Navigating Property Acquisition: A Homeowner’s Success Story and Lessons Learned

So let me tell you about how the city tried to give me, when buying one of my properties. So I bought this property in like 2018, little 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. All of a sudden now in 2024, I get a letter or no, I got a phone call from somebody who said they’re representing the city and that my house was gonna be torn down cuz they were gonna build a road. So they needed to make me an offer for my property. And the way she explained the process was that they were going to just make me an offer and I can take it. And if I don’t take that offer, then I have to wait for them to have their appraisal company do an appraisal. And then whatever that appraisal came back at is how much they would give me. And if I didn’t want that offer, then they would just take it through eminent domain.

And I said, okay, well, so they made me their offer. That offer came in at $67,000. And I figured this property was probably worth about $120,000. So I didn’t really like that offer. And so I decided to kind of mess over here. Never. And so I decided to not take that offer.

But before I didn’t take that offer, I reached out to my lawyer in our real estate attorney and I just explain what was going on and that they were gonna buy my property and they wanted to offer me 67,000 and I thought it would be worth 120,000.

Then I explained to him that they said if I didn’t take this offer, they were gonna have their appraisal company over, their company they contracted with doing appraisal. But the lady told me that if I wanted to do that, appraisal company was probably like 12 months out before they could get to me. And so she just made it sound like it was gonna be this tedious process. And so my lawyer advised me to go ahead and get my own third party appraisal.

He actually suggested I get two third party appraisals. He said, because if it comes down to the point where we have to go to court, where the judge probably just want to see three appraisals and most likely take the average of the three appraisals as how much I should get for the property. So I did that. I went out and I got a third party to come in and do an appraisal. And that third party appraise the property for about 110,$105,000, I think it came back at. And so at that point, what I did was I reached back out to the people representing the city and I said, hey, I went ahead and got my own third party appraisal and it came back substantially higher than offer that you made me. So I just want you to be aware, I’ll be waiting until your third party company does their appraisal. And so she asked me to send them that appraisal, which I did. And I think it was just good for them to know what this appraiser used as comps and why he valued the property at that price. And then it was like, no sooner than I sent that appraisal, then their third party appraisal company reached out to me and said they were ready to appraise my house. So it didn’t take a year. It took like a month. And so then they went out and did the appraisal. And I also sent them a copy of that appraisal just in case that the city didn’t send it to them so they would see how that appraiser prompted. And lo and behold, their appraisal came back right at about the same, about $100,000. So a couple days after I got that appraisal back, city called me back and they asked, they said, hey, we decided to raise our offer to $100,000. They closed in like two weeks, three weeks.

It didn’t take very long for them to close. But the point of the story is like, you have to understand what rights you have and you have to understand the process. And so in this situation, I didn’t understand the process fully. That’s why I reached out to my attorney and explain to them the process that they said. And what he told me was a little different. He told me that essentially, we would have to go court before they in the domain, and then the judge would rule whether I would get a certain amount or not. So if you find yourself in a situation where a city wants to buy one of your properties, just make sure that you have been fully explaining the process. Don’t let them intimidate you or try to make you feel like your properties work less than it is.

Go ahead and order your own appraisal. Cuz in this situation, I had to pay for that appraisal out of my pocket. Right. And there may be a lot of homeowners instead of investors who have homes that are being bought up by the city, maybe they don’t think to do that or maybe they don’t have the money to go ahead and get an appraisal on their own, but it’s important that you figure out a way to do that because you need to have some documentation that is representative of you and that representative of the city who’s ordering their own third party appraises. You need to have somebody who’s got your best interest at heart go out and do that and have as much data as possible in case it does have to go to court, the judge will have a lot of data to be able to make that decision. So make sure you understand your rights, make sure you get your own representation, and then don’t be intimidated. And I think I got a fair offer for what their property is and what it was worth. Also, bonus tip. If you are having a city by your property, you need to look into what the city is going to use that property before, because if that city was going to take that residential property, but the goal was to turn whatever that property use is into commercial use, then they actually need to pay you based on that property being a commercial property and not a residential property, which would be essentially be a higher value. So try to understand everything that’s going on and give all that information to an attorney that represents you and then take the best course of action for you, regardless of what the city is saying, because at the end of the day, this is still your property until they buy it and you have a right to get as much money as you can since they’re going to take this property. Right. There wasn’t an option for them not to take it. So hope that helps and see you crossing table.