The government is required by law to pay just compensation for any taking of private property for a public use.  Appraisals are used by the government to support the determination of damages to be offered or paid into the court as a deposit for any taking.  It is customary for the appraiser to contact the property owner during the appraisal process.  In part, the job of the appraiser is to secure information from the property owner on the value of the property, the current use of the property, and any special circumstances that should be considered in properly evaluating the proper measure of damages.  It is important to understand that the government’s appraiser works for the government.  You have every right to consult with your own appraiser to determine the proper measure of damages when evaluating the government’s offer.

The appraiser is required to determine the highest and best use for the subject property.  This is typically defined as “The reasonably probable and legal use of vacant land or improved property, which is physically possible; appropriately supported, financially feasible, and that results in the highest value.”  Under North Carolina law, the following three appraisal approaches are recognized: (1) Sales Comparison Approach; (2) Cost Approach; and (3) Income Capitalization Approach.  

The appraisal is required to provide a description of the taking in the following two subheadings: (1) Land – a physical description of the land to be acquired and (2) Improvements – a description of the improvements being taken.  

In order for the government to determine the amount of the damages, the appraisal will provide a detailed description of the following: (1) the value of any right of way being acquired; (2) the value of any permanent easements being acquired; (3) the value of any temporary easements being acquired; (4) the value of any improvements being acquired; and (5) the amount of damages to the remainder of the property.

The appraisal process is subject to a degree of subjectivity and no two appraisers may value the damages in the same manner.  Again, it is important to consult with a qualified appraiser to ensure you receive the maximum amount of just compensation for the taking.  We can help you with this process.  Contact us immediately if you would like more information on getting your property appraised in an eminent domain case.  

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Just Compensation

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carolina eminent domain
The Landowner’s Advocate

Telephone: 919-459-2192

Raleigh Office: 3737 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 375, 27612

Cary Office: 315 North Academy Street, Suite 210, 27513

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With over 50 years of combined legal experience, the lawyers at Carolina Eminent Domain help clients maximize the value of property threatened by condemnation. 

Carolina Eminent Domain formed out of relationship between two former Navy JAG lawyers



Doug is a veteran trial lawyer who has tried more than 30 jury trials to verdict in state court, federal court, and military courts-martial.  Early in his career, Doug represented NCDOT in land condemnation cases and understands how NCDOT works.

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Rick is a seasoned real estate lawyer who also has significant experience handling eminent domain matters for his clients.  Rick also has experience in the field of real estate development and understands how to assess the highest and best use of real estate.

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