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How Many Federal Contracting Officers Are There


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									                                       n o t e s      a n d           i ss u e s

    Federal Government Appraisal Contract Work:
    Where to Find It and How to Get It
    by Kathleen M. Holmes, MAI

    W           ould you like to appraise a lighthouse or
    maybe an old military base? How about apprais-
                                                               entity can bid to a preestablished group of qualified
                                                               appraisers when the need arises for an appraisal
    ing a former post office or courthouse? The federal        assignment as described in the contract.
    government has all of these properties and much                 On the FedBizOpps Web site recently, one of the
    more, including basic office and warehouse facili-         active solicitations was for the Natural Resources
    ties. Federal entities require appraisals for diverse      Conservation Service (NRCS), which was requesting
    uses—acquisition, eminent domain, lease, exchange          quotes for real estate appraisal services throughout
    and auction—and of full- and partial-interest estates.     Illinois. According to that posting, NRCS is expecting
    I have tried to find out the number of appraisals the      a need for 15 appraisals in 11 counties in Illinois for
    federal government consumes in an average year,            conservation easements under the Wetlands Reserve
    but since there are so many federal departments,           Program. The NRCS had similar contracts in other
    agencies, and administrations ordering appraisals,         states as well as a contract for Technical Review Ser-
    neither the contracting officers nor the Federal Busi-     vices. On this particular day, NRCS had numerous
    ness Opportunities representatives I have spoken           offerings, which were more rural in nature. However,
    with know of any one tracking site.                        a look back through listings on FedBizOpps, showed
                                                               other sources of federal appraisal contracts in the
    FedBizOpps                                                 past year or two, including the following:
    The Federal Business Opportunities Web site called           • General Services Administration, Public Build-
    FedBizOpps ( is the common                  ings Service
    site used by all federal entities contracting work. By
                                                                 • General Services Administration (GSA), Physical
    law, all federal contracts over $25,000 must be posted
                                                                   Capital Asset Management Division
    on this Web site.
         A recent check of the FedBizOpps site showed            • Department of Housing and Urban Development
    seven pending appraisal solicitations out for bid. Now       • Department of Agriculture, Rural Development
    that may not seem like a lot; however, many of them          • Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
    are for multiple appraisals. Also, the appraisal solici-     • Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency
    tations are frequently for multiyear periods, such as        • Department of State, Office of Logistics Manage-
    five years, and some have extension options. Often a           ment
    federal entity does not know exactly how many ap-
                                                                 • Department of the Air Force
    praisal assignments it will have or when they will
                                                                 • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    be needed. In order to meet their expected future
    demands for contract appraisers who are qualified to            The GSA is one of the more active users of
    do the assignments, some entities award contracts for      appraisal services since it provides procurement
    “Indefinite Delivery and Indefinite Quantity” (IDIQ)       services for numerous other federal government
    over a period of time. Some contracts are “Blanket         departments and agencies, including buying, sell-
    Purchase Agreements” (BPAs), which are established         ing, and leasing real estate across the country and
    for a period of years and sometimes include option         in territories. To give you some idea of how much
    years. With these IDIQ or BPA contracts, a federal         real estate GSA alone needs appraised, I pulled a

380 The Appraisal Journal, Fall 2006
                                                                                                               notes and issues

summary from one of the recent solicitations it ad-
                                                                           Table 1     Finding Solicitations on FedBizOpps
vertised. In November 2005, GSA’s Physical Capital
                                                                           1.	From	the	opening	page	of,	
Asset Management Division sought information                                   Click	on	the	“go”	box	of	Find	Business	Opportunities	
for a potential nationwide and U.S. Territories (11                            in	the	left-hand	pane.
regional offices) IDIQ contract for appraisal firms                        2.	Scroll	down	the	page	to	the	box	labeled	Search	by	
that specialize in the field of real estate appraisal                      				NAICS	Code	towards	the	bottom	of	the	page.
and consulting services. Following is the summary                          3.	Scroll	down	in	the	NAICS	box	to	code	531—REAL	
GSA used to describe the range of appraisal skills                             ESTATE	and	Click	on	this	line	to	highlight	it.	
required of the appraiser/firm:                                            4.	Click	on	the	FILTER	NAIC	box	immediately	below	the	
                                                                               NAICS	box.
   The company must be proficient in valuing the following                 5.	Scroll	down	to	the	box	labeled	FILTERED	NAIC,	and	in	
   property types: A. GSA’s Portfolio: General Purchase–Of-
                                                                               this	box	Scroll	down	to	code	531320	Offices	of	Real	
   fice, warehouse; Vacant Land—Rural or urban; Special
                                                                               Estate	Appraisals.	Click	on	this	code	to	highlight	it.
   Purpose–Courthouse, post office, historic properties,
   border stations, labs; Mixed use–office/courthouse/re-                  6.	Scroll	to	bottom	of	page	and	Click	on	Start	Search	
   tail; Facilities–Multiple building complexes that may be                    box.
   unique or complex in nature. B. Disposition Properties:                 7.	Look	for	the	new	solicitations	mixed	in	with	the	
   Vacant Land–rural and urban improved parcels typi-                          listings	of	modifications	(changes	to	synopses)	and	
   cally unzoned with multiple potential uses and complex                      amendments	(changes	to	solicitations).	
   features; General Purchase Property–Office Buildings,
   warehouses, industrial, commercial, retail, and residen-                From	there	you’re	on	your	own!	Good	Luck!
   tial properties; Former Government Buildings–Court-
   houses, post office, and federal buildings; Special
   Purpose Facilities–Hospitals, large housing complexes,
   golf courses, historic properties, military installations,
   aviation-related facilities, defense manufacturing plants,              Dun & Bradstreet in the CCR online registra-
   complex industrial facilities, environmentally impacted                 tion process; you also may contact Dun & Brad-
   properties, maritime properties, lighthouses, right-of-                 street at 866-705-5711 to obtain a DUNS number.
   ways, rail spurs, partial interests (air rights, water rights,
   easements, etc.) and other properties that are unique or                     When you view solicitations in FedBizOpps,
   complex in nature.1                                                     you will notice many contracts are set aside for
                                                                           small businesses. The Small Business Administra-
Bids                                                                       tion provides financial, technical, and management
Since all federal contracts over $25,000 must be                           assistance to help Americans start, run, and grow
advertised in FedBizOpps, sooner or later federal                          their businesses. To ensure that a fair percentage of
entities are likely to solicit bids there. Some of the                     government contracts and purchases are awarded to
contracts run for multiple years so they do not come                       small businesses, the Federal Acquisition Regulation
up for bid very often. Although not required to do                         (FAR) describes the process and requirements for
so, some federal entities also use FedBizOpps for                          set-aside contracts on its Web site at www.acqnet
contracts lower than $25,000. For appraisal work                           .gov/far/. A vendor only needs to input business
under the $25,000 threshold, you will need to contact                      information in one database (CCR), which will then
the entity directly to see how they award the assign-                      automatically populate the SBA database. According
ments. A step-by-step process for finding solicitations                    to the CCR Web site, if you are interested in receiving
on FedBizOpps is shown in Table 1.                                         Small Disadvantaged Business, HUBZone, or 8(a)
    Although any vendor may bid, vendors must                              certifications, you will need to refer separately to
register with Central Contracting Registration (CCR)                       SBA to complete that process.2
before they are eligible to be awarded a contract. You
may register on the CCR Web site at                           Standards
To register on CCR, you will need your bank                                Regardless of the dollar amount of a contract, govern-
information, taxpayer I D, and a Data Univer-                              ment agencies share a common thread promulgated
sal Numbering System (DU N S) number pro-                                  by the Federal Acquisition Regulation to conduct
vided by Dun & Bradstreet. There is a link to                              business with integrity, fairness, openness, and

	 .	 FedBizOpps	Solicitation	No.	GS-00P-06-CYD-0012,	Posted	November	4,	2005.
	 .	 Descriptions	of	these	programs	can	be	found	at;;	and

                                                                                                                     The Appraisal Journal, Fall 2006 381
                   notes and issues

    fulfill public policy objectives. Driving the federal                        Conclusion
    government acquisition process is the concept of                             Doing work for the federal government does re-
    “Best Value.” According to FAR 2.101,                                        quire a learning curve, but could be worth the time
        “Best Value” means the expected outcome of an acquisi-                   and effort. Since all federal contracts over $25,000
        tion that, in the Government’s estimation, provides the                  must be advertised in FedBizOpps, sooner or later
        greatest overall benefit in response to the requirement.                 federal entities are likely to solicit bids there. When
                                                                                 one thinks about all the real estate owned by the
          Best value may be, but is not always, the lowest
                                                                                 federal government, the appraisal opportunities
    price or the highest-ranked technical proposal. Often
                                                                                 are limitless.
    it is achieved by a combination of price and non-price
    factors and how the interests of the government are
    best realized.                                                                   Kathleen M. Holmes, MAI,	is	the	Arizona	Lead	Ap-
          In addition to conforming to the Uniform Stan-                         praiser	for	the	Department	of	Interior,	Appraisal	Services	
    dards of Professional Appraisal Practice, much of                             Directorate,	managing	a	program	and	reviewing	apprais-
    the appraisal work required by the federal gov-                                  als	used	for	acquisitions,	disposals,	rights-of-way,	and	
    ernment must conform to the Uniform Appraisal                                 exchanges	of	federal	land.	Her	20-year	appraisal	career	
    Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions. Because                                 includes	working	in	private	practice	commercial	firms,	
    of its rather lengthy name, these standards are com-                         and	positions	as	senior	review	appraiser,	valuation	man-
    monly referred to simply as the “Yellow Book” due                             ager,	and	state	chief	appraiser	for	several	large	national	
    to its yellow cover. The Yellow Book is a complex                            banks.	Holmes	has	been	appointed	to	the	Arizona	State	
    set of guidelines and requirements written by the                                 Land	Department	Board	of	Appeals	by	two	governors	
    Interagency Land Acquisition Conference and pub-                               and	twice	approved	by	the	Arizona	Senate.	She	holds	a	
    lished by the Appraisal Institute. You can obtain this                       real	estate	broker’s	license	and	is	a	member	of	Lambda	
    document through the Appraisal Institute Web site                                  Alpha	International.	Holmes	serves	on	the	Appraisal	
    at,                                Institute’s	Valuation	in	the	Government	Sector	Shared	
    or the Department of Justice Web site at www.usdoj                              Interest	Group.	She	holds	a	B.S.	in	business	adminis-
    .gov/enrd/land-ack/Land_acquisition.html. The Ap-                             tration,	with	a	specialization	in	real	estate,	from	Arizona	
    praisal Institute and the American Society of Farm                                        State	University.	Contact:
    Managers and Rural Appraisers offer Yellow Book
    classes.3 In addition to the Yellow Book regulations,                            This	article	is	the	individual	work	of	the	author	and	
    often agency-specific regulations apply when doing                                    does	not	represent	the	views	of	her	employer.
    federal government work.

     3.	Some	federal	agencies	may	require	appraisers	to	have	completed	a	course	on	the	Yellow	Book	before	the	agency	will	award	a	contract.	

382 The Appraisal Journal, Fall 2006
                                                                                                                       notes and issues

Post-Kelo Legislation on Eminent Domain
Impacts Valuations
by Justin R. Morton

S       tate legislatures spent a good portion of their
2006 legislative sessions ensuring that property own-
                                                                                law also provides for attorney fees and allows for
                                                                                some means of compensating property owners in
ers whose property is taken by eminent domain will                              condemnation proceedings, the bulk of the legisla-
receive just compensation. In response to the U.S.                              tion focuses on the parameters of public use.
Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo v. New London deci-
sion,1 which allows government agencies to take                                 Just Compensation
private property for economic development, state                                A few states have also tackled the issue of how to
legislatures have focused heavily on eminent domain                             justly compensate property owners whose property
and what constitutes just compensation. While the                               has been taken.
majority of states enacted legislation prohibiting                                   Traditionally courts have determined that when
municipalities from taking private property for                                 taking property by eminent domain, the government
economic development, some state legislatures have                              must offer the property owner just compensation.
also enacted laws ensuring that property owners are                             Under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitu-
fairly compensated if their property is subject to a                            tion, the courts have interpreted just compensation
government taking. Some of these newly enacted                                  to mean fair market value. However, some states
laws ensure property owners are fully compensated                               believe that fair market value does not fully compen-
by changing the definitions of just compensation and                            sate an owner whose property is taken by eminent
fair market value. Other state legislatures have gone                           domain. As such, the state legislatures have adopted
as far as altering the appraisal process in order to                            new ways of measuring just compensation.
ensure property owners receive just compensation.                                    One of the most popular ways to ensure just
                                                                                compensation is to require that the state compensate
Public Use                                                                      the owner at a value above and beyond fair market
Over half the states have enacted some type of emi-                             value. During the past year, several states introduced
nent domain reform. The majority of states passed                               legislation that vastly increases the amount of just
legislation defining public use so as not to include                            compensation a property owner would receive. For
economic development. Traditionally public use has                              example, in New Hampshire (HB 1554) legislation
included airports, highways, or other enterprises                               was introduced providing that the price paid for
intended for the general use. However, under the                                property taken in eminent domain shall be at least
Kelo decision local governments were allowed to take                            three times the highest value for the property in the
property for economic development. Most states have                             past 10 years. In a similar vein, in Tennessee (SB
reverted back to the traditional public use definition                          3237) legislation was introduced that required the
and restricted local governments’ ability to take                               state or a municipality condemning private property
property for economic development.                                              to pay the property owner three times the value of
    A good example of this type of state legislation                            the property as determined by the average of three
can be found in Minnesota, where legislation passed                             MAI appraisals. Both of these bills failed to report
(SF 2750) redefining public use and prohibiting                                 from committee, but Tennessee did pass legislation
the local municipalities from taking property for                               redefining public use.
economic development. Although Minnesota’s new

	 .	 Kelo v. City of New London,	125	S.	Ct.	2655	(2005);	for	a	discussion	of	the	issues	in	this	case,	see	Hugh	J.	Totten	and	Jade	R.	Lambert,	“Takings	and	
     Judicial	Deference:	Takings	Law	After	the	2004–05	Supreme	Court	Term,”	The Appraisal Journal	(Fall	2005):	348–362.

                                                                                                                             The Appraisal Journal, Fall 2006 383

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