Category Archives: Liability Insurance
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.
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.
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.
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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”.