The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

You are here



Comparable Sales

Reference Number: MTAS-1297
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: September 12, 2017
Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF Version

One method of establishing the fair market value of the property being taken is the introduction of sales of similar properties. [30] Whether a sale is sufficiently comparable to be admissible is a preliminary question for the trial court. [31] However, the trial court’s discretion is not unlimited, and the appellate courts will reverse the decision of the trial court in the appropriate circumstances. [32]

For a sale to be sufficiently comparable to be admissible, it must have been a voluntary sale, or an arm’s length transaction, and cannot have been the result of a compromise. [33] Therefore sales to a condemner, [34] or under the threat of condemnation, [35] are inadmissible, as are sales of property upon which are placed unusually stringent restrictions on the use of the property. [36] Sales that have been affected or influenced by the public project for which the property is being acquired will also be inadmissible. [37]

If the sale was an arm’s length transaction, the trial court must next consider whether the properties are similar in nature and near the same location and that the time of the sale was at or about the time of the taking.  If the sale was an arm’s length transaction, the trial court must next consider whether the properties are similar in nature and near the same location and that the time of the sale was at or about the time of the taking. [38] In making this determination, the trial court will consider the size, [39] the time of the sale, [40] changes in conditions since the time of the sale, [41] the current zoning or any imminent rezoning, [42] the location [43] and vicinity, proximity to existing improvements, improvements existing on the properties, terrain or other geographic features, and all available uses to which the properties are adapted. [44] The sales do not have to be exactly comparable in every respect, and there is no general rule on the degree of similarity required. [45]

After the trial court determines that a sale is comparable and may be admitted into evidence, the weight to be given to the sale is a question for the jury. [46] If a particular sale was made under exceptional circumstances, these circumstances can be shown and the jury can determine the probative force of the sale. [47]


Notes:
[30] Memphis Housing Authority v. Peabody Garage Co., 505 S.W.2d 719 (Tenn. 1974); Lewisburg & Northern Railroad Co. v. Hinds, supra; Union Railway Co. v. Hunton, supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Newton, supra; Edgington v. Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad Co., 10 Tenn. App. 685 (1929).

[31] Layne v. Speight, supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Peabody Garage Co., supra; Lewisburg & Northern Railroad Co. v. Hinds, supra; Smith County v. Eatherly, 820 S.W.2d 366 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1991); State ex rel. Commissioner, Department of Transportation v. Veglio, supra; Shelby County v. Stallcup, 594 S.W.2d 392 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1979); Memphis Housing Authority v. Newton, supra; Maryville Housing Authority v. Ramsey, 484 S.W.2d 73 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1972); Memphis Housing Authority v. Ryan, supra.

[32] Memphis Housing Authority v. Peabody Garage Co., supra; Lewisburg & Northern Railroad Co. v. Hinds, supra; Union Railway Co. v. Hunton, supra; Maryville Housing Authority v. Ramsey, supra.

[33] Memphis Housing Authority v. Peabody Garage Co., supra; Lewisburg & Northern Railroad Co. v. Hinds, supra; Croate v. Memphis Railroad Terminal Co., 120 Tenn. 525, 111 S.W. 923 (1908); Memphis Housing Authority v. Newton, supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Ryan, supra.

[34] Croate v. Memphis Railroad Terminal Co., supra.

[35] Memphis Housing Authority v. Newton, supra.

[36] Memphis Housing Authority v. Ryan, supra.

[37] Layne v. Speight, supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Newton, supra; State, Department of Highways v. Jennings, supra.

[38] Lewisburg & Northern Railroad Co. v. Hinds, supra; Union Railway Co. v. Hunton, supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Newton, supra; Maryville Housing Authority v. Ramsey, supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Ryan, supra; Edgington v. Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad Co., supra.

[39] Memphis Housing Authority v. Ryan, supra.

[40] Maryville Housing Authority v. Ramsey, supra; Edgington v. Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad Co., supra.

[41] Lewisburg & Northern Railroad Co. v. Hinds, supra.

[42] Shelby County v. Mid-South Title Co., Inc., supra.

[43] Memphis Housing Authority v. Mid-South Title Co., supra.

[44] Sackman and Rohan, 5 Nichols' The Law of Eminent Domain, § 21.31 (Rev. 3d Ed. 1991).

[45] Maryville Housing Authority v. Ramsey, supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Ryan, supra.

[46] Shelby County v. Mid-South Title Co., Inc., supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Newton, supra.

[47] Union Railway Co. v. Hunton, supra; Memphis Housing Authority v. Newton, supra.

Responsible: