Setting a reasonable fair market value when facing condemnation

Texas state law allows for the non-consensual acquisition of property in a handful of circumstances. Condemnation is the legal process through which state authorities and those managing projects intended for public benefit can complete eminent domain sales with unwilling property owners.

These agents can effectively go to court and demand the sale of property in order to complete projects that will benefit the public good. Highway expansions and other infrastructure projects are among the scenarios that might lead to condemnation proceedings. Residential, agricultural and commercial properties are all at risk. People may not be able to stop the sale of their properties, but they can at least assert their right to receive a fair value for their homes.

Partnering with real estate professionals

With very rare exceptions, people can expect that the condemning authority will seek to pay as little as possible for each property it acquires. Therefore, property owners will likely need to counter the proposed sale amount with a more reasonable fair market value. A value that a homeowner sets on their own isn’t likely to have much authority in court. Therefore, they need to work with professionals whose opinions will carry more credibility. Both licensed real estate agents and appraisers are in a better position than an individual homeowner to set a realistic price for real property.

Factors including the improvements made to the property and the recent sale price of comparable properties can influence what someone’s real property is actually worth. The initial offer may be tens of thousands of dollars lower than what someone would be able to obtain if they could sell the property on the open market to a new buyer who would use it for the same purpose for which the current owner utilizes it.

Although it does cost money to consult with a real estate agent or bring in an appraiser, many homeowners find that such investments are well worth the money spent. Obtaining a market analysis that looks at comparable properties recently sold and an inspection of the property can provide clear information to the courts when a homeowner counters the value proposed by the condemning authority.

It is often very difficult for those facing an eminent domain claim to handle the process calmly and to obtain the best possible outcome on their own. Bringing in the right support can make all the difference for those facing a forced sale of their real property. Seeking legal guidance can even halt eminent domain actions under certain circumstances.