A realty specialist works for one of the many US government agencies and may serve as an adviser regarding government property management. This includes ensuring that government property is utilized in the manner for which it was intended or zoned and advising the government on the appropriate uses of newly purchased or vacant land. A realty specialist may work for any government agencies that own, need to acquire, or assess the use of land or property owned by the federal government. Knowledge of lease agreements, real estate laws, and surface and mineral rights are essential for those working in this position.
Current US citizenship and the ability to pass a criminal background check are required for a realty specialist. The US government has a specific process which an applicant must follow. Those who have worked for the federal government previously are required to update their most recent SF-50 form providing information from their most recent performance appraisal. Veterans are required to present a copy of the Certificate of Release or Discharge from active duty in the armed forces. Realty specialists must have no interest or financial investment in companies with interest in US federal land or properties.
Educational requirements for this position vary depending upon the government service (GS) level at which a realty specialist is hired, and salary ranges are determined by the GS level at which realty specialists may work. For example, a GS-5 is required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or three years government employment experience with one year at the GS-4 level. A GS-9 requires a master's degree or two years of progressively higher education leading to a master's degree. A PhD, equivalent doctoral degree, or three years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. is required for those wanting to be hired at the GS-11 level. Previous experience at lower GS levels is required for all of these realty specialist positions.
Working for a federal agency, realty specialists may be required to perform any duties related to the use or acquisition of lands or property within US borders. For example, the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages over 250 million acres of land, primarily located in the western US The activities and expertise of a realty specialist working for the BLM may be needed to help determine sub-surface mineral rights and any related environmental issues. A realty specialist working for the Smithsonian Institute, which is always looking to expand and make room for its extensive collection of antiquities, must be connected to or have extensive knowledge of local or regional real estate markets. A realty specialist may have extensive experience with and knowledge of commercial property leases, local real estate laws, negotiating real estate contracts for acquisition or permits, property inspection, and appraisal.