The school district has informed you that it plans to take over two blocks near one of its high schools for an expansion project that will cost several millions of dollars. The trouble is: You and several of your neighbors have residential homes on these blocks. As part of eminent domain, the district declares that it needs the land. And, in most cases, there is not a lot you can do about it.

Your family home will become the latest casualty of eminent domain, a power in which governments can seize private property for public use but only as long as you and other parties receive fair compensation. The school district gets land for doubling the school’s size, adding an athletic field and plenty of parking space. Now, you and your neighbors must prepare for what will happen.

You deserve fair compensation

The frustration mounts, and you question the fairness of this entire situation. However, the stage is set for your home’s demolition. And now you must prepare. Here are a few things to consider and remember:

  • Retain an attorney with deep knowledge of eminent domain and its legal matters.
  • Since you are entitled to fair compensation, make sure you get it. If the government offers a price that you deem unfair, you have every right to dispute it. Since the government relies on its own appraiser, you must retain an independent appraiser. This move might benefit you.
  • Make sure you get the best possible price for your home. Your home has increased tremendously in value. The price you paid for it 10 years ago would not afford you a similar home today. Stand up for yourself and seek an acceptable price.
  • Understand what fair compensation entails. It should not only include the price of the home, but also location cost as well as costs related to moving specific building materials, including signs, rights of entry and gates.

Your plans to live in your home through retirement have been quashed; forced out by eminent domain. However, leading up to the actual condemnation hearing, prepare yourself and negotiate the best price possible.