By law, the government has the power to condemn a piece of private real estate property or take it for public use. (The latter practice is known as eminent domain.) These situations can usually be classified as compulsory purchases. The property owner has limited recourse to object to the taking of their property, except for a lengthy and costly legal battle. However, the government also must pay the property owner fair or “just” compensation for thei property.
That’s where a condemnation or eminent domain appraisal comes into the equation. In a situation where the government has condemned a property or claimed it for public use via eminent domain, both parties are likely to have different viewpoints on what constitutes “just” compensation. An appraisal of the property is essential to determine fair market value and decide an appropriate compensation for the property owner.
The federal government is not the only party that can take property by condemnation or eminent domain. State and local governments have this power as well. Third-party enterprises that serve public functions, such as utility companies or road construction firms may have the authority to take property by eminent domain delegated to them.
Regardless of who is doing the taking, having an accurate appraisal performed by a qualified professional is in the best interest of all involved parties. Homeowners or property owners being forced to surrender their property at least want to make sure they receive fair compensation. Governments or third-party companies doing the taking wish to finalize the transfer of ownership as quickly and cleanly as possible (and want to make sure they are not paying above market value for a property).
In some cases, one condemnation appraisal may be enough to arrive at a fair compensation price. In other cases, the homeowner or property owner may want an independent evaluation to verify or combat the appraisal completed on behalf of the taking party.
Matters can be complicated by the fact that the property taking may or may not be complete. In certain situations, the taking party may seize the entire property—including the land and any improvements built upon it. In other cases, the taking party might just be claiming ownership of part of the property—such as for an easement. These factors can make getting an agreeable and accurate appraisal that much more challenging.
Condemnation and eminent appraisers often need to testify in court about their findings. Because of this fact—and because of the high stakes of property condemnation and eminent domain in general—it is important to work only with professionals qualified to perform this type of appraisal. At Authority Appraisals, we routinely perform condemnation appraisals for both taking parties (cities, highway departments, utility companies, etc.) and private property owners (homeowners). No matter which side of the situation you are on, we can provide an accurate and well-researched opinion of value for the property in question.
For more information about condemnation and eminent domain appraisals please Contact Us, if you are ready to get started please complete our Order an Appraisal form and we will be in touch with you a free appraisal quote.