RESPONSIBILITIES & OBJECTIVES (Each underlined word or phrase is defined in the Appraisal Definitions Section)
The Appraisal Section is responsible for the process of estimating just compensation for property rights acquired for the construction of transportation facilities.
Just compensation will be paid for all real estate acquired by the Department.
All real estate will be appraised before the initiation of negotiations, unless we waive the necessity for an appraisal. The criteria for waiving the need for an appraisal is that the valuation problem must be uncomplicated and the fair market value is estimated to be $10,000 or less. A Compensation Estimate Report will be completed for all real estate acquired for which appraisals have been waived.
All valuation reports, whether they are appraisals or compensation estimates, are reviewed by an appraisal reviewer, who not only analyzes the report but also personally inspects the property. Based on the review of the appraisal or compensation estimate, we establish the amount we believe to be the just compensation to be offered for the real estate being acquired for the project.
In situations where a portion of a property is taken, the appraisal or compensation estimate will also estimate damages and special benefits to the remainder property. Special benefits, if any, may only be offset against damages to the remainder.
The Appraisal Section also estimates costs to acquire property rights for proposed transportation projects. The function of the cost estimate is to aid the decision making process. The primary use of cost estimates is to assist in cost effective design of projects, to forecast budgetary needs and to aid in cash flow management.
The Appraisal Section maintains an Approved Appraiser List for those independent fee appraisers retained by the Department to complete appraisals on those tracts not appraised or reviewed by our Staff Appraisers and Staff Review Appraisers.
How do you determine how much you will pay for my property?
All real estate will be appraised before the initiation of negotiations, unless we waive the necessity for an appraisal. The criteria for waiving the need for an appraisal is that the valuation problem must be uncomplicated and the fair market value is estimated to be $10,000 or less. A Compensation Estimate Report or a Minimum Payment Estimate will be completed for all real estate acquired for which appraisals have been waived.
How do I know if the offer to acquire my property is fair?
To avoid litigation and to assure consistent treatment for owners and promote confidence in the Department’s land acquisition program, the Department has policies to encourage and expedite the acquisition of real property by agreement with owners.
We employ a staff of independent appraisers and review appraisers to do the majority of our valuation work. When workloads demand, we retain independent fee appraisers. The appraiser makes an in-depth analysis of your property and the affects of the taking on your remainder property.
The Department will make an offer that is not less than the amount of the approved reviewed appraisal and will provide you with a written statement and summary of the basis for the offer. The statement will include an allocation of value for the part taken and report the amount of damages if applicable.
What if the remainder property has little or no use to me?
If the department determines that the remainder property has little or no value or utility to you, the Department will make an additional offer to acquire the remainder property.
How can I get market value for my property when values are declining because of the new road?
Any increase or decrease in market value of the real property after the date of the resolution to construct the transportation improvement and caused solely by the public improvement will be disregarded in determining the compensation for the property. Physical depreciation under the control of the property owner is an exception to this procedure.
Cost Estimate: A dollar value estimate of the anticipated costs associated with acquiring the right of way for a transportation project.
Damages: Damages are the loss in value to the remainder property resulting from the taking of real property rights and the completed transportation improvements. Damages are typically estimated by making appraisals of the property both before and after the taking. The appraisal after the taking assumes the transportation project is in place on the date of appraisal. Inconvenience during the period of construction is not compensable. The difference in before and after values, less the value of the part taken, is the measure of damages.
Highest and Best Use: Highest and best use is that use which at the time of the appraisal is most likely to produce the greatest net return over a given period of time. It is necessary in determining the highest and best use to meet criteria:
Just Compensation: Just compensation has been defined by the Right of Way Committee of the American Association of Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as the full and fair equivalent for the loss sustained by the owner as a result of taking or damaging of private property for highway purposes. In an opinion of the Nebraska Supreme Court it is..."that amount of money or its equivalent which will compensate the owner; so that he is in the same financial position as he was before his property was taken or damaged for a public purpose. This is the amount of money which will make the owner no richer or no poorer than he was before the taking or damaging of his property."
Market Value: The price which would be paid by a willing buyer, not compelled to buy, to a willing seller, not compelled to sell, assuming that both buyer and seller are fully informed as to the uses and limitations of the property and that a reasonable time is allowed in which to find a purchaser.
Special Benefits: Special benefits is the advantage accruing from given highway improvement to a specific property and not to others generally. In contrast, general benefits are those which result to an area in general following the opening or improvement of a highway.