Tag Archives: important basics of estate sale contracts

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.

Estate Sale Contracts – Important Basics

Estate Sales NewsThe most important topic reviewed by sellers and estate sale liquidators on Estate Sales News is the estate sale contract.

For the benefit of sellers and estate sale companies we present some of the topics of concern to both. Clarity in an estate liquidation contract can prevent misunderstandings and reduce stress. Estate Sales News is not an attorney and we do not give legal advice. The information presented is based on 25 plus years of estate liquidation experience. Please consult an attorney for legal advice or contract legalities.

Next to some areas you will see the word “initial”. This is to insure that all parties have read and agreed to the content of the paragraph. That way all parties are working on the same “page” so to speak.

  • The contract should be dated and contain the dates and times of the estate sale or event.
  • It should also contain the complete address of the sale.
  • The contract should clearly state who the seller or responsible party is (whether it is an attorney acting for the estate, heir, family member, or even a Realtor).
  • The contract should specify that the property has electric and water and working plumbing that is available before, during and until the estate sale is over and the estate sale company has vacated the property entirely. This is for safety of all and sanitation. “initial”
  • Following this section would also be the place to include snow or ice removal and who is responsible if that is an issue in your area. “initial”
  • The next section should be specific about the commission or fee that is to be paid from the gross proceeds ( percentage or amount) at the end of the sale. If the liquidator works on a minimum fee this should be in this section as well. “initial”
  • The next section would deal with cancellation of the sale. This depends on the estate sale company, however, many contracts include a cancellation clause with a specific fee. If work has been done by the estate liquidator and staff and advertisements have been made they should be compensated for their time and expenses. Each company operates differently. If the contract has this clause “initial”.
  • Next would come advertising and who is responsible for payment of the ads.

At this point in the contract it is advisable to let the seller(s) know that the company will make all possible attempts to achieve the best possible financial results, however, they cannot make any guarantees of the prices or of the gross sale total. An estate liquidation company cannot control weather, attendance, market conditions or other competition in the area. All they can do is make their best effort and that is why sellers, it is up to you to make your estate liquidator choice having done your do diligence to find the estate sale company you feel will be the most successful and professional. As a seller you have a responsibility to so make sure you take time to research, become informed, and make the best choice possible.

Please note that every estate liquidator chooses a contract that works for them. There is more for our discussion on Thursday, however, many contracts from estate sale companies will contain more and many may contain less.

Estate Sales News is here as a resource. Some may agree others may not, but getting out matters of public concern and interest as well presenting the views and concerns of estate liquidators and sellers is what this news magazine is here for.

It is important that all parties understand their responsibilities and obligations.

Preventing stress and tension between sellers and estate liquidators during this process is important.