Property owners who face eminent domain receive insufficient purchase offers from governmental agencies in many instances, says eminent domain expert David M. Lewis, founder of Lewis Realty Advisors.
Lewis Realty Advisors has been involved in thousands of eminent domain cases during its 45-year history. The national leader in its field, the realty consulting firm frequently represents both private enterprise and governmental agencies in the acquisition of private property through eminent domain.
When governmental agencies are acting to acquire a property through eminent domain, the property owner may not be offered a fair price at first.
"While many condemning authorities will make a fair purchase offer initially, some owners may not get just compensation," Lewis said. "We have been involved in thousands of these cases since 1960s and it is quite common for there to be disagreement about a property's value, or damages to the remainder of the property."
Lewis, a MAI-designated appraiser, also has served as a real estate instructor at the University of Houston and a consultant to governmental officials.
Property owners who are facing eminent domain should consider hiring an appraiser experienced in eminent domain, Lewis said. If the offer is insufficient, the property owner should definitely appeal. As is typical in real estate transactions, the buyer rarely produces its highest offer in the initial stage of negotiations.
Eminent domain has been a topic of concern across the nation this summer. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Kelo v. City of New London case. The Court's opinion gives governments the authority to condemn private property for development by private, for-profit investors. The City of New London plans to take waterfront property for a mixed-use commercial development.
"The Supreme Court ruling in the New London eminent domain case was alarming to many Americans," Lewis said.
Since the Supreme Court ruling, many states have enacted laws restricting local government's use of eminent domain acquisitions.
Property appraisals and negotiation in eminent domain cases for commercial properties is one of the specialties of Lewis Realty Advisors. The firm also works as a real estate counselor for municipalities in a variety of circumstances.
Lewis Realty Advisors: www.lewisrealty.com