The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided a case which allowed evidence of purchase offers in addition to the traditional evidence of comparable sales. In Lower Makefield Township v. Lands of Dalgewicz, (No. 33 MAP 2011, Decided 5/29/13) the Supreme Court allowed the property owner to testify to an offer to purchase his property. An offer letter was admitted into evidence. Both parties stipulated to the authenticity of the offer. The court reasoned that the owner had provided a sufficient foundation to establish that the offer was made in good faith, by a party acquainted with the value of the property and with sufficient intention and ability to pay.
The case thus blurs the prior bright line distinction that offers were not adequate evidence, while comparable sales were valid evidence. The ruling appears to favor property owners as being the ones to be in receipt of the offers to purchase. Nevertheless, property owners should be mindful that it is possible that a condemnor would uncover evidence of a low offer and attempt to make use of such an offer as evidence. Property owners would be wise to obtain written proof of offers of relatively high purchase offers.