Is an appraissal commissioned by the state to determine a fair price to pay a property owner for a right of

owner for a highway right of way going to be a good and true appraisal of a property" ? The state dept . of transportation hired a state appraisser to appraise our commercial property so they could give us an offer for them to get our property for a right of way for a highway expansion. The appraisal did not even include our commercial bldg. on the property. Do state commissioned appraissals for such purposes tend to be lower than one you would get from hiring a private appraiser? The state appraiser figured out the total square footage of our land and gave it a price per square foot. the highway only bought a few thousand feet but based their offering price on the appraiser's figure.
In General Area - Asked by Linda F. - Aug 6, 2009
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Davide P.
Pinole, CA

Without knowing the whole story or which state, I would imagine you can object and hire an independent appraiser. To not include your building is a bit odd...unless it's a VERY small building on a HUGE parcel of land so it becomes almost insignificant.

Aug 6, 2009
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Rudolph Q.
LaGrange, GA

The laws of the state in which the property is located will control. If the highway is a part of the federal highway system, then federal law will also be a factor. Obtain a copy of the appraisal and have an appraiser specializing in eminent domain review the appraisal.

Aug 7, 2009
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Commercial A.
Los Angeles, CA

Government Appraisals are typically prepared by MAI Member of the Appraisal Institute (or Made as Instructed) Appraisers. They know which site the bread is buttered on and have a tendency to avoid "biting the hand that feeds them." Also their report may be excluded as evidence at trial and a second appraiser will be hired, if it goes to court.
You should always hire your own independent appraiser (CGREA,) with Condemnation Experience. Some states, like California, require the condomnee to set aside $5,000 for this purpose. THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO IS HIRE ANOTHER (mai) MEMBER OF THE APPRAISAL INSTITUTE! For obvious reasons they are, to say the least, very reluctant to testify against each other.
Please feel free to go to the LOoP! for further research.

Aug 7, 2009
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Chris G.
Lynchburg, VA

My father is an MAI appraiser and an expert witness in every jurisdiction in our state and I spent the first 6 years of my real estate career doing appraisal work with him, mostly condemnation appraisals for the DOT. He has made appraisals in condemnation proceedings for both the state as well as the property owner. To recommend NOT to use another MAI is like telling someone to NOT get a second medical opinion from a qualified doctor.
The most likely reason that the appraiser did not consider your building is because they are not buying your building and they were trying to establish a value for land. They should use market data to support their value. If the state is buying a strip of land from you, ( a "partial taking") they typically apply a "per square foot" value for the square footage they are acquiring. They also apply a value to any improvements in the strip being acquired (pavement, shrubbery, fencing, sidewalk, etc.) and add that value to the consideration.
They also consider a value "before" and "after" the "take", meaning that they evaluate whether or not their taking of the strip of land has damaged your property or not and to what extent. I have seen cases where it was actually determined that the "after" value was higher (enhanced). As with any eminent domain proceeding you have the right to contest the value and hire your own professional to establish a price. You don't have to accept their offer, you can take the matter to court. In most cases the condemning authority will escrow the amount of money that they have offered you pending the outcome of your court case.
By all means, make sure that you are being treated fairly. But also make sure that you use a qualified professional to help figure that out. MAI is the highest level of qualification that an appraiser can attain. These can be very tricky cases and you certainly don't want to bring a knife to a gun fight.

Aug 7, 2009
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Rebecca L.
Napa, CA

I'm a property owner that is also going through this right now. If property is in California the state will pay $5000 for you to get your own appraiser.

Aug 8, 2009
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Gregory G.
San Francisco, CA

Take the 5,000. Are you in California?

Aug 14, 2009
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