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How does the eminent domain process work?

You made a significant financial investment to own your Massachusetts property. Land and real estate is expensive, and you understand how important it is to protect your investment to the best of your ability. That is why it can be confusing to find out that the government wants to take a portion of your proper under the premise of eminent domain.

Eminent domain is how the local or federal government can seize property for certain uses, such as expanding roads, building sidewalks or developing a government building. It may come as a surprise to learn that your property may be subject to eminent domain, but you have rights. It can be helpful to learn about this process and find out if you have grounds to challenge this action.

What you need to know 

It may help you to understand that the government cannot simply hand you a notice, take your land and start bulldozing your property. In exchange for your property, the government must offer you compensation that represents fair market value. The government has its own appraisers to decide what this amount should be, but you have the right to challenge the amount. If you cannot agree on a price, the issue will then move forward with a legal process called condemnation proceedings. 

You will have the opportunity to present what you believe is an accurate and fair price for your property. You will also have the opportunity to oppose the forced sale of your land by opposing what the government intends to do with the land.

Fighting for fair property value 

The government will work to save money, and this may mean offering you compensation for your land that does not represent it's true value. Most disputes over eminent domain center around the issue of price. It is in your rights and interests to fight for the full amount you deserve for your land. Certain factors, such as the unique characteristics of the land and accessibility, can affect its value.

The right help, from the beginning

It's smart to work with a lawyer who can help you fight for fair market value from the very beginning of the eminent domain process. From challenging the move altogether to fighting for fair market value, you will find significant benefit in fighting these battles with the help of an experienced legal ally. To understand what you should do next or to learn more about your legal options, you will want to first seek a complete assessment of your case.

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