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Condemnation Appraisal

by Administrator on Nov 14, 2011 Litigation / Expert 1542 Views

Appraisals of real property for condemnation purposes are generally originated by private firms or governmental agencies that have the power to condemn, but they can come from parties or their attorneys who claim that an inverse condemnation has occurred. 
Usually attorneys or the governmental agencies evaluate a number of appraisal firms based on their experience in the condemnation area since there are specific state and federal requirements that detail how an appraisal will be completed.  Make sure that you know understand what the requirements are, one of the worst case scenarios is trying to figure out what is needed after a large portion of your time has passed.
Partial takings require consideration of the “larger parcel,” the parcel being taken and the damages, if any, to the remainder.  There are some factors that an owner would intuitively consider a “damage” to their property, like the loss of aesthetics, that are not considered to be a loss by the court.  If you indicate
When an entire property is being taken an eminent domain assignment is simplified for the appraiser since there are no damages to a remainder.  Partial takings of real property can become very complex court cases.  I have been involved in taking cases that required the condemning authority to engage prominent scientists, physicians, marketing experts, psychologists and engineers to dispute claims of loss.
My initial experience in eminent domain came from working as a fee appraiser for a large utility (power) company located in the mid-west.  Their takings crossed every imaginable property type.  I appraised partial takings from property types including; large vacant tracts of land, agricultural land, single-family residential home sites, developed commercial sites, gravel pits, forestry operations and waterfront properties.  A number of them ended up in court and I became an expert witness defending my reports.
Condemnation cases are usually focused on the value of the taking, since need / necessity are determined beforehand, and the value of the remainder (before and after the acquisition) provides "damages," if any exist.  While many condemnation cases are started after a taking is completed, with the exception of inverse condemnations as discussed, relatively few actually go to trial.  Some state governments publish statistics on their cases and I have seen many indicate that as few as 5% to 10% actually go to trial.
From the perspective of the party taking real property condemnation cases are generally losers since there are few jurors who will favor a utility company or a government agency (like the highway department) over a private party who is being forced to give up a portion of their property.  There is however often a battle royal over what the damages to a remainder are and some cases are presented with huge damage claims.
In my opinion the best expert witness appraisers are those who had several years of appraisal experience and know the market because they have valued a number of properties in it over time.  Its wasn't the appraiser who provided the most sophisticated presentation with lots of graphs and mathematics who impressed most of the jurors who I polled over the years but the ones who came across as simply being the most knowledgeable.
For more appraisal information contact Glenn Rigdon, MA, MRICS, ASA a Las Vegas / Henderson Nevada appraiser via email or via his business website Horizon Village Appraisal (, or you can also click on “Contact Us” on the home page of this website.  

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