What's Your Property Worth? It May Be More Than What the Government's Offering

Minnesota’s eminent domain laws allow the government to claim part or all of your property for a public project. Parks, buildings, and the road construction that’s now in full swing are all projects that could have the government knocking at your door.

If the government does come calling, you’re entitled to fair and just compensation for your property. But what is fair and just is not set in stone. You have the right to negotiate the price you get for your property.

Just & Minimum Compensation

In 2006, Minnesota clarified the responsibilities the government has when taking over private property. Under the state’s just compensation rules, the government must offer you fair market value for your property. Its appraiser will compare your property against comparable ones in your area. If your property produces income, the government may also factor this into its offer.

Under the minimum compensation rule, the government’s fair value offer must also take the replacement cost of your property into consideration. In other words, its offer needs to reflect the money it would take you to replace your property or reproduce it at another location.

Negotiating a Fair Value

When the government presents its offer to you, you shouldn’t just sign on the dotted line. What constitutes fair value is negotiable. It pays to hire your own appraiser and an eminent domain attorney like me to help you negotiate more just compensation.

Performing your own appraisal can reveal that your property is worth more than you thought. It can also determine a fairer value if you’re losing just a portion of your property. This might occur when the government widens a road or installs a sidewalk. In these cases, the government simply looks at comps to determine a fair market value and calculates a price for the square footage you’re losing.

The government’s method fails to factor in the effect the project might have on your property’s future value. A wider, busier road may decrease your property value, as might losing square footage from your lot.

Over and Above a Fair Value

Sometimes your property’s worth includes more than just fair market value. This is especially true of commercial properties. You deserve to be compensated for interrupted business operations, lost customer relationships, and damaged reputation as a result of the government project. These costs should be factored into whatever the government offers you.Don’t assume the government is acting in your best interest when they offer their fair value for your property. Protect yourself and get a second opinion. Hire an eminent domain attorney you can trust to negotiate the best deal for you. Contact Jon Morphew and the Morphew Law Office, PLLC at 612-790-9189 today for a free consultation.

Brynne Turner