Tag Archives: Estate sale contract
The top questions sellers ask about estate sales is based on our Google analytics. We offer this review with links to pages on our website to answer some of these questions.
#1 Estate sale contract – what to know and expect. Estate sale contracts.
#2 Downsizing or moving, estate sale or garage sale and what’s the difference.
#3 Estate sale costs. What you need to know.
#5 Estate sale clean outs – under estate sale contracts.
On this Thursday as estate sales begin for another weekend we hope these top five EstateSalesNews.com topics answer some major questions.
Selling before an estate sale can cost sellers a commission.
Sellers, understand that when you sign an estate sale contract you have signed and agreed to the terms in the contract. It is just like any other legal document.
Have signed a contract with an estate sale company? If your home is for sale and your buyers want to buy any of the contents this should be done through the estate sale company. 99% of estate sale contracts include a clause that specifies that any items not excluded from the sale prior to signing the contract will be subject to the commission amount charged at the sale.
Estate sale companies do this as a business. They make their living and pay their bills through this.
Sellers, you leave yourself open to going to court if you start pre-selling or withdrawing items after signing the contract. Estate liquidators determine whether to accept a sale based on what will be sold by them.
Realtors should not encourage sellers to buy without the estate sale company either. The Realtors also cannot and should not receive a commission for this. They can only be paid by their Brokers.
Sellers you should also not ask for a reduced commission. If you want to sell to your buyers prior to the sale with a signed contract expect to pay a commission.
Sellers Protect yourself from legal action and respect the estate sale company.
During the last three years EstateSalesNews.com has been writing and providing information on the estate sale business. We have report news and information on a wide range of topics for buyers, sellers, and estate sale companies.
We share our news and information on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. We have created 49 boards on Pinterest up to now to focus on news worthy estate sales, videos, and of course the great things found at estate sales from vintage to antique and new to repurposed.
For buyers we have discussed estate sale etiquette, the different types of entry estate sale companies use (sign up sheets, numbers, a well formed first come line), how to approach a liquidator about a discount, where to find estate sales, forms of payment accepted at sales, what to look for in signage such as all sales final, no exchanges or no refunds. We have discussed what to take with you to sales such as packing material, flashlight, magnifier, and even how to organize your route.
Sellers we have provided a printable step by step sheet for how to find, interview and hire an estate sale company that provides you with a feeling of trust, honesty, and integrity. Here is the link (also at the top of our front page) to answer the questions of sellers looking to hire an estate sale company.
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.
It could be “brown furniture”, dishes, linens, toys, or other items, but knowing what to do before the sale starts is beneficial.
When you are choosing your estate sale company ask if they offer a clean out service. They may. If so ascertain what the cost is and have it in the estate sale contract. If a company chooses not to offer this service, that isn’t unusual so ask if they know of a service that does clean outs, you can also consider donating to a charitable organization. There are companies that advertise on the internet and in newspapers also.
If your estate sale company does clean outs costs may be based on labor, hours, weight of goods etc.
What’s important to you as a seller is to decide when hiring your estate liquidator what you want done with any items that are left after the estate sale is finished, whether it’s a box full or more.
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.
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.
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