Frequently Asked Questions
- Where does Spitzer & Associates provide services?
- Does Spitzer & Associates only handle real estate work for governmental entities?
- What does Spitzer & Associates mean by “oversight” of a project?
- What does “due diligence services” mean?
- Spitzer & Associates has an attorney as a part of its Leadership Team. Does that mean you provide legal services?
- Spitzer & Associates is active in many organizations—especially on the national level—should that matter to me? I’m just a small local entity?
- What is “The Uniform Act” and why does it matter to me?
- What is a “local public agency?”
- What if my project requires an expertise that Spitzer & Associates cannot provide?
Where does Spitzer & Associates provide services?
We have provided services all over Texas, in Indiana, Florida, California, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Our business plan includes providing services in multiple places through out the United States.
Does Spitzer & Associates only handle real estate work for governmental entities?
No. We also do public involvement and real estate project management oversight for governmental entities. In addition to governmental entities, our clients include privately owned utility companies, telecommunications companies and private sector individuals and companies. For example, Spitzer & Associates is currently in the process of handling the development process for a residential subdivision of a ranch property in the Wimberley, Texas area and has been involved in the development process of a new campus for the Institute for Individual and World Peace in Santa Barbara, California. We also handle site acquisition and brokerage representation for private sector clients.
What does Spitzer & Associates mean by “oversight” of a project?
When we use the term “oversight” we are referring to a whole range of services that we provide. An organization may hire Spitzer & Associates to provide expert advice for its existing operations to ensure compliance with federal regulations or to maximize efficiency and thus save money. Many entities have learned that it can be very beneficial to have a “second set of (experienced) eyes” look at the workings of a project or a department. We may be hired to review budgets, cost estimates, schedules, and processes. We can also monitor a project or program and advise management of potential problems, issues, and opportunities. Spitzer & Associates is currently a sub consultant to engineering firms providing these services on behalf of the Federal Transit Administration. In this scenario, we represent the federal government to ensure that the real estate portion of programs it funds are being handled efficiently and are following the Uniform Act and other applicable regulations. We also ensure, in the lingo of the industry, that its real estate programs have the “capacity and capability” to meet its budgets and schedules.
Project (Program) Oversight in some capacity makes sense. It provides unbiased outside advice and expertise to ensure that your projects meet schedules and budgets and applicable regulations. It saves time and money.
What does “due diligence services” mean?
“Due diligence” means different things in different industries—yet it all means essentially the same thing. It originally came into common use as a result of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933. In the act, Broker-Dealers would not be held liable for nondisclosure of information that failed to be uncovered in the process as long as they had conducted a “Due Diligence” investigation into the company who’s equity they were selling and disclosed to the investor what they found.
A due diligence investigation is a reasonable investigation to find all facts that would be of interest to an investor or acquirer of a business (or in our industry, property). It may or may not uncover all such facts, but it should be done in a manner reasonably calculated to do so.
Thus there are due diligence investigations concerning stock offerings and similarly, when a company is being purchased. Even in the real estate industry there are different kinds of due diligence investigations.
One type is when an entity purchases a site, usually for subdivision or development of a specific use. Often there is a period, after the tract is under contract and before it closes, when a prospective buyer has the right to determine if the site can be used as intended. It involves research into a number of issues that affect the property and its uses. These may include zoning, flood plain, development restrictions, environmental issues, title, and a myriad of other issues that need to be investigated. Spitzer & Associates can expertly provide this service for you.
Another type of real estate due diligence is determining exactly what property and/or easements a company or individual owns. This is most common when an entity owns a number of tracts and/or easements, like say a utility or telecommunication firm does. They may have expanded by buying competitors who had their own holdings. Spitzer & Associates has been hired in such a situation to provide due diligence services to determine where the company held easements, fee simple tracts, and improvements. We can create databases to track this information in an orderly efficient manner. We can acquire additional property rights when they may be needed to accompany what is already determined to be owned.
Thus “Due Diligence” is a broad term that is used in slightly different ways by a number of different industries. Regardless, it essentially means a thorough, comprehensive investigation. Spitzer & Associates is very experienced when the term is applied to real estate.
Spitzer & Associates has an attorney as a part of its Leadership Team. Does that mean you provide legal services?
No. Not traditional legal services, as you might imagine. It means that we have someone on our team with extensive real estate legal experience—especially in the legal end of governmental real estate and regulations. This is an asset in a wide variety of projects, such as: project management oversight, project management, relocation assistance and acquisition services, due diligence services, etc. Having an attorney as a part of the team is a big asset for Spitzer & Associates. It means we can provide limited legal opinions and strategizing related to our projects. It is another level of quality assurance for you.
Spitzer & Associates is active in many organizations—especially on the national level—should that matter to me? I’m just a small local entity?
Because nobody, no matter how good they are knows everything. If they tell you they do, turn around slowly and start walking.
Our national involvement means numerous contacts with experts all over the country. These are resources upon which we rely (and they rely upon us) for guidance in unusual or complex situations. We bounce ideas off each other. Often we team together to provide services for a project; relying upon the particular strengths of each company to provide the client with the best service possible.
This involvement costs Spitzer & Associates time and money, but it is well worth it. It keeps us up to date on the latest issues and changes in laws and regulations. It empowers our employees and helps us to continue to provide the highest quality staffing possible. Besides that—it’s fun.
What is “The Uniform Act” and why does it matter to me?
The “Uniform Act”, as it is commonly called in our industry, is short for “The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970.”
The Uniform Act and its amendments are a lengthy and complex set of regulations that govern all acquisitions of real estate involving federal funds and the relocation of people displaced by similar governmental acquisitions. Recognizing that the taking of private land for a public use is a sensitive issue, the United States Congress created this act to ensure that property owners are treated fairly during such transactions and related relocations.
This act does not matter to you if you are a private developer and your project doesn’t involve a governmental entity. It may not matter to you if you work for a governmental entity handling a project that uses no federal funds and you never want any thing related to this project to be qualified to accept federal funding.
It is very important to you if your governmental or quasi-governmental project involves federal funding. Then you are required to handle all actions involving real estate and relocation of people or businesses according to its regulations, and you should remember that this starts at the beginning of the process—not just when you are ready to write a contract to buy the land.
Therefore it is important that if you are not staffed with agents who are well-versed in The Uniform Act, you use Spitzer & Associates to handle the acquisitions and/or relocation assistance or to provide expert training, project management, and/or oversight to ensure that your existing staff handles it correctly. Your project funding depends upon it; as does funding associated with future phases or expansions.
Also let us point out that a lot of state funds are made up in part with funds they have received from the federal government. If there are any federal funds involved, you must follow the requirements of The Uniform Act or potentially jeopardize your project funding.
What is a “local public agency?”
Local public agency (“LPA”) is a term that usually means a city or county that is partnering with a state department of transportation to complete an improvement project. It might also be a transportation corporation or other entity created to handle such issues. Such LPA’s may not have a large real estate staff and can benefit from hiring Spitzer & Associates when they need to complete a project.
What if my project requires an expertise that Spitzer & Associates cannot provide?
That’s not unusual. We handle that smoothly all the time. For example, we do not currently employ appraisers at Spitzer & Associates, but we have a number of qualified appraisal experts that we include as a part of our team when a project requires appraisal work or expertise. The client approves them; we manage them. The process works seamlessly. Similarly there are others with expertise that may be necessary occasionally upon which we rely when needed. These are leading experts, who are experienced in this type of work.
Sometimes because of the location of a project or staffing demands, we team with other quality right of way consultants to provide comprehensive service for a client. Your needs will be met within your requirements.