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Why an appraisal may be key when responding to condemnation

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2023 | Eminent Domain |

Condemnation is the legal process through which the state forces the sale of a property because of an eminent domain claim. In Texas, it’s possible for local or state authorities to begin the condemnation process if someone refuses to voluntarily sell their real property holdings to facilitate the completion of a project intended for public benefit.

Highway expansions and infrastructure projects are examples of scenarios in which the state may attempt to lay claim to a property through eminent domain laws. It is very difficult for landowners to prevent the inclusion of their property in such projects, which is why appraisals are often of the utmost importance for those facing condemnation.

Appraisals help determine the value of a property

Conducting an appraisal is important during any major real estate transaction. Homeowners who lack industry knowledge about real estate often vastly underestimate what their property might be worth. They may look to the assessed value used for tax purposes or the amount that they paid for the property when they initially acquired it. Those amounts may be far lower than what the property would sell for if listed on the current market.

Appraisers have special training to evaluate the condition of a property and the local real estate market to determine a fair market value for a home or a parcel of unimproved land. This process is somewhat subjective, which means that Texas homeowners do not necessarily want to accept the appraisal secured by the authority seeking the condemnation of their property. The desires of a client can subtly influence the final determination of an appraiser. Knowing that someone wants to buy a property for the least amount of money possible might lead to a low-ball estimate. Therefore, homeowners facing condemnation often seek their own appraisal to counter a recent appraisal that seems far too low.

How an accurate appraisal may help

Although establishing that a property is worth far more than the government initially suggests won’t prevent the condemnation and forced sale of a property, it can go a long way toward ensuring that an owner receives an appropriate amount for the transaction. Each condemnation scenario is inherently unique, and sometimes, homeowners are in a position to request more compensation than initially offered by the condemning authority. Obtaining an appraisal may therefore be a very important step for those hoping to proactively respond to eminent domain claims against their Texas real property.