Total Building Commissioning is the Public Buildings Service process for quality assurance in new construction and facility modernization.

It is the process for achieving, validating and documenting that the performance of the total building and its systems meet the design needs and requirements of the owner.

Workspace Delivery

As the federal government's premier acquisition and workplace solution agency, GSA is committed to designing and delivering workplaces that maximize your long-term economic and strategic value. GSA's Workspace Requirements Development Process (RDP) provides tools, guidance and consultant help that goes beyond delivering traditional office design. Current workplaces are often a poor fit for changes made to organization, initiatives, technologies and staff. Traditional workplace planning that focuses on data does not solve problems that ultimately benefit the organization. RDP is a process that GSA uses to understand the customer's business, employee work patterns, constraints, and mission before the design process begins.

RDP deploys innovative tools and methods to learn an organization's mission, goals and workplace needs before attempting to design for it. RDP is analogous to a tailor who creates a good fit through accurate measurement. The tools are scaled to the level of employee engagement that the client organization deems appropriate and can be designed to be minimally intrusive as the client goes about its mission. As a result, RDP is a customer-driven process which adds real value to real estate.

Governmentwide Real Property Information Sharing (GRPIS) Program

The GRPIS program’s purpose is to encourage and facilitate the sharing of real property information among federal agencies so that better asset management decisions can be made. The program encourages the formation of real property councils within major federal communities nationwide. Active GRPIS councils are centered in Puget Sound, WA; South Florida; Arizona; New Mexico; Kansas City, KS/MO; the Front Range of Colorado; Atlanta, GA; the San Francisco Bay Area; and Portland, OR

GRPIS participants are working level federal real property professionals, including realty specialists, community planners, facility managers, interior designers, contracting officers, and other interested people.

The GRPIS program provides:

  • A common sense strategy for improving real property management.
  • A means to develop an informal, yet defined, network of federal real property colleagues in the local community.
  • A collaborative community-based approach to problem solving and promoting improved uses of resources where participation can lead to tangible results.
  • A process to identify and share “Best Practices” and to recognize innovative approaches/solutions to real property issues.

The GRPIS Team conducts one-on-one site visits with the local federal real property professionals to introduce the GRPIS program and to facilitate the establishment of a local GRPIS council. Once established, the GRPIS Team supports the local councils by facilitating the sharing of real property information and providing planning and administrative support for council meetings. It also supports a ListServ email service that provides participants with frequent updates on real property issues, training opportunities, information sources, and meeting announcements.

Spatial Data Management

GSA's Public Buildings Service (PBS) is mandated by Congress to charge rent to tenants occupying space in owned and leased buildings.

The Spatial Data Management (SDM) Program is GSA’s national effort to create, update, and maintain its spatial data and associated Computer Aided Design (CAD) floor plans to accurately reflect the national federally owned inventory.

SDM CAD floor plans are the basis for the assignment data and square footage information that GSA uses for tenant rent bills. The creation and maintenance of drawings supports accurate rent bills for customer agencies.

The SDM program also aids in the performance and utilization of each asset while identifying the most efficient and cost-effective way to house federal employees.

The GSA Office of Portfolio Management provides national program support to the regional SDM programs through:

  • Implementing the PBS Business Space Assignment Policy
  • Maintaining SDM National Business Process Flows
  • Coordinating significant SDM projects

Regional SDM programs reinforce efficient management of GSA’s real estate portfolio. Asset managers, realty specialists, and property managers must have accurate inventory and assignment information through the regional SDM programs. The SDM drawings produced under the national program provide a graphic record of the GSA building inventory and can also be used as a planning tool and reference for building projects.

Creating Real Estate Classified Ads - Free Real Estate Marketing Tips

Real Estate Downfall followed by a tidal wave rise

Land Ports of Entry

GSA's Border Station Center (BSC) is the central program body for the border station capital program. This office develops and maintains standard processes and procedures to ensure land ports of entry are developed consistently and to an acceptable standard. The center consists of a national program office and two geographic offices specializing in the particulars of each of our two borders. The US Northern Border is managed from the BSC's offices in Denver, Colorado. The US Southern Border is managed from the BSC offices in Forth Worth, Texas. This allows the center to focus on the unique requirements of our neighboring nations and state transportation offices. The center maintains vital planning tools such as the "Border Wizard", a mathematical traffic modeling system utilized to verify traffic performance resulting from border station design.

Additionally, the center has provided single-source delivery on a variety of special projects for federal inspection agencies such as radiation portal monitors, license plate readers, gamma-ray devices, and USVISITS biometric readers.

Real Property Disposal

GSA is responsible for promoting effective use of federal real property assets, as well as the disposal of real property that is no longer mission-critical to federal agencies.

With thousands of properties in the federal portfolio, disposing of underused federal property is a considerable task. GSA—while working together with partner federal agencies, state and local governments, non-profit organizations, business groups, and citizens—leaves a lasting positive impact on communities by making valuable government real estate available for numerous public purposes.

Unneeded or underutilized federal property can vary widely in type and value, and may include:

  • Undeveloped land;
  • Office buildings;
  • Warehouses;
  • Commercial and industrial facilities;
  • Military holdings; and
  • Single- and multi-family residences.

These former federal properties can contribute to a community’s vitality by providing benefits such as:

  • Expanded employment opportunities;
  • Housing for the homeless; and
  • Establishment of educational centers, parks, and open spaces.

Property may be located in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories.

Asset Forfeiture Program

The Marshals Service administers the Department of Justice's Asset Forfeiture Program by managing and disposing of properties seized and forfeited by federal law enforcement agencies and U.S. attorneys nationwide. The program has become a key part of the federal government's efforts to combat major criminal activities.

There are three goals of the Asset Forfeiture Program: enforcing the law; improving law enforcement cooperation; and enhancing law enforcement through revenue. Asset forfeiture is a law enforcement success story, and the Marshals Service plays a vital role.

In 1984, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which gave federal prosecutors new forfeiture provisions to combat crime. Also created by this legislation was the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF). The proceeds from the sale of forfeited assets such as real property, vehicles, businesses, financial instruments, vessels, aircraft and jewelry are deposited into the AFF and are subsequently used to further law enforcement initiatives.

Moreover, under the Equitable Sharing Program, the proceeds from sales are often shared with the state and local enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation which led to the seizure of the assets. This important program enhances law enforcement cooperation between state/local agencies and federal agencies.

The asset forfeiture community consists of: The Marshals Service; U.S. Attorney's Offices; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Department of Homeland Security, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

It is important to note that the Marshals Service participates with the U.S. Attorneys Offices and the investigative agencies in pre-seizure planning — the first critical step to ensuring that sound, well-informed forfeiture decisions are made.

The role of the Marshals Service is to not only serve as custodian of seized and forfeited property but also to provide information and assist prosecutors in making informed decisions about property that is targeted for forfeiture. The Marshals Service manages and disposes of all assets seized for forfeiture by utilizing successful procedures employed by the private sector. The Marshals Service contracts with qualified vendors who minimize the amount of time an asset remains in inventory and maximize the net return to the government.

NOTE: The Marshals Service's National Sellers List (Pub. 319P) is available from the Consumer Information Center at 1-888-878-3256 for $1.00. The same list can be downloaded or printed free of charge from the U.S. Marshals Service website by clicking here. Both sources provide the same information contained in commercially marketed publications.

Nature of the Work of Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

Appraisers and assessors of real estate estimate the value of property for a variety of purposes, such as to assess property tax, to confirm adequate collateral for mortgages, to confirm or help set a good sales price, to settle an estate, or to aid in a divorce settlement. They often specialize in appraising or assessing a certain type of real estate such as residential buildings or commercial properties. However, they may be called on to estimate the value of any type of real estate, ranging from farmland to a major shopping center. Assessors estimate the value of all properties in a locality for property tax purposes whereas appraisers appraise properties one at a time.

Valuations of all types of real property are conducted using similar methods, regardless of the type of property or who employs the appraiser or assessor. Appraisers and assessors work in localities they are familiar with so they have knowledge of any environmental or other concerns that may affect the value of a property. They note any unique characteristics of the property and of the surrounding area, such as a specific architectural style of a building or a major highway located next to the parcel. They also take into account additional aspects of a property like the condition of the foundation and roof of a building or any renovations that may have been done. Additionally, they may take pictures to document a certain room or feature, in addition to taking pictures of the exterior of the building. After visiting the property, the appraiser or assessor will estimate the fair value of the property by taking into consideration such things as comparable home sales, lease records, location, view, previous appraisals, and income potential.

Appraisers and assessors write detailed reports on their research and observations, stating the value of the parcel as well as the precise reasoning and methodology of how they arrived at the estimate. Writing reports has become faster and easier through the use of laptop computers, allowing them to access data and write at least some of the report on-site. Another computer technology that has affected this occupation is the electronic map of a given jurisdiction and its respective property distribution. Appraisers and assessors use these maps to obtain an accurate perspective on the property and buildings surrounding a property. Digital photos also are commonly used to document the physical appearance of a building or land at the time of appraisal.

Appraisers have independent clients and focus solely on valuing one property at a time. They primarily work on a client-to-client basis, and make appraisals for a variety of reasons. Real property appraisers often specialize by the type of real estate they appraise, such as residential properties, golf courses, or strip malls. In general, commercial appraisers have the ability to appraise any real property but may specialize only in property used for commercial purposes, such as stores or hotels. Residential appraisers focus on appraising homes or other residences and only value those that house 1 to 4 families. Other appraisers have a general practice and value any type of real property.

Assessors predominately work for local governments and are responsible for valuing properties for property tax assessment purposes. Most senior assessors are appointed or elected to their position. Unlike appraisers, assessors often value entire neighborhoods using mass appraisal techniques to value all the homes in a local neighborhood at one time. Although they do not usually focus on a single property they may assess a single property if the property owner challenges the assessment. They may use a computer-programmed automated valuation model specifically developed for their assigned jurisdictions. In most jurisdictions the entire community must be revalued annually or every few years. Depending on the size of the jurisdiction and the number of staff in an assessor’s office, an appraisal firm, often called a revaluation firm, may do much of the work of valuing the properties in the jurisdiction. These results are then officially certified by the assessor.

When properties are reassessed, assessors issue notices of assessments and taxes that each property owner must pay. Assessors must be current on tax assessment procedures and must be able to defend the accuracy of their property assessments, either to the owner directly or at a public hearing, since assessors also are responsible for dealing with tax payers who want to contest their assigned property taxes. Assessors also keep a database of every parcel in their jurisdiction labeling the property owner, issued tax assessment, and size of the property, as well as property maps of the jurisdiction that detail the property distribution of the jurisdiction.

Work environment. Appraisers and assessors spend much of their time researching and writing reports. However, with the advancement of computers and other technologies, such as wireless Internet, time spent in the office has decreased as research can now be done in less time or on-site or at home. Records that once required a visit to a courthouse or city hall often can be found online. This has especially affected self-employed appraisers, often called independent fee appraisers, who make their own office hours, allowing them to spend much more time on-site doing research and less time in their office. Time spent on-site versus in the office also depends on the specialty. For example, residential appraisers tend to spend less time on office work than commercial appraisers, who could spend up to several weeks at one site analyzing documents and writing reports. Appraisers who work for private institutions generally spend most of their time inside the office, making on-site visits when necessary. Appraisers and assessors usually conduct on-site appraisal work alone.

Independent fee appraisers tend to work more than a standard 40 hour work week, in addition to working evenings and weekends writing reports. On-site visits usually occur during daylight hours, and according to the client’s schedule. Assessors and privately employed appraisers, on the other hand, usually work a standard 40-hour work week. Occasionally they work an evening or Saturday, to speak with a concerned tax payer, for example. More than 10 percent of appraisers and assessors worked part time in 2006.

Most independent fee appraisers’ offices are relatively small, consisting of either just themselves or a small staff. However, private institutions such as banks and mortgage broker offices may employ several appraisers in one office. The size of the office employing assessors depends on the size of the local government; in some States assessments are by counties whereas in other States assessments are made by municipalities or other local governments. Therefore a county assessor’s office probably would employ more assessors than a small town, which may only employ a single assessor.

General Martha Coakley Enters into Settlement to Address Alleged Discrimination Against a Woman and Her Young Child by a Boston Real Estate Company

Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office obtained a consent judgment against City Realty Group, LLC, a Boston-based realty company, and its agent, Matthew A. Rose, resolving claims that the company refused to rent an apartment to a tester from the Boston Fair Housing Commission posing as a woman with a three-year old child whose presence would require abatement of lead paint hazards under state law. The consent judgment, entered by Judge MaryLou Muirhead in Boston Housing Court, orders the defendants to pay a total of $5,000 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Boston-based Lead Action Collaborative and bars the defendants from future acts of discrimination.

“It is illegal to refuse to rent an apartment to a family with young children or to steer prospective tenants away from properties that may contain lead paint,” said Attorney General Coakley. “Massachusetts landlords, real estate companies and others involved in the rental property business need to abide by important state laws that are designed to combat discrimination and protect the health and safety of our children.”

According to the complaint filed by the Commonwealth on February 20, 2009, the fair housing tester inquired about an apartment advertised by City Realty Group on Craigslist. After the tester informed the agent that she had a three-year old child, the agent refused to show her the apartment unless she agreed to sign a waiver that purported to absolve the owner of the unit from liability due to any lead paint found in the apartment.

The settlement also requires the defendants to attend fair housing training and implement non-discrimination policies. The consent judgment further requires the defendants to advertise as equal housing opportunity real estate agents and maintain records of those apartments that they advertise that contain lead paint.

The Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits real estate companies, agents, landlords and others involved in property rentals, from discriminating against families. In addition, the Massachusetts Lead Paint Statute requires landlords who rent to families with children under the age of six to abate lead hazards in a rental unit in order to prevent lead poisoning. It is illegal to discriminate against families with children in order to avoid compliance with the lead paint law.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Alan Jay Rom of Attorney General Coakley’s Civil Rights Division.

"Fee/USPAP" Renewals

A Fee/USPAP Renewal is the first renewal after the beginning of your CE Cycle. This renewal requires documentation of the seven-hour National USPAP Update Course taken within the license term.

This course applies towards the total number of continuing education hours required to renew the subsequent license. Therefore, at that time, assuming a license was not renewed on a "late renewal basis," "Full CE Renewals" will require 49 additional hours of continuing education. The continuing education must include an additional seven-hour National USPAP Update Course.

Please note: If a license within a CE Cycle is renewed during the two-year grace period that follows a license expiration, continuing education will continue to accrue in the amount of seven hours for each six-month period a license application is late. In addition, if your license expires, you may not legally perform real estate appraisals in federally related transactions.

Simple Tool To Analyze Real Estate Deal Risk

Real Estate Agent Training

Broker Compliance Evaluation Manual

The Broker Compliance Evaluation Manual was prepared to primarily assist the real estate broker conducting residential sales in ascertaining his/her compliance with Department of Real Estate requirements. It contains many of the questions that you would be asked if visited by a Department of Real Estate representative. It is divided into two sections: the first dealing with general brokerage office procedures and the other focuses on trust fund handling.

This manual was not designed to encompass all of your obligations and responsibilities under the Real Estate Law but rather as one of the tools you may use when reviewing your records and office procedures. We hope that it will assist you.

How To Be A GREAT Real Estate Agent

Nature of the Work of Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers

To businesses and investors, properly managed real estate is a source of income and profits; to homeowners, well-managed property is a way to preserve and enhance resale values and increase comfort. Property, real estate, and community association managers maintain and increase the value of real estate investments by handling the logistics of running a property. Property and real estate managers oversee the performance of income-producing commercial or residential properties and ensure that real estate investments achieve their expected revenues. Community association managers manage the common property and services of condominiums, cooperatives, and planned communities through their homeowner or community associations.

When owners of apartments, office buildings, or retail or industrial properties lack the time or expertise needed for the day-to-day management of their real estate investments or homeowner associations, they often hire a property or real estate manager or a community association manager. The manager is employed either directly by the owner or indirectly through a contract with a property management firm.

Generally, property and real estate managers handle the financial operations of the property, ensuring that rent is collected and that mortgages, taxes, insurance premiums, payroll, and maintenance bills are paid on time. In community associations, homeowners pay no rent and pay their own real estate taxes and mortgages, but community association managers collect association dues. Some property managers, usually senior-level property managers, supervise the preparation of financial statements and periodically report to the owners on the status of the property, occupancy rates, expiration dates of leases, and other matters.

Often, property managers negotiate contracts for janitorial, security, groundskeeping, trash removal, and other services. When contracts are awarded competitively, managers solicit bids from several contractors and advise the owners on which bid to accept. They monitor the performance of contractors, and investigate and resolve complaints from residents and tenants when services are not properly provided. Managers also purchase supplies and equipment for the property, and make arrangements with specialists for repairs that cannot be handled by regular property maintenance staff.

In addition to fulfilling these duties, property managers must understand and comply with relevant legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Fair Housing Amendment Act, and local fair housing laws. They must ensure that their renting and advertising practices are not discriminatory, and that the property itself complies with all of the local, State, and Federal regulations and building codes.

Onsite property managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a single property, such as an office building, a shopping center, a community association, or an apartment complex. To ensure that the property is safe and properly maintained, onsite managers routinely inspect the grounds, facilities, and equipment to determine whether repairs or maintenance are needed. In handling requests for repairs or trying to resolve complaints, they meet not only with current residents, but also with prospective residents or tenants to show vacant apartments or office space. Onsite managers also are responsible for enforcing the terms of rental or lease agreements, such as rent collection, parking and pet restrictions, and termination-of-lease procedures. Other important duties of onsite managers include keeping accurate, up-to-date records of income and expenditures from property operations and submitting regular expense reports to the senior-level property manager or owners.

Property managers who do not work onsite act as a liaison between the onsite manager and the owner. They also market vacant space to prospective tenants by hiring a leasing agent, advertising, or other means, and they establish rental rates in accordance with prevailing local economic conditions.

Some property and real estate managers, often called real estate asset managers, act as the property owners’ agent and adviser for the property. They plan and direct the purchase, development, and disposition of real estate on behalf of the business and investors. These managers focus on long-term strategic financial planning, rather than on day-to-day operations of the property.

In deciding to acquire property, real estate asset managers consider several factors, such as property values, taxes, zoning, population growth, transportation, and traffic volume and patterns. Once a site is selected, they negotiate contracts for the purchase or lease of the property, securing the most beneficial terms. Real estate asset managers review their company’s real estate holdings periodically and identify properties that are no longer financially profitable. They then negotiate the sale of, or terminate the lease on, such properties.

Community association managers, on the other hand, do work that more closely parallels that of onsite property managers. They collect monthly assessments, prepare financial statements and budgets, negotiate with contractors, and help to resolve complaints. In other respects, however, the work of association managers differs from that of other residential property and real estate managers because they interact with homeowners and other residents on a daily basis. Usually hired by a volunteer board of directors of the association, they administer the daily affairs, and oversee the maintenance, of property and facilities that the homeowners own and use jointly through the association. They also assist the board and owners in complying with association and government rules and regulations.

Some associations encompass thousands of homes and employ their own onsite staff and managers. In addition to administering the associations’ financial records and budget, managers may be responsible for the operation of community pools, golf courses, and community centers, and for the maintenance of landscaping and parking areas. Community association managers also may meet with the elected boards of directors to discuss and resolve legal issues or disputes that may affect the owners, as well as to review any proposed changes or improvements by homeowners to their properties, to make sure that they comply with community guidelines.

Work environment. The offices of most property, real estate, and community association managers are clean, modern, and well lighted. However, many managers spend a major portion of their time away from their desks. Onsite managers, in particular, may spend a large portion of their workday away from their offices, visiting the building engineer, showing apartments, checking on the janitorial and maintenance staff, or investigating problems reported by tenants. Property and real estate managers frequently visit the properties they oversee, sometimes daily when contractors are doing major repair or renovation work. Real estate asset managers may spend time away from home while traveling to company real estate holdings or searching for properties to acquire.

Property, real estate, and community association managers often must attend evening meetings with residents, property owners, community association boards of directors, or civic groups. Not surprisingly, many managers put in long workweeks, especially before financial and tax reports are due and before board and annual meetings. Some apartment managers are required to live in the apartment complexes where they work, so that they are available to handle emergencies, even when they are off duty. They usually receive compensatory time off for working nights or weekends. Many apartment managers receive time off during the week so that they are available on weekends to show apartments to prospective residents.

Real Estate Tips : How to Buy Foreclosed Homes

Installment Sales - Real Estate Tax Tips

An installment sale is a sale of property where you receive at least one payment after the tax year of the sale. If you dispose of property in an installment sale, you report part of your gain when you receive each installment payment. You cannot use the installment method to report a loss.

General Rules

If a sale qualifies as an installment sale, the gain must be reported under the installment method unless:

  • You elect out of using the installment method
  • You are not a qualified accrual method taxpayer

FDIC Adopts Guidance on Prudent Commercial Real Estate Loan Workouts

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in coordination with the other member Agencies of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), adopted a policy statement today supporting prudent commercial real estate (CRE) loan workouts. This policy statement stresses that performing loans, including those that have been renewed or restructured on reasonable modified terms, made to creditworthy borrowers will not be subject to adverse classification solely because the value of the underlying collateral declined.

This policy statement provides guidance to examiners, and financial institutions that are working with CRE borrowers who are experiencing diminished operating cash flows, depreciated collateral values, or prolonged delays in selling or renting commercial properties. It also recognizes that during these difficult economic circumstances, continued credit availability to businesses, especially small businesses, is challenging, even where borrower performance has been acceptable. This policy statement reflects the appropriate balance of prudent credit practices and meeting legitimate credit needs.

The FFIEC Agencies recognize that prudent loan workouts are often in the best interest of both financial institutions and borrowers, particularly during difficult economic conditions. This policy statement details risk-management practices for loan workouts that support prudent and pragmatic credit and business decisionmaking within the framework of financial accuracy, transparency, and timely loss recognition. Financial institutions that implement prudent loan workout arrangements after performing comprehensive reviews of borrowers' financial conditions will not be subject to criticism for engaging in these efforts, even if the restructured loans have weaknesses that result in adverse credit classifications.

The policy statement includes examples of CRE loan workouts. The examples, provided for illustrative purposes only, reflect examiners' analytical processes for credit classifications and assessments of institutions' accounting and reporting treatments for restructured loans. The policy statement reiterates existing guidance that examiners are expected to take a balanced approach in assessing institutions' risk-management practices for loan workout activities.

The member Agencies of the FFIEC include the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the FFIEC State Liaison Committee. The FDIC currently chairs the FFIEC.

Escrow Violations

In California, escrow processing can be performed under various forms of licensure. Most commonly, real estate related escrows are performed by independent escrow companies licensed by the California Department of Corporations and title insurance companies licensed by the California Department of Insurance. Real estate brokers licensed by the California Department of Real Estate can also perform escrows, but only in transactions where the broker is acting as an agent.