Eminent domain can leave Georgia residents with unease and anxiety. Whether it’s due to personal or financial consequences, most people don’t want to give up the place they call home. Because of this, residents who end up having to give away their property should know what it’s worth.
When local governments or private businesses seize private land, they typically go through condemnation. During this process, they must offer a price based on the property’s market value.
However, many municipalities and businesses aren’t real estate experts. This can frustrate homeowners, especially if they get a bad estimate.
Because of this, you may not want to take the first offer you get. Before you consent to any agreements, you may want to find out what your home is worth for yourself before getting a fair deal.
What resources do I have available?
It’s against the law for governments and businesses to take your land without giving you just compensation. That’s why you may want to do some investigating yourself. Here are a few things you can do to determine your home’s value, according to NerdWallet:
- Compare prices to other homes in your area: More than half of homeowners compare their property to that of their neighbors. One of the simplest ways consumers can do this is by looking at what are called “comps.” Comps can give consumers data on the sale value of other properties in their area. However, you should know that you’ll need at least three valid comps to get an accurate figure.
- Use an online estimator: Googling the value of your home can provide you with full and sometimes inaccurate results. Fortunately, lender sites like Zillow and Redfin offer automated valuation models (AVM) that can help you get the calculations you need.
- Get an appraisal: Lenders typically require new homeowners to get an appraiser before approving a mortgage. However, you can request an appraisal at any time to determine your home’s value. Appraisers often take a home’s location, condition and other factors into account before finalizing their reports.
- Look to the FHFA: Sometimes, consumers feel warry about using private entities to get home value data. If that’s the case, they can make the calculations using a house price index calculator. This tool is provided by the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) and uses what’s called the “repeat sales method.” As the agency has mortgage information dating from the 1970s, it can estimate home value based on transaction and market value fluctuation.
Never settle for less than what you’re owed
Knowing your home’s worth is important. But it’s especially crucial if you’re facing an eminent domain dispute. There is nothing more frightening than the thought of potential displacement, especially if the entity that wants your land gives you a below-market offer for the home.