They contact you, the property owner, with their intent to acquire the property, and then offer to buy your property from you before actually exercising their power of eminent domain.
Unfortunately, this does not always happen for a number of reasons.
Sometimes the condemning authority does not complete the tasks required under the statutes which would trigger your right to file a claim.
So does that mean you are left without a remedy? Absolutely not.
Every state has a provision in their statutes that says you can pursue a claim in inverse condemnation.
Under inverse condemnation, the property owner has the right to go to court and explain that the actions of the alleged condemning authority amount to a taking of property.
The court will then declare that a taking of property has occurred, giving you the ability to move on to the damages phase of your case where you can pursue a claim for compensation.
When you take action through inverse condemnation, it is important to be represented by a lawyer who is experienced in eminent domain.
In a few states, statutes allow you to recover costs incurred by hiring experts to help with your case, if you are successful in pursuing your claim to the level that is required by the state in which you live.
These expenses can include deposition costs, litigation costs, appraisal costs and attorney's fees.
So if you have a claim, one thing you need to evaluate - and this should probably be done with a lawyer - is your ability to recover costs and attorney fees in the jurisdiction where you are located.