In order for the city to build needed public improvements like roads, sidewalks and bus stops to support local planning initiatives and growth, it is sometimes necessary to acquire private property. The acquisition of private property is governed by federal, state and local laws to ensure that affected property owners are treated fairly and consistently. The city's process for acquiring private property for public use can be summarized in seven steps, which are outlined in the video below and transcribed on this page.

​The seven-step real estate acquisition process

  • The city undertakes an extensive and thorough planning and engineering process that includes community input.

  • The city develops final design plans and determines whether private property is necessary to construct a desired public improvement​

  • A real estate agent representing the city contacts affected property owners

  • The real estate agent explains the project and the impacts. In most cases, only small portions of private property are affected.​

  • A valuation is prepared to determine fair compensation for the property.

  • For more complex acquisitions, an independent appraisal may be conducted.​

  • The real estate agent presents a written offer to purchase the needed easements on the property.

  • The property owner reviews the offer.​

  • The property owner accepts the offer or makes a counteroffer and negotiates with the agent.

  • The real estate agent and the property owner reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.​

  • The real estate agent presents the closing paperwork to the property owner

  • The property owner signs the paperwork and returns it to the real estate agent

  • City Council approves the purchase​

​The city processes the transaction and the property owner receives payment

​Real estate acquisition FAQs

The determination that private property is necessary to construct a public improvement is based on an extensive planning and engineering process. This process involves public involvement and collaboration with City departments to balance the need for public improvements with impacts to private property. You can learn more about planned City projects at

You will be contacted by a licensed real estate agent representing the City of Charlotte shortly after the final plans are approved for the project. These plans show in detail the locations of right-of-way and easements needed from each property.​

​In an effort to offer fair compensation for your property, the city considers a variety of factors, such as the size of the acquisition, zoning, assessed value, property improvements and comparable sales of similar properties. If the acquisition is more complex, a certified independent appraisal may be prepared. Federal and state laws require the city of pay each property owner the fair market value of the property taken.

Links to governing laws

Federal Uniform Act

NC General Statutes Chapter 40A

City of Charlotte Code of Ordinances Chapter 7, Article V, Section 7.81

​If you are not in agreement with the city's offer, you should inform your real estate agent. You may also make a reasonable counteroffer with supporting documentation or obtain your own appraisal.

​Signage impacts will be handled on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, the project may be designed to accommodate existing signage. In other cases, the city will work with business owners to relocate signage.

​The city will value improvements in the area to be acquired and include them in the offer to purchase. This includes items such as paving, landscaping, lighting, fencing and other items that cannot be relocated.

​Active projects in the real estate acquisition phase