3 reasons an eminent domain offer could be unfairly low

Texas laws generally provide strong protections for those who own real property. Even if an individual homeowner has fallen behind on their mortgage payments, attempts at foreclosure are subject to strict regulations. Unfortunately, responsible homeowners who have never missed a mortgage payment or do not have a financial instrument attached to their home could still be at risk of losing their real property.

Residential properties, vacant land and commercial real estate are all vulnerable to eminent domain claims. Texas law allows authorities leaving projects for public benefit to acquire real property from private owners, involuntarily if necessary. Someone facing the loss of their real property due to an eminent domain claim may need to respond to an offer to purchase the property. The three warning signs below are all indicators that the amount offered may not be appropriate.

Long-term possession of the property

The longer someone has remained at a specific home or owned a piece of property, the lower their initial purchase price likely was. Those trying to make an offer to purchase a property look at many factors, including the last recorded sale price, when determining a fair market value for the property. The lack of recent transactions on record might mean that authorities with the potential power to condemn the property do not have a realistic understanding of the price it could command on the current market.

Substantial property improvements

Particularly if the property in question is a residential home, the interior condition of the property can have a major impact on its resale value. Buyers often offer premium prices for homes in excellent condition. Updated electrical wiring, a recently remodeled kitchen and other interior improvements may not be common knowledge. The party making the offer could substantially underestimate the value of the home based on the condition of the interior spaces.

Unique property characteristics

Perhaps a parcel of unimproved or agricultural land has a water source that makes it particularly valuable. Maybe there are mineral rights attached to the property that could produce a regular stream of revenue for an owner. There are often unique factors about certain parcels of real property that can make them substantially more valuable than similarly-sized parcels in the same region.

Property owners attempting to counter an unfairly low offer during an eminent domain dispute may need support. Bringing in real estate professionals to appraise the property and formally contest the amount offered are both smart steps. Property owners who react assertively during eminent domain proceedings can potentially protect their interest in their property, or at least receive appropriate compensation for the forced sale of their real estate holdings.