Government Agency and D.O.T. (Highway) Scope of Services

Department of TransportationRight-of-Entry

After ownership of the involved properties is determined, Coates Right-of-Way Agents contact the owners to obtain permission to enter the property for any preliminary project inspections. These include environmental inspections and tests, archaeological studies, ground and biological surveys, etc.

Coordination of Survey, Mapping and Engineering

Coates has associated with survey and engineering companies across the United States and maintains files on preferred surveyors and engineers who provide accurate, cost-efficient and timely service. Coates has coordinated many projects with surveyors and engineers to assure that survey permission has been obtained and that survey restrictions are documented and observed. The surveyors stake the proposed right of way line, allowing landowners to see how much property is needed and the appraisers to accurately determine the fair market value. Coates works closely with engineers and surveyors to provide quality control, assuring that legal descriptions, plats and maps are error free.

Relocation Assistance

Coates employs Relocation Specialists who prepare Relocation Assistance Plans in compliance with federal, state and local regulations and list the number, types and needs of all displaced businesses, homes and signs. Coates also calculates the cost of replacement housing and moving costs and provides the necessary inspections. Coates provides technical assistance to displacees, prepares all forms and reports, calculates costs, maintains files, delivers payments and provides condemnation support.

Appraisal and Appraisal Review

Coates employs experienced appraisers to determine fair market value, using the latest available information to support accurate cost estimates. They use the approved appraisal formula of income approach, replacement cost and comparable sales, combined with current market trends, to establish fair value for raw land, commercial, industrial and residential properties.

Coates can also supervise or coordinate efforts with subcontracted appraisers by assisting them in obtaining recorded information or contacting landowners to assure that deadlines are met. Coates can provide appraisal review or subcontract a certified Review Appraiser to evaluate appraisals, prepare reports and determine the accuracy of appraisals.

Coates appraisers are approved and certified by professional appraisal organizations and follow the appraisal formats specified by federal agencies. They are fully qualified as expert witnesses for condemnation proceedings. Coates assigns appraisers who have direct and recent experience in complying with complex federal regulations. Coates is also experienced in partial take condemnation appraisals.

Title Search and Title Curative

Coates can furnish Abstractors who are qualified to provide title reports from county or parish records to the specifications of the client, or if required, retain local licensed attorneys and/or title companies to provide such reports. If local attorneys or companies are employed, Coates reviews their work for accuracy and assures that project schedules are met.

If title insurance is required, Coates can select and monitor the title insurance company and, if required, address and cure title exceptions listed in the title commitment.

Preparation of Legal Descriptions and Plan Review

Coates has the technical capabilities to prepare mathematical computations of land areas, write land descriptions, draft plot plans of plan sheets including all associated materials and conduct field investigations of land conditions. The resulting document pinpoints the right-of-way take area and assures that the legal description is complete, accurate and correct. If necessary, Coates can provide metric descriptions.

Negotiation and Acquisition

Coates' goal is to obtain a satisfactory settlement, based on a valuation in the best interest of the client and the property owner. The client's approved, appraised values are strictly observed.

Coates Right-of-Way Agents conduct negotiations professionally, tactfully and efficiently. All contact is carefully documented and becomes a part of the permanent records. Coates Agents are available whenever and wherever landowners can be met. Some landowners are approached only through an attorney or other representative. Coates Agents will negotiate through any intermediary in order to reach an agreement.

Environmental Services

Coates can assist with due diligence environmental assessments of real property by researching the chain of title and obtaining records from governmental agencies. Coates personnel interview landowners and their neighbors to determine past uses of the land. Coates also works with environmental testing companies to assure that environmental concerns are addressed and that the public safety is given priority.

Electronic Records and Progress Reports

Coates uses a variety of software programs to meet the needs of agencies and DOTs, generating progress reports, ownership lists, acquisition records, budget forecasts and other data that can be transferred to the client's permanent right-of-way records. Coates has assisted many clients in developing efficient databases to update title information, note new subdivision locations or extract key information from old documents and satisfy Internal Revenue Service reporting requirements.

Utility Relocations

Coates Utility Relocation Specialists review proposed plans and assure that the locations of public and private rights-of-way are accurate, that the ownership of the original right-of-way is clear and that the proposed utility relocations will comply with construction plans. The Utility Relocation Specialist assists in developing construction plans that clearly define the route and ownership.


Coates can complete the entire closing process or any portion. Typically Coates determines any additional mortgages and ownership splits after the date of title certification and checks tax records to determine if the owner is current and if tax liens exist. Coates then acquires the necessary partial releases from lending institutions and payment is made to the property owner. Coates also obtains all required title curative documents. For relocation parcels, Coates participates in the closing for the purchase of replacement housing and calculates the closing costs. If the client requests, Coates can subcontract closing services to a local title company or attorney, supervising their activities so that schedules are met.

Property Management, Moving and Demolition

Coates can provide property inventories, resolve discrepancies between appraisal reports, relocation inventories, property owner inventories and tenant inventories. Coates can also supervise inspections and demolition, transfer and terminate utility accounts, handle payments and rental arrangements, document activities for each parcel, coordinate auctions of structures on the right-of-way and resolve environmental problems.

Coates can also subcontract activities such as clearing, sanitation, security services, repairs and moving of structures.

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