The government places a great emphasis on the initial contact with property owners as a tool to negotiate a quick settlement of the taking.  Why is the negotiation process so important to the government?  One simple reason – it saves the government money.  

Negotiations involve the government extending an offer to acquire your property based upon its own appraisal of your property.  The offer is only as good as the government’s appraisal and is often based on insufficient or incomplete information.  Under NCDOT policy, “the Department shall allow the owner reasonable time to consider the offer and present any relevant material in response thereto.”

During the negotiation process, you can expect to receive the following information:

  1. An explanation of the necessity for the project and how it fits into the overall highway system.
  2. An explanation of how the property will be affected along with copies of the plan sheets of the project.
  3. Advising the property owner of the acquisition procedure and how NCDOT intends to pay just compensation for the taking.
  4. The Right of Way Agent will present the property owner with a Legal Rights Brochure.
  5. The Right of Way Agent will explain the Relocation Assistance Program.
  6. The appraisal process and the ability of the owner to meet with the government’s appraiser to point out all elements of damage that should be considered.
  7. An explanation of which improvements are included in the taking (e.g. buildings, storage tanks, trees, shrubbery, fences, parking).
  8. An inventory of equipment affected by the taking to determine if any of the items identified qualify as a trade fixture (personal property) that may be removed by the owner.

The information provided to you is contained in the government’s appraisal – ask for a copy of he full appraisal.  Whether you get it or not, you should consult with your own counsel and your own appraiser to determine the actual itemized damages to your property.  You need information to assess the government’s offer.  If the new appraisal far exceeds the number offered, then you should reject the offer, negotiate a higher payment of just compensation, or force the government to file a condemnation action.  With respect to a condemnation filing, it is important to know that the government’s offer will usually become the deposit in the condemnation filing and you have a right to request a disbursement of that deposit.

The lawyers at Carolina Eminent Domain will provide you with an honest evaluation of your case at no charge.  Our job is to make sure you receive all compensation to which your are entitled under the law.  Please feel free to contact us at 919-459-2192 or by email at

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What you need to know

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What you need to know

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What you need to know

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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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