The rights of individual property owners are a cornerstone of American capitalism. However, they are less important than the good of the public as a whole. Sometimes, people who are happy with their home and community may not want to sell their property to a developer or government agency. Most of the time, their property rights allow them to decline any offer to purchase their property.
However, if the project is important enough and has enough support, developers may potentially initiate condemnation proceedings under Texas eminent domain laws. Essentially, the state can force someone to sell their real estate holdings for necessary development.
People generally cooperate with eminent domain proceedings, in part because companies must offer them a fair market value price for their property. What happens if the buyer forcing your hand doesn’t want to pay what you think is fair?
Figure out why they set the price that they did
State law on eminent domain condemnations is very clear that property owners have the right to receive at least the fair market value for their property when they don’t have a choice to decline the sale. Still, it is the buyer who gets to set that fair market price.
You might receive an informal or verbal offer, likely followed up by paperwork for an official offer. It is necessary for the potential buyer to provide you with a detailed, professional appraisal that explains exactly how they arrived at the price that they did.
Reviewing the appraisal documents can help you figure out if they overlooked features of your property or made mistakes somewhere that resulted in an inappropriate undervaluation of your real estate holdings. Giving the appraiser or buyer more information about the property could resolve some issues that impact its perceived value.
Find support for your suggested price and counter the offer
You have the right to question the reasonableness of an offer and present your own evidence supporting what you feel is a more appropriate price based on other nearby properties and current market trends.
Having your own appraisal done or entering into negotiations with the potential buyer can help you get a better price for a property subject to eminent domain condemnation when the initial offer doesn’t reflect what your Texas property is truly worth.