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How is value determined regarding eminent domain?

There is a sense of pride when it comes to home ownership. Widely considered to be the American dream, owning a house can result in feelings of success and "making it." However, some homeowners in Pennsylvania may find that the house they worked hard for is now being taken by the government. While this does not seem right, it can happen in cases of eminent domain. When it comes to compensation, you need to make sure you are getting a fair price.

According to the Municipal Research and Services Center, the government has the power to take private property for uses related to the public, such as roads, parks and schools. In taking the property, the government must follow the law and compensate the owner fairly. The question is, how is value of the property determined?

FindLaw states that property valuation is often complex, which is why it is smart to get an attorney involved who will look out for your best interests. The fair market value is usually what is used for just compensation, but this value can vary depending on expert witnesses and other factors. 

Factors involved with determining fair market value include the property size, zoning, its accessibility, the current or potential use and unique characteristics. Unfortunately, emotional factors are not factored into the compensation, which can lead to some hard feelings for the ones being forced to leave their home. If the property produces income, future profits are also taken into consideration. 

Being asked to give up the house you have made a home is difficult. Make sure you have professional legal help to ensure you are compensated fairly.



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