Generally, when the government wants to take your property by eminent domain, you can expect the government to take some or all of the following steps in about the following order:
1. Initial contact by government agency to express interest in the property and/or scheduling date for appraisal or environmental assessment of the property;
2. Appraisal of the property, including improvements, by agency retained apprasier;
3. Offer to purchase the property is made to the owner, together with summary of appraisal upon which offer of purchase is made;
4. Notice of public hearing to adopt “resolution of necessity” to acquire the property by eminent domain;
5. Public hearing is held to adopt “resolution of necessity” to acquire the property by eminent domain;
6. Eminent domain case is filed in court and served on property owner;
7. Deposit by agency of the probable amount of just compensation is paid into court and request by agency for early possession of the property;
8. Discovery (i.e., depositions and document production) takes place in eminent domain action, and both the property owner and government hire appraisers to determine “fair market value” of the subject property;
9. The property owner and government exchange their respective appraisers’ reports;
10. Final settlement offers and demands are exchanged (about 20 days before trial);
11. If settlement cannot be reached, trial of the eminent domain action takes place before a jury whose job it is to determine “fair market value” of the subject property;
12. Jury returns verdict and judgement is entered;
13. Government pays judgement within 30 days following entry of judgement and title to subject property is transferred to the government by the court.
In addition, early in the process – owner/occupants and/or tenants should be contacted by a relocation agent retained by the government. The purpose of the relocation agent is to provide assistance to residents and business owners to relocate their residence or business.