Selling items or giving away items before an estate sale after you’ve signed a contract with a professional estate liquidator or licensed auctioneer?

It’s not only unethical, as you’ve already signed an agreement to sell nothing, nor to give it away prior to the liquidator starting work, but it can also lead to canceled sales — and even legal action.

Yup – this can cost you money.
No doubt about it.

Remember: commission attaches when you sign on the dotted line.

Take something out of the sale’s inventory after you’ve signed a contract and BOOM! you now owe full commission on whatever you removed.

In other cases, the liquidator may decide to simply cancel the contract altogether since a) essential trust between the seller and liquidator has been broken, and/or b) the piece you took back or sold or gave away may have been deemed crucial to the sale’s success.

Understand that when you sign an estate sale contract, you’re signing a fully binding, legally valid document, and that the liquidator who agreed to conduct your sale did so based upon the items he or she was told would be for sale. THIS IS NO TIME FOR “BAIT & SWITCH” TACTICS ON THE SELLER’S PART.

The liquidator whom you hired has given up two to three crucial weeks on his or her calendar to make room for your sale, and has thus cut out the possibility to take other work in that same time frame.

Furthermore, average labor and advertising costs alone can run a liquidator thousands of dollars in pre-sale expenses – all out of his or her pocket.

In addition, remember that, if your home is for sale, potential home buyers who want to buy any of your personal property will need to go through the liquidator you’ve signed with, NOT the realtor.

It’s lamentable but undeniable that many realtors out there fail to understand just what a fine kettle of fish they’re opening up when they start entangling the home sale with the sale of personal property, and – furthermore – just how much serious tort conflict they may be bringing on themselves by doing so, especially if the liquidator’s contract pre-dates the realtor’s contract.

Furthermore, realtors don’t receive any commission on the personal property sold, and often lack fundamental understanding of what a great deal of personal property actually sells for on the secondary market. (We don’t sell real estate, and realtors have no business selling personal property.)

Additionally, the mortgage company doesn’t factor personal property into the appraised value of the home. (On the contrary, it’s loaning money solely upon a real estate appraisal.)

Finally, it’s long been our experience that home buyers are often prone to ask for “sweetheart deals” on the personal property therein, thus cutting the seller out of potential dollars.

Trust us when we say that, if your home is truly worth what you’re asking for it, there’s no need to “throw in” personal property on top of the real estate, ESPECIALLY if there’s a contract with a liquidator already involved. (It’s simply not worth the important trust you have established with your liquidator, nor is it worth the legal costs that may ensue should you breach your end of the bargain.)

Unsure about what to do once you’ve signed a contract with a professional estate liquidator or licensed auctioneer?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (405) 820-2814.

We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.


  1. Matt McNeil on September 30, 2016 at 7:28 am

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