what is eminent domain?
The power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution provides that the government may only exercise this power if they provide just compensation to the property owners.
what is just compensation?
Market value is the prevailing, but not exclusive measure of Just Compensation. Fair Market Value is defined as the most probable price, in terms of cash that would be paid by a willing buyer to a willing seller, each being fully informed of the property's good and bad features, with the property being exposed on the market for an adequate time to attract offers.
In the case of a partial taking (i.e. - power line, gas line, railroad, etc.), appraisers commonly use the "before and after" method to determine Just Compensation due to the owner. This process values the property before the taking, according to its highest and best use, and after the taking, according to its highest and best use. It's the difference between these values that measures the value of what is being taken.
How is the highest and best use of your property affected by the taking?
do you need an appraisal?
Oftentimes, the entity taking your property will present an initial offer, and you may or may not be provided a copy of an appraisal they commissioned to justify the offered price. You are entitled to have your own appraisal completed by an appraiser of your choice. In most instances, the entity taking your property will also have to pay for that appraisal.
Contact us for a free consultation to determine if we can assist you in receiving complete and total Just Compensation.