What to Do If Your Property is
Being Taken by the Government

Your first hint that the government may want to take your property might be the announcement of a public works project, such as a road widening or other infrastructure project. When the government determines that it needs your property, you will receive an official letter in the mail, or maybe even a visit from a government agent.

If the government wants your land, they will offer you an amount that they believe to be fair payment. In order to make an offer, though, they will first need to send out an appraiser. There is no advantage to trying to deny the appraiser access to your property. However, you are entitled to, and should receive, a copy of the appraisal. The appraisal should include information about the current zoning of the property and its accessibility.

Your first hint that the government may want to take your property might be the announcement of a public works project, such as a road widening or other infrastructure project. When the government determines that it needs your property, you will receive an official letter in the mail, or maybe even a visit from a government agent.

If the government wants your land, they will offer you an amount that they believe to be fair payment. In order to make an offer, though, they will first need to send out an appraiser. There is no advantage to trying to deny the appraiser access to your property. However, you are entitled to, and should receive, a copy of the appraisal. The appraisal should include information about the current zoning of the property and its accessibility.

Do not ignore this appraisal! The appraisal has a direct impact on how much money you will be offered for your property, so you will want to make sure it is accurate. If it is not, you will need to point out any inaccuracies. If you fail to do so, the government's offer to purchase your property could be based on incorrect information.

Eminent Domain Dos and Don'ts

The single most important thing you should do, as early in the process as possible, is to consult an experienced North Carolina eminent domain attorney. The land condemnation process can be intimidating and overwhelming. You might be tempted to ignore communications from the government in the hopes that you will delay the process. Unfortunately, doing so will not affect the government's plans, but may limit your options. A lawyer can explain your options, and, most importantly, advocate for you to get the payment you really deserve for your property.

Remember that just because the government has made you an offer, it doesn't mean you must accept what they are offering. You have the right to your own legal counsel who can help you determine if the offer is really fair. Learn more about when to hire an attorney for eminent domain proceedings.

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