Home is where the heart is for many people. It is also where the average adult stores most of their personal wealth. You have spent years slowly paying down your mortgage and improving the condition of your home. You likely spend a significant percentage of each paycheck on your mortgage, and you probably treat your home like a long-term investment. The more you spend to maintain and improve the property, the more you can eventually receive for it when you sell it to someone else.
The idea that you could end up forced to sell without any say in the process upsets and even offends many property owners. However, that is the exact situation that people face in an eminent domain scenario. When there is a project that would benefit the public and that requires your property, you may receive an offer to sell your property.
Do you have any choice but to comply with a purchase offer related to an eminent domain project?
Some property owners can fight back to protect their homes
There are situations in which a homeowner can avoid losing their property despite an eminent domain claim. For example, they could prove that their property in particular is not necessary to the project, which could allow them to avoid the condemnation of their home and the forced sale of their property.
Other times, homeowners will not be able to prevent the inclusion of their property in the project, but they can challenge the offer made. Every homeowner compelled to sell under eminent domain proceedings should receive fair market compensation for the value of their real property.
The offer made could be inappropriately low if there have been major investments in the home’s interior or systems that have a direct impact on its overall value. Someone who cannot technically prevent the condemnation of their home can still go to court and fight for more reasonable compensation when they have to sell their property because of an eminent domain situation.
Individual property rights are important in California even in situations involving publicly-beneficial projects. Learning more about your rights as someone who owns California real estate will make it easier to respond to an eminent domain claim that could affect your real property.