With the expansion of I-35 through Lewisville, many landowners will receive an offer letter from the State of Texas for taking their land to build the expanded Interstate.
This letter is only the first communication a landowner will receive and begins their eminent domain process. The State cannot condemn property until it provides the landowner with a copy of a certified appraisal.
The State may take all your property and the appraisal will state that appraiser’s opinion of fair market value, which may be different than your opinion.
If the State is only taking a part of the land, the appraiser will include the fair market value of the property to be taken. The appraisal should also address the taking of any improvements, including concrete, fencing, landscaping, or any portion of a building. The State may not be aware of all the work that will be needed to return the property to its highest and best use and a landowner should consult experts to determine all damage that should be considered.
In addition, the appraisal must address the value of the property that remains in the possession of the landowner. The appraiser must determine if the remaining property will be less valuable, because of the loss of the portion taken, and if it is increase the compensation due. In reviewing the State’s offer on a partial taking, a landowner should keep in mind these three basic components: (1) fair market value of part taken, (2) damages to improvements or needed repairs, and (3) a reduction in the value of the remainder property.
If you receive an offer letter give us a call to help you review the State’s offer.