Appraiser / Expert Witness
Just when you think that you have settled in to you life routine, some strange things can happen.  One of those things can be the government knocking on your door, telling you that they have plans for your property.

Usually its not the best news, but many individuals get through it without significant pain. 

The government generally acquires only that property necessary for a legitamite public service use.  There are times, however, when the governments intentions are questionable, but most of the time the need is clear, and the taking requested is for a roadway widening or for utility services.

When property owners are not satisfied with the offer made to them by the government or public utility for their property, a negotiation continues until it reaches an impasse.  Since the government's appraiser can't consider emotional attachment, aesthetics or other non-market factors in their valuations, a dispute can become galvanized.

Statistics indicate that only about 20% of government takings reach a negotiation "impasse," and far less than that go to trial to resolve disputes.

Government appraisers are generally bound  to follow the rules laid out in the Yellow Book also know as the
Uniform Standards for Federal Land Acquisition.  Thus, strict rules govern what they should consider, and what they should not consider.

Nevada State Law via the Court, however, provides the final guidance on the question of value and severance damages.  Appraisers in the condemnation field recognize that specialized attorneys with an understanding of Nevada Law are essential to the taking process. has attempted to provide a cursory presentation of what is an intricate appraisal area in this short article.  We suggest that you contact an attorney regarding legal issues.

1. Highest and Best Use: It's not what you want to do with your property.  For appraisers it is the “reasonably probable” and legal use of vacant land or improved property, which is physically possible, appropriately supported, financially feasible and that results in the highest value.  Sometimes called the “optimum use.”

Zoning, Probability of Rezoning, Land
Use Plans and appraiser judgment based on analysis all can enter into a final highest and best use determination.

The highest and best use may or may not be the currently improved use.

2. Fair Market Value: For condemnation purposes appraisers are bound by definition provided in Nevada Revised Statute (N.R.S. 37.009).

3. Just Compensation: is the "fair market value" of the property and any consequential damages.

4. Partial Interest Taking: Typically only a portion of a property is taken from a property owner for roadway widening, power lines, drainage channels or other public uses. The parcel that is left is described as the "remainder." 

5. Before and After Appraisal: Appraisers typical need to know the value of a property both before the taking and after the taking.




NOTICE: Any opinions expressed on this page are those held by and not that of any appraisal organization or outside source.
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