The condemnation process allows Texas state authorities to force the sale of real property even if the owner would prefer not to sell. Projects intended for public benefits that require land may lead to eminent domain claims against nearby properties, including commercial property, unimproved land and even single-family homes.
If property owners do not voluntarily agree to sell when authorities ask them to do so, then the state could initiate condemnation proceedings. Condemnation is a legal process that allows the state to force the sale of the property for a fair market value. Those who are facing condemnation may have state officials show up to evaluate their property. Appraisers and other licensed real estate professionals may also come to look at the property, often to help facilitate the pending transaction.
What should a property owner facing condemnation share with such officials or professionals when they come to the property?
Anything owners say can hurt their case
It is surprisingly easy for a state official or a real estate professional working for the state to turn a few simple sentences into a case for reducing the value of a property. Homeowners are often well aware of how the state of Texas requires them to disclose known defects with the property to any potential buyers. That may prompt them to speak up about issues with the property.
However, such rules typically apply to voluntary purchases and not condemnation proceedings. Property owners may not necessarily need to disclose latent defects that would affect the value for a residential buyer, especially if the purchasing entity will inevitably tear down the improvements on the property. Those facing condemnation can more effectively protect themselves from mistakes and violations of their rights if they have legal representation during the process.
An attorney familiar with the eminent domain laws in Texas can handle communications with government authorities and real estate officials for the most part, thereby drastically reducing the likelihood that an owner may make unnecessary statements that could limit how much they end up receiving for their property. Condemnation proceedings related to eminent domain in Texas can have major financial implications for homeowners. Recognizing the importance of legal guidance during condemnation could help someone to better protect their interest in a property and their rights as a real estate owner.