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FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions about Property Rights.

What are Property Rights?
What type of property rights are there?
What types of rights are inherent to federal grazing allotments?
What types of rights are inherent to patented land?
Can anyone or the government take these property rights?
How do I research my properties rights?
When would I need a property right appraisal?
When would I need legal council?
What information do I need to have available for the appraiser?
How long does it take to complete an appraisal?
How much does an appraisal cost?
Are all appraisers qualified to appraise property rights?
What is condemnation and inverse condemnation?
What is the difference between property rights appraisal & other appraisal?
Why an ARA?
Why an RPRA?

What are Property Rights?
The term "property" is most often used to reference the object or subject matter over which the owner exercises his control or "rights".  Thus, the term "property rights" describes the relationship between a person and the subject (thing) that the person is said to "own".
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What type of property rights are there?
The US Supreme Court has used the "bundle of rights" analogy for the past 10 years to describe the various options or rights that an owner can assert or exercise over the property (subject matter or object). This "bundle of rights" includes (but is not limited to) the right to sell, lease, use, giveaway, exclude others, or simply retain possession of the object or subject matter.
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What types of rights are inherent to federal grazing allotments?
Through a series of federal laws passed in the 1800's and early 1900's, Congress granted or affirmed water rights, easements, grazing rights, improvement rights, and limited timber and stone use rights to ranchers who settled adjacent to, or used federal lands for stock raising. The most relevant of these Federal laws are Sections 8 and 9 of the Act of July 26, 1866, the Livestock Reservoir Site Act of Jan. 13, 1897, the Stock-Raising Homestead Act of 1916, Forest Service Organic Act of 1897, and the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934.
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What types of rights are inherent to patented land?
Unless the patent (original government deed) or federal law under which the land was patented contains any reservations of real property interests (i.e. mineral rights, easements, etc.) or, unless any prior existing real property interest were severed established by exiting federal law, the patentee (and his successors) own all the "real property" interests within the boundaries of the "real estate" parcel.
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Can anyone or the government take these property rights?
Key provisions of the above federal statutes and the 5th Amendment of the Constitution guarantee that private property shall not be taken for public use without due-process and just compensation. This does not mean the government cannot take your property, it simply means the government cannot take your property without you first having your "day in Court" to argue your case and then receive just compensation for the value of that property.  The use of governmental regulations to prevent owners for using their real property interests has been held by the courts to be a "taking" of property in violation of the 5th Amendment.
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How do I research my properties rights?
Begin by doing a title search of all the patented land belonging to the ranch. Take the chain of title back to the date of the original patent. This will help establish the date of first beneficial use for all natural surface water rights on the patented land and grazing allotment. Next determine the legal description of the location for all stock water points of use. Then, search all the State Engineers or Water Department's records and County Recorder's office records for any filings of water rights on your ranch (patented land and allotment(s)). Old maps and allotment records can contain information on the dates that improvements, easements, or water developments were constructed. Government maps and files are considered as supporting evidence for the existence of improvements, water developments, and easements.
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When would I need a property right appraisal?
Appraisals using a simpler format and procedure are often used for estate, sale or taxation purposes. However, government actions that amount to regulatory takings of real property interests usually require use of more complex appraisal techniques since usually only part of the ranch value is taken leaving some remainder value or, if the entire value if destroyed a more detailed analysis is necessary in order to provide sufficient evidence to withstand judicial scrutiny
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When would I need legal council?
Whenever you think that your real property or real estate interests have been negatively affected or diminished, you may want to seek legal counsel. Not all attorneys understand property law equally well. Some attorneys specialize in real estate property law. An attorney who specializes in Federal Administrative law may not understand real estate or takings law and may not be the best choice in this situation.
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What information do I need to have available for the appraiser?
Depending on the property the appraiser will need most or all of the following documents which are applicable to the specific property.

  • Legal description
  • Ownership history
  • Real Estate Taxes
  • Governmental documents associated with grazing allotments
  • Governmental document associated with all water rights
  • Historical grazing capacity
  • List of all improvements associated with the patented land and allotment
  • Property maps which include fences watering wells and any other improvements

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How long does it take to complete an appraisal?
There several factors that can influence each appraisal assignment. Generally we can complete an appraisal after our property inspection and all need documents have been provided.
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How much does an appraisal cost?
Cost of each appraisal depends upon the complexity of the property to be appraised, and the time required to complete the appraisal. Our quotes are based on these factors and are done on an individual bases. If the appraisal goes to litigation there are hour rates for expert witness testimony in addition to the appraisal fee.
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Are all appraisers qualified to appraise property rights?
At a minimum the appraiser must be state certified with appraisal experience in valuing specific property rights for the Federal Court of Claims. The appraiser should have court experience and preferably have qualified as an expert witness in federal court. 
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What is condemnation and inverse condemnation?
Condemnation is when the government openly declares that they are taking your property for government use and actually make a monetary offer to settle the case (although the amount may not be a fair or just amount). Inverse condemnation is when the government seeks through its regulatory power to simply deprive you of the economic use of your property with no offer of compensation.
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What is the difference between property rights appraisal & other appraisal?
Property rights appraisals are used to value each property right individual. An example of the specific property rights that can be valued can be seen in the Hage case (Legal Reference).These individual property must be appraised for the based property owner to use in seeking just compensation from the court for the rights been taken from the based property allotment.

The other appraisals are used to value the fee simple, Lease fee or Lease Hold interests of a property. These appraisals are typical used for mortgage lending and estate settlements.
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Why an ARA? 
The comprehensive appraisal you receive from an ARA is your assurance of a superior valuation for your agricultural enterprises or rural properties. Man ARA's are state certified, the experience and education required to become an ARA are significantly more stringent than that required for state certification, which makes an ARA the expert in the valuation of rural properties.

The ARA:

  • Has experience in the appraisal of rural and agricultural property
  • Is educated and experienced in the exploration of soil, water quality and availability, crop potential and improvements to estimate value of land
  • Adheres to the requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)
  • Has a network of agribusiness professionals to share information and practices with

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Why an RPRA?
The RPRA signifies the highest level of expertise in the review appraisal process. The RPRA's advanced expertise ensures accuracy for clients needing appraisal reviews of complex properties or situations. AN RPRA adheres to the requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and has additional expertise exceeding state certification and licensing requirements.

The RPRA:

  • Provides focus and knowledge in appraisal review
  • Is educated and trained to provide an expert opinion of appraisals
  • Can determine if appraisals comply with government regulations and requirements
  • Networks with colleagues for assistance when unusual or special circumstances arise

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