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Valuing Property Taken by Eminent Domain

Posted on November 5 2014 by Gabriela Ocampo

Eminent domain was created to make sure that the government had access to land they could use to build structures deemed necessary for the improvement of the citizens. It's used when there's a need for things like jails, fire houses, highways, schools, and courthouses. While eminent domain gives the government the right to say that they need to use your land, they don't get to just take it from you. The same laws that give them the right to your land, also ensure you're receive fair compensation.

Things often get sticky when it comes to knowing how much you should receive for the land the government wants. While it's nice to think the government would step up and pay exactly what you tell them the property is worth, it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes the amount they offer isn't what you should get for the property you own. The good news is that there are some things you can do to make sure the value of your property is properly accessed.

The most important thing to do is make sure you have a good lawyer on your side who understands all the legalities involved in the process. They make sure there is a valid reason for the government wanting to use your property.

The biggest problem people who are involved with an eminent domain dispute encounter is that there are so many different issues that need to be taken into consideration when determining what fair compensation should be. These factors include;

  • Whether or not the property has unusual qualities, natural resources, or features
  • Zoning
  • The types and size of structures on the property
  • Whether or not the entire property is needed, or only a portion of it
  • Property access
  • Size
  • Current use

One of the big issues that often comes up in these cases is whether or not the government needs to take all of your property. If the government only needs to run an easement through your land, the value will be slightly different than if they plan on taking several acres. When only a portion of the land is needed, the impact the intrusion will have on the rest of your property will also need to be taken into account.

There are three different ways determining the property value can be handled in eminent domain cases. These methods are;

  • Using recent sales of similar property in the immediate area
  • How much you will have to spend to purchase a similar piece of property
  • The property as a possible income source

Timing is very important during eminent domain cases. The government is not allowed to drag out the process because they hope the delay will result in a decrease in your property's value. There also has to be enough time for you to consider the offer they have made and to hire a property value accessor and a lawyer who can help you get fair market value for your land.

As soon as you suspect the government has plans for the property you own, you should get in touch with Century Law Group. They have a great deal with local, state, and federal laws of eminent domain. They'll answer all of your questions and guide you through the entire process, making sure you know your rights an that your get fair compensation for your property.