In Texas and across the United States, homeowners may be wondering what steps they should take if the government wants to purchase their land under eminent domain. While most families will never have to deal with an eminent domain situation, some homeowners may end up having to negotiate for a better deal with the government.

Eminent domain is a legal process that allows the government to purchase a homeowner’s property as long as it’s for a legitimate purpose such as creating new gas lines or building new schools. While home and property owners usually aren’t successful in stopping federal, state or local governments from taking their properties under eminent domain, many are successful in negotiating for a better deal. Since the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires the government to pay “just compensation” for a property it seizes under eminent domain, property owners may be better off negotiating toward securing a fair price as opposed to fighting the sale.

The owner of a property should be in a favorable position to negotiate with the government for a greater price than the amount initially offered under an eminent domain situation. This is especially true if multiple homes or properties are also needed for legitimate public use by the government. If a homeowner and a government negotiator is unable to agree on a price, the homeowner can dispute the sale or offer a counteroffer.

In situations where homeowners face the sale of their property under eminent domain, there are certain measures they can take to negotiate for a better price, dispute how much land the government says it needs or prove that the initial appraisal value was inaccurate. An attorney with experience in eminent domain cases may help negotiate for a fair price.