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How to Fight For More Money in an Eminent Domain Case

How to Fight For More Money in an Eminent Domain Case

By on Oct 13, 2014 in Eminent Domain Case |

Eminent domain gives the government the right to obtain property from you as an individual or a business under certain conditions.  The conditions to grant the government this power include a requirement that the property be needed for public use and that the government pay you fair market value for said property.  One of the biggest things that comes up in every eminent domain case is, what is fair market value and how can you as a property owner, fight for more money.

Think about the property that you have gained throughout your life.  It could be anything from a single-family home, to an office building.  Eminent domain can even reach beyond this type of tangible property and extend to things such as brands, logos, as well as other intangible property.  When it is all said and done, the hard work that you have put in throughout your life has led you to obtaining this property.  This is exactly why it is so hard to let it go for less than you feel it is worth.

Build Up an Arsenal of Information

One of the best ways to increase the offer that you receive from the government in an eminent domain case is to build up a wealth of information.  The government is required by law to offer you what is considered fair market value for your property.  The kicker, though, is that what is fair market value can be interpreted many ways, by many different people.  One of the best things that you can do right out of the gate is to bring in an appraiser.  An independent appraisal is going to give you an idea as to what your home is worth in their opinion.

Do not hesitate to do some research on your own either.  Looking at prior home sales in your area, if it is a single-family home that is at stake, will help you better gauge what you can expect.  You never want to sell short the true value of your property.  The more information that you have to present to the government, the better your chances in the end.

Understand Your Rights to Fair Market Value

You as a property owner have a lot of rights in an eminent domain case.  The biggest right that you never want to give up is the right to get fair market value for your property.  This means that, when a government gives you an offer for your property, you have the ability to assess whether or not you feel as though it is fair.  If you do not believe that the offer is fair and just, you should know you have the rights to counter that offer.  An eminent domain case can progress all the way to the point where it ends up in a court room in front of a judge.  A judge could rule in your favor and get you more money.

Use an Attorney to Fight For You

Knowing your rights and having all of this information is only going to get you so far.  You need to know how to properly package all of this and present it to the government in such a way that it increases what they will offer you for your property.  An attorney that specializes in eminent domain cases is going to know and understand the best way to approach the government and your case in particular.  They will have historical knowledge of cases similar to yours, what to expect and how the process will work from start to finish.  When you have an attorney working with you, the government will also know that they won’t be able to get away with any funny business.

Eminent domain cases are tricky in the way that they are constructed.  Technically, the government has every right to obtain your property, if it is required for use by the public.  Without you approving of what they are offering you, though, they cannot follow-through with this right.  This is why you actually have a great deal of power in an eminent domain case.  Building up information, understanding what you have for rights, and finding the right attorney to work with you are all tools you can use to get the most for your property.  When it is all said and done, what you expect for a value on your property should be an amount that you feel completely comfortable settling at.