Frequently Asked Questions

About Estate Sales

I need to sell the contents of a relative’s house, but I don’t know what anything is worth. Where do I start?

Start by getting an estimate for estate liquidation services from an experienced company. Avoid businesses with potential conflicts of interest, such as some art and antiques dealers or private collectors. If you have questions about the value of your fine art, antiques and prized collectibles, seek an appraisal from an accredited professional. June Hayes and Associates provides both appraisal and estate sale services for our clients.

Can I count on you to get the best price for my merchandise?

Absolutely! Because we do not buy merchandise for a resale business, we do not “cherry pick” items before sales or undervalue inventory in order to pick up bargains for ourselves. We can’t make a profit unless your items sell at fair prices, so we are highly motivated to protect your financial interest.

I would like to get an estimate. What should I do to prepare for your visit?

You don’t need to do much beyond meeting us at the front door. It is best not to clear out drawers or closets before we see the property, because some of the least likely items turn out to be quite valuable. If you hire us to conduct your sale, we will collect any family papers, photos, and other memorabilia we discover while organizing your property for the sale. These items, as well as all money or jewelry, will be turned over to the family or their legal representative. The first consultation visit is free and without obligation.

How soon can you conduct a sale for me? How long will it last?

We are usually able to schedule sales within a few weeks to a few months, depending on several factors: your legal or personal requirements, our staff’s availability, and the time necessary to prepare your property for the sale. Smaller residential sales can often be organized and priced within a few weeks. Larger properties containing many unusual or valuable items may take several months to organize, research, and price. Public sales usually last two to five consecutive days. Neighborhood and city regulations vary.

Do I need to help you set up and staff the sale?

No. Heritage Estates is responsible for organizing, pricing, and displaying all of your merchandise. There is no need for you to be present after the initial estimate and walk-through, but you are always welcome. Our clients often live in other states or overseas.

There are some valuable objects in the house we want to liquidate. Can I be sure they will be priced appropriately?

Yes. June Hayes is an accredited appraiser, so the verification of authenticity, condition, and provenance of merchandise before pricing is standard operating procedure. We also offer brokerage services for high-value items that may need to be sold through major auction houses, and we maintain an extensive contact list of known private collectors.

Our company may arrange for a Graduate Certified Gemologist to come to the site to appraise fine jewelry and gemstones, and other experts may be called in to authenticate unusual or high-value items.

About Appraisal Services

What kind of appraisals do you prepare?

June Hayes prepares appraisals for trusts and taxable estates, estate planning and settlement, equitable division of property, insurance claims and insurance scheduling, divorce, charitable donation, and historic property or museum deaccession planning and sales.

How do I know if an appraiser is qualified to value my possessions?

Insurance companies, taxable estates, and many charitable donations require a qualified appraiser’s report. A qualified appraiser will be accredited by a professional organization such as the International Society of Appraisers and will be knowledgeable in the areas he or she appraises. No one person can know everything, so appraisers consult one another and call in experts as needed.

What type of items do you appraise?

June Hayes, ISA AM, Accredited Member International Society of Appraisers, is accredited in the division of Antiques and Residential Contents. To meet ISA’s rigorous requirements, she has studied many different subjects and passed comprehensive exams to keep her credentials current. She continues her studies on a regular basis. Reputable appraisers will tell you if they are not qualified to appraise a specific item or category of objects.

How do I know if I need an appraisal?

Appraisals are needed for settling taxable estates, to document charitable donations, insurance planning or damage claims, and to assess valuable items you wish to sell. An appraisal may be needed for probate purposes and/or equitable division of property. Your attorney or financial adviser will guide you through the estate process and tell you if you need an appraisal.

What do I do to prepare for an appraisal?

Gather the items in a central location from a safety deposit box, storage facility, or other location if possible. Have all receipts and previous appraisals available for reference or clarification. Arrange small items on a table for easy examination. This saves the appraiser time and you money, for the onsite inspection time is charged whether you are unpacking or the appraiser is working diligently. Allow ample time so the appraiser is not rushed.

How much does an appraisal cost?

The appraiser may be able to estimate the total cost of a written appraisal from photos sent ahead of time or after a visit to the site. Accredited appraisers work on an hourly charge or a set day rate, but they never work on a commission basis. It is illegal to charge a percentage of the appraised value. The contract should clearly state the hourly or day rate fees, which vary from region to region. Your situation will be discussed before we begin, and you will clearly understand the fee structure. Estate sales are brokerage services and are commission based. An appraisal and an estate sale are totally separate functions.

I live in another city. How can we work together for a reasonable fee?

You can send digital photos or snapshots for evaluation before we discuss the best options. Call or email with your questions, and we will find a solution that fits your needs. June Hayes has traveled to various cities to conduct appraisals and always works within a reasonable budget.

What do I receive for my money?

You will receive a bound written report (and one loose copy) with digital photos that clearly describes the items being appraised and their value. Also in the bound report will be June Hayes’ credentials and educational background, sources, bibliography, and any other information needed to verify the values stated. The Appraisal Foundation’s Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) requires a cover letter setting forth the methodology used to arrive at values, the appraiser’s certification statement, and other important information. You may request more than one bound report.

How often do I need to update my appraisal?

Appraisals should be updated every five to seven years or sooner if needed. Appraisers are required to keep your information on file for seven years, but after that the records may be deleted from computers or other electronic filing systems. Always keep the second copy of the appraisal in a location away from the property described in the report.

Why can’t you just tell me a value like I see on television shows?

The values you see on TV are researched prior to taping, but they are still verbal evaluations and NOT appraisals. A verbal evaluation may be arranged, but the values are not binding. Verbal evaluations are charged on an hourly basis and you take notes. An appraisal is a thoroughly researched written report that meets the requirements of the IRS, the judicial system, and insurance companies

Why should I hire someone to tell me the value of something I want to sell?

To be informed. A verbal evaluation may be sufficient for determining a selling price. The modest consultation fee may result in your making several times more money than if you had not asked advice of a professional who stays current in these areas. Many factors need to be considered when selling an object or collection: timing, location, and market trends, for example. June Hayes travels to antiques shows in various parts of the nation, attends seminars, tracks market trends, researches auction results, and attends museum and continuing education programs regularly.

Can you buy the item I wish to sell?

An accredited appraiser cannot buy the items appraised, because that would pose a serious conflict of interest, but he or she can make recommendations as to the best methods for selling your particular item for your consideration and assessment.