In the absence of special or unique circumstances, the courts uniformly apply the fair market value standard to determine the value of the property or interest taken, consequential damages to the remaining property and consequential benefits. The general definition of fair market value is the price the property will bring when it is offered for sale by one who desires, but is not obligated, to sell it, and is bought by one who wishes to buy it but is not obligated to do so. Generally, the property’s fair market value is the subject of opinion testimony by expert real estate appraisers, although an owner of property is also presumed competent to testify to the value of the property owned and being taken.
Fair market value may not be the measure of compensation in cases of unique properties that are not commonly bought and sold on the open market. For example, religious properties and schools are not typically bought and sold in arm’s length transactions, so those properties may be entitled to compensation based on the cost to relocate them.
Furthermore, if the taking is such that the property owner will no longer be able to occupy the remaining property, he or she is entitled to moving expenses and the costs of relocating the business or trade fixtures.