When your house is in the path of a public project, like a highway expansion, your ownership rights could be at risk. Texas state law permits the condemnation of private property to complete projects that will benefit the public.
Property owners will receive an offer related to the project. If they do not voluntarily sell, then the state can initiate condemnation proceedings and effectively force them to sell. Unfortunately, homeowners in particular can be at a disadvantage during condemnation proceedings because their property may be worth far more than the amount offered.
What options do you have when the offer for a property likely to be involved in an eminent domain-related project is too low?
Counter the offer
You may be in a position to negotiate with the authorities handling the land acquisition. They may have offered you a specific amount of money based on basic property value estimates. Using publicly available information about the size of the home and the plot of land that it is on, it is possible to extrapolate a rough estimate of the fair market value for a property.
However, many properties substantially deviate from the average value based on their size and location. Maybe you invested over $10,000 in a brand new kitchen last year and want that amount reflected in the offer. Perhaps there are unusual aspects to the property that make it particularly valuable.
The more documentation you have affirming the true value of your property, the easier it will become for you to negotiate a better offer.
Eminent domain purchases sometimes end up in court
There are situations in which you will not be able to reach an agreement with the other party despite trying your best to be reasonable about this complicated and frustrating process. When you simply cannot recoup what you paid for the property and invested in it, you may have no choice but to go to court in the hopes of convincing a judge that the property is worth more.
Connecting with the right support as soon as you learn about a likely eminent domain issue related to your home will give you the best chance of preserving your property values.