An Estate Sale Verbal Agreement is Not a Company Contract!

The estate sale contract outlines in writing the agreements and responsibilities of parties involved.  You as the hiring party, and the estate liquidator or company hired to perform the sale.  An estate sale contract is necessary because a verbal agreement is not enough to protect anyone.

In a written contract parties mentioned are bound by the details, here’s an example of the various sections included in a general contract.

sign here on the estate sale contractRecitals – Introduction summary of the contract and what it’s about (date, locations, parties involved)

Definitions – key terms, an explanation of legal definitions

Purpose (liquidation services) – A statement that addresses the purpose of the agreement ie: estate sale

Obligations (who’s responsible for what?) – The obligation of each individual identified in the written agreement

Assurance (if any) Warranties, representations or covenants as to various aspects of the outlined agreement

Provisions- What, when, where, who

Signature Block with date

Any exhibits or attachments (inventory of items, etc…)

Typical details of an estate sale agreement:

  • Organization process of the items
  • Pricing of the Items
  • Advertising responsibility
  • Conduct during the sale
  • Security
  • Record keeping of items sold during the sale
  • Disposal or removal of unsold items
  • A breakdown of fees and expenses including credit card fees or additional debris removal fees, etc.
  • Insurance and responsibilities (Liability, casualty, workers compensation)
  • Additional agreements relating to you as the client: (removal of items prior to the sale, being present during setup, etc…)
  • Terms and dates of when to expect payment from the sale.

The estate sale business is quite a unique one, each situation is different, each home is different, you want to make sure the liability, security, and fees are addressed, but additional provisions may apply depending on your particular situation.

There is no boiler plate or a standard contract for estate sale companies.  The contracts will also vary depending on the company you hire, but whomever you choose should put your mind at ease by discussing the contract with you and explain each section to insure you have a complete understanding of the obligations involved.

shaking on agreement
Once you sign an estate sale contract, you are also bound by the outlined legal agreements detailed in the provisions.

Legal and financial hardships do come up often in the estate sale industry, here are some common situations to avoid after signing the estate sale contract.

  • If you remove items from the sale after signing the contract, you may incur charges regardless.
  • If you choose to cancel the sale for no particular reason, you will incur charges and cancellation fees.
  • Do not make the home inaccessible or allow others to remove items after signing an estate sale contract.
  • Once the contract is signed avoid selling estate sale items on your own just to save on commissions, those items will more than likely be calculated in the final numbers regardless.
  • Follow the policies and guidelines outlined in the contract, you can hinder the success of your estate sale by remaining on-site when you’re not supposed to.  More details on should homeowners stay home during a sale.

*This is an illustrative not an inclusive list.

While many liquidation contracts address cancellations of the sale due to unforeseen circumstances, disasters, weather, etc.. It’s important to understand all the contract provisions and know that both parties are bound by them.  A lot of time, effort, and labor goes into setting up a sale.  Deciding to cancel for absolutely no reason, may cost you a hefty cancellation fee, this is pretty standard, and should be expected.

Realtors and attorneys have shared the most important items you should be concerned with:

  1. What happens if you find something in the home that was hidden and unaccounted for?
  2. What are the commissions and fees?
  3. How do you price the items?
  4. How long will the estate sale take?
  5. Who pays the sales tax on the items sold?
  6. What is expected of me during the process?
  7. Will the home be left in a broom clean condition?
  8. How will I know what items sold?
  9. How long will it take to get paid after the sale?

To have a successful estate sale, it’s important to first and foremost,  find an estate sale liquidator you trust.  Meet and get a complimentary estate sale evaluation where you’ll have a clear idea of what’s involved.

Once you’ve decided to hire someone, take the time to interview them face to face, and ask for a written contract, because a handshake and or verbal agreement is not an estate sale legal contract.

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