Eminent domain is a useful maneuver, which typically fulfills a needed government desire for land to benefit the community. Without it, we may not have courthouses, post offices, police or fire stations, city streets, jails, highways, running water, electricity, and many other amenities we take for granted every day. As Americans, we are fortunate to be compensated for property deemed “necessary” by our government. In many other countries such compensation is not given to property owners.
However, just because we are compensated for the property does not mean we should accept the government’s property assessment. Some undervalued assessments may come from a number of reasons, for instance: not fully understanding the law, property value idiosyncratic nature, and perhaps the assessor may not be suited for the task at hand. Below are a few steps, which will briefly discuss how you may get the compensation you deserve.
Consider Hiring an Experienced Coachella Valley Land Use and Zoning Attorney
Step one: You may want to consider hiring an experienced Coachella Valley land use and zoning attorney. If you were sued or wrongfully arrested, you wouldn’t try to represent yourself, would you? The same goes for eminent domain laws and evaluations. Eminent domain laws are a highly specialized and complicated area of the law. Hiring the right attorney for the job is key in assuring your success in these matters.
Sit down with your lawyer and look at the offer presented to determine its validity. An appraiser typically basis their evaluations on previously sold properties in your area and makes adjust to reflect your property. If you own a property, you are probably familiar with the word “comps” or market approach. There are complications, which may arise during the assessors, comp evaluation; your attorney will know what to look for and what questions to ask.
Some of the questions you and your lawyer are looking to answer are: were the comparable properties in the same general location as yours, where they similar to your property, and lastly, is there anything which makes these properties a bad choice to compare to your property? Only someone who is highly experienced in evaluating property taken via eminent domain can assist you.
Obtain a Government Appraisal
Step two: Obtain the government appraisal, which they will provide upon request. With the information you have found, see how the appraiser adjusted sales, up or down, to reflect your property’s value. The appraiser’s adjustments can have an impact on your properties perceived value. The appraiser is not burdened with a set guide for determining the value of your property.
The amount of adjustment is based solely on the appraiser’s discretion. An experienced eminent domain lawyer is trained in knowing if these adjustments are accurate. If the appraiser relied on faulty data, as laid out above, you may be looking at a substandard appraisal.
Check for Any Sales Missed by Appraiser
Step three: Ensure there are no other sales the government’s appraiser missed when they determined your properties fair market value. One recent or overlooked sale can significantly affect the value of your property. In doing so, your final monetary award of just compensation will be reduced.
Ultimately, determining your property’s fair market value and compensation in an eminent domain case is a methodical process. The government will have lawyers on their side, and you should have one of the real estate and land law attorneys in Coachella Valley on yours.