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When the government initiates the acquisition process, it will attempt to negotiate the purchase of your property just like any buyer might. If you and the government cannot agree on a price, the government can proceed with eminent domain. Keep in mind that the government is like any buyer, it will want to buy your property as cheaply as it can.

The Eminent Domain Process and What to Expect

When the government makes you an offer, it will tell you that it represents fair market value. It may even show you an appraisal. But be aware, appraisals can vary, and the governments may be a low one. If you reject the government’s offer, it still has to pay you that money. This does not jeopardize your right to get more money in the eminent domain hearing.

Eminent domain definition formally begins when the government starts a lawsuit to take your property. These lawsuits do not affect your credit rating or allege that you have done anything wrong. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY A THREAT OF EMINENT DOMAIN. Once the government initiates eminent domain, you will need to retain an eminent domain lawyer to help you obtain just compensation. Most lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, where the lawyer takes one-third of the additional money they recover for you.

In the Eminent Domain Process, property owners are usually responsible for costs, with the primary cost being the expert(s) used to determine the value of the claim, such as an appraiser. In some states, your attorney’s fees and costs are paid for by the government if you are successful at pursuing a claim.

Property owners who are forced to relocate their home or business are also entitled to relocation benefits. Relocation is an administrative process established by the condemning authority that varies widely from city, county and state. Normal relocation benefits include actual moving of personal property and reestablishment costs. A claim for relocation benefits is independent of the eminent domain additional damages claim and is typically negotiated between the property owner and the condemning authority. In some cases, a residential property owner could be entitled to significantly more than what they could receive through negotiations with the condemning authority. Also, complex relocations do arise for businesses with expensive fixtures and equipment. In these situations, it may become necessary for an owner to enlist the help of an eminent domain expert to calculate and negotiate these costs with the condemning authority.