your calendar for marked for any special family events or vacation time. Everyone needs some down time. Are you keeping up with trends in your area?

This is an excellent time to review your social media advertising. Do you use social media to it’s best advantage to advertise your company? It’s a must in todays’ internet connected world. Who is in charge of all the various forms of social media for your company; Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Google + to name the major outlets? There are even social media software companies now available for you that you can pay for monthly to keep your company visible and communicating with the outside world. Keeping your estate sale company in front of the public in this rapidly growing industry is a must. An estate sale company owner cannot do it all and if you don’t have a staff member that can take charge of this advertising, these social media software companies may be your answer.  Make it a resolution for 2015 to keep your audience on social media informed about your company and estate sales.  This is also a good time to look back at your advertising expenses from last year and determine what worked and what didn’t and put your dollars to work for you where they will do the most good.

Now more than even a year ago is the time to learn out SEO – search engine optimization. This helps Google, Bing, and other search engines find your company. A hot topic for sure in today’s tech world.

An important resolution to examine is how you do business including working where the competition is strong. Keep your ethics high as well as your reputation. It’s your best advertisement, it’s free, and in our internet connected world it can easily escape you. Checking weekly for any online reviews is paramount to maintaining an exemplary public image.

Eliminate what was difficult or didn’t work for you.  Know when to politely turn down a sale that may not be the best choice for you, your staff, and the seller and lastly continue to become educated about all the new tools and laws that affect your business. Estate liquidation is a continually evolving business and keeping up to date from what’s hot and what’s not, laws about ivory, endangered species, and migratory birds, the value of gold and silver, what credit card processors work best, security cameras, liability insurance, permits, signage, resale certificates, collecting sales tax (if necessary) etc. is a must for success and your financial well being and the sellers bottom line.

As a friend Barbara Stevens Jersey, Wonder Women Estate Sales suggested to us “now is a good time to ring out the old and bring in the new”.