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Attorney Arie Lipinski

How do I make sure I get a fair appraisal under eminent domain?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2023 | Land Use And Property Rights

For Indiana property owners, it might sound unusual and outright contradictory based on property laws if a state entity is legally able to take their property if they need to do so for public use. However, it is perfectly allowed for this to take place under eminent domain.

People frequently take steps to fight the attempt to take the property. If, for example, the land is being taken to extend a highway or for another essential public use, it can be difficult to put a stop to it. Once a property owner accepts that the land is being taken, they must do everything possible to ensure they receive the maximum amount in payment for the land.

How do appraisers factor in with eminent domain?

Professional appraisers are responsible for placing a monetary value on a property. With eminent domain, the state must pay the owner a fair market price. Still, people might not be satisfied with the number the appraiser comes up with. From the start, it is wise to understand the appraiser’s oath and duty under state law.

The appraiser is supposed to be an independent entity who has no stake in the matter. They are expected to give an honest and impartial assessment of the property value. When they are sworn in, a judge advises them of their duties and the measure of the damages and benefits they will allow.

Appraisals are necessary when dealing with property and land use. People who are buying or selling a house on their own will be accustomed to an independent person giving a value based on myriad factors. The same is true with eminent domain.

The appraiser is expected to determine the fair market value of the property, its improvements and the damages the owner will suffer by the property being taken. Not every case means the entire property is seized. Part of it can be taken with the remainder left with the property owner.

Since there are commonly fluctuations in property values and the factors could seem questionable, people who are losing some or all their property through eminent domain could have certain expectations that are not met when the appraisal is made. In these circumstances, they must know how to be fully protected and what options there are to help them.

Know how to get a fair amount under eminent domain

It can be a shock when the state exercises its rights under eminent domain. Although there are strategies to combat the attempt to take the property, in general, owners are likely to lose the property. The next step is to make certain they get the maximum in payment based on its appraisal.

When there is a disagreement over the valuation assigned by the appraiser, the owner must know what they can do to try and have it analyzed and possibly increased. With these complicated issues related to land use and property rights, it is imperative to be fully protected, ensure that the state is held accountable and there is a fair and reasonable outcome.