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Three Reasons Not to Accept the First Offer in an Eminent Domain Case

Three Reasons Not to Accept the First Offer in an Eminent Domain Case

By on Jul 7, 2014 in Eminent Domain Case |

The government, through the power of eminent domain, has the right to seize property is it is necessary for public use of some kind.  The caveat to this, though, is that the government has to pay you what is considered to be fair market value in order to actually obtain that property.  In an eminent domain case, chances are you as a property owner are going to get an offer right out of the gate when they begin to pursue your property.  Let’s look at three reasons as to why it may not be a good idea to just accept that first offer, even if it does seem pretty good.

Get Advice from an Expert

There are attorneys who specialize in eminent domain cases.  You as a property owner do not have the experience in dealing with how these types of negotiations and settlements work.  Once you get that first offer and you begin to think things over, it may really make sense to reach out to an eminent domain attorney to get their take.  They will be able to give you an idea as to how prior cases that were similar in nature panned out, and where offers could go from here if the initial is rejected.

Information Gathering Provides Comfort

You want to be comfortable with the price point that you settle at with the government.  When you get that first offer, chances are you have not done a ton of research or information gathering on your own.  Information in terms of what is fair market value can be obtained by having an appraiser take a look at the property.  They are going to come in and do an assessment of the property and give it what they think is a value.  Fair market value is considered to be the price point someone would pay if they wanted to buy the property, without any other influence.  An appraisal will scan the current market, look for recent similar home sales, and determine what that fair market price is.

There is Room for Negotiation

An eminent domain case is going to continue until you either accept an offer, or go to court and have a judge decide on the amount that is fair market value.  When you get that first offer, you have room for negotiation with the government.  With information that you have obtained and the advice from your attorney, you may want to consider proceeding with at least one counter-offer to get to a value that is more reasonable in your eyes.

The government is quick to act in trying to obtain property via eminent domain.  That first offer they throw at you, though, is not always going to be the best.  Think about how you have purchased homes and cars in the past, they usually involve some type of negotiation and some wiggle room.  Doing added research before jumping at that first offer could benefit you in the end.