Roads are essential for getting around the expanses of Texas, and the government could claim your land in the name of public transportation. You may not be able to stop them, but you could make sure you get proper payment.
The state can declare eminent domain, but they have to offer you a reasonable price. The Texas Department of Transportation acquires nearly four out of five parcels through negotiation, so it’s important to know when they’re bringing an adequate amount.
The process begins with an independent appraisal. The state will make an offer based on that number, but you don’t need to accept straight away. You might have the chance to provide additional information to set expectations more in line with reality.
The government may need your property, but they have to play fair when negotiations begin:
- Market value: The price tag on your property has to meet the market value of applications it could have. What you are currently doing with the property may not matter. Legal, physical and financial limitations are all weighed against the productive potential.
- Remaining damages: Only taking a chunk of your land could result in a lower value for your remaining property. You may up the price to make up for lost access to main roads or water sources.
- Relocation: You could ask for more when you have to permanently vacate your home or business. You might be in line for compensation when you have to pay moving costs, get housing assistance or shift farming operations elsewhere.
Right-of-way acquisition is in place for the greater good, but that doesn’t mean they can leave you with a bad offer. The amount has to meet legal standards, so make sure you’re ready to help them find the right number.