February 12, 2024

Director of Real Property – Harris County

By Allen Austin

The Director of Real Property

The Director of Real Properties develops, analyzes, and negotiates complex real estate acquisition, disposition, and leases on behalf of the Harris County Engineering Department. This position works on drafting, reviewing, and issuing letters of intent, memoranda of understanding, offer packages, counteroffers, listing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, leases, licenses, operation and maintenance agreements, easements, and right of way agreements. The Director evaluates, reviews, monitors, and keeps all active projects moving forward. This position reports to the Executive Director.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Leads acquisition and disposition projects involving easements, residential, commercial, and industrial properties, sales, leases, right-of-way, or right of entry, and subsequent analysis, management and disposition of the County’s real property interests, to ensure that these real estate transactions are completed in compliance with legal requirements on the part of the Harris County.
  • Compiles required documentation for purchases of land, acquisitions of property, and other real estate services; supports contact with property owners, participates in negotiations, and determines the terms of real estate transactions.
  • Serves as liaison between County personnel and property owners, consultants, and/or developers. Interfaces with departments and outside agencies or firms involving real estate programs, transactions, and/or projects.
  • Manages and maintains a large portfolio of the status of complex real estate projects and internal proceedings.
  • Reviews, approves, and makes recommendations on offer packages, purchase agreements, counteroffers, and cash-flow projections.
  • Negotiates with property owners, agencies, utilities, company officials, and developers on price and arrangements in complex real estate transactions.
  • Leads complex and complicated projects with engineers, attorneys, economic development, utilities, property owners, and outside developers, to ensure that the proposed real estate transactions are completed in compliance with all legal requirements.
  • Manages appraisals of real estate parcels under consideration for purchase by the County to determine fair market value.
  • Determines type and amount of land rights required and the method of acquisition best suited to needs of the County.
  • Collaborates with County Departments on current and pending projects (targeted or strategic) for internal and external uses.
  • Secures real estate appraisals of parcels under consideration for purchase by the County to determine fair market value; prepares requests for proposals and procures independent appraisal services.
  • Performs personnel functions, i.e. interviews job applicants, manages, trains, develops, counsels, and evaluates staff, recommending disciplinary action or reward as appropriate.
  • Acts as a subject matter expert and resource for real estate matters and processes; leads special projects.

Desired Capabilities

The County desires to hire an individual who has the ability, capacity and passion for excellence, process efficiencies and results, and who can lead by example while inspiring others to perform according to established objectives, goals, and values. The incumbent selected is also a collaborative manager, effective communicator and visionary leader who is also responsible, accountable to self and others and committed to the ideals of the department as established by the senior leadership of the organization. Additionally, the new director offers a verifiable record of ethical behaviors, unquestionable character, and impeccable integrity, supported by a profound knowledge of best practices in a fast-paced, large, and complex organization. The new director will possess a thorough working knowledge of real estate appraisal, acquisition, leasing, condemnation, licensure, contract, title company, and closing process. The county is looking for a director who has strong leadership skills to supervise, manage, train, and oversee other real estate specialists they oversee.

This new director must have knowledge of:

  • Operations, services and activities of land acquisition, tax foreclosure proceedings, leasing and abandonments.
  • Laws and regulations related to the sale of surplus city property and tax foreclosed properties.
  • Principles, practices, rules and regulations relating to acquisition, including eminent domain, appraisals, and leasing of real property.
  • Current real estate market and trends.
  • Principles of supervision, training and performance management
  • Principles and techniques of budget preparation.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Business Administration, Public Administration, Real Estate or other relevant field and five years of management in the public or private real estate industry.
  • Ten years of experience in general real estate transactions or related project, program or contract management including responsibility for contract/document preparation.
  •  A Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and current membership of the State Bar of Texas (preferred but not required).

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