How To Buy Land Owned by the Government

The government gets to acquire properties, mostly from individual land owners.  The land titles are transferred to the government due to tax non-payment, criminal case, or property desertion.  In some cases, the government possesses land areas that are no longer utilized.  The land properties range from residential to commercial lots; from rural farms to business spaces.

If you are interested to bid for any of those properties, the government offers them on-line or through live auction.  Here are some pointers on how you can buy a piece of land that is owned by the government:

  • Know about the inherent restrictions of the land.  You can inquire and read about the specific restrictions before you place your bid on the land in an actual auction.  Find out if a resident like you can aim to buy or own it.  Is there a time frame on how long you should own the property before you get to decide to sell it?  Are there limitations on your financing options?  What about your intended use for the land?  Is it permitted?  Being familiar with these details allows you to make sensible decisions.
  • Find time to physically inspect your target property.  Inquire if you can visit the actual lot area.  You need to see it for yourself.  Your trip to the land property can give you a better vantage if it is really what you imagined it to be.  Government agencies often encourage and permit potential buyers like you to see the land property ahead of time to minimize the hassles.
  • Carry out a lien search on your desired land property.  Most of the time, government-owned lot areas have corresponding tax liens.  If the government agency who is hosting the auction doesn't report the liens, it doesn't automatically mean that everything is all right.  It is important to pursue a lien search so you can estimate your possible outstanding obligation.
  • Consider other options.  There are reliable Internet sites that you can check out.  Log-in to the US General Services Administration (GSA) official web page.  Click the tab that reads, "Property for Disposal & Sale".  Then, you can already access all the available properties, complete with their corresponding descriptions and sale mechanics.  GSA sets specific instructions on land bidding.  Strictly follow them for convenience and expediency.   You can also go to  Access the tab that says "Building & Land" so you can see the list of federal-owned properties in each particular state.  By clicking the specific land property, you get to note the contact person.  You can also choose to email a link if you need to hear more about some sale information.

If you are not Internet savvy, you may visit your county.  Inquire from the natural resources department, land management office, or tax assessment center.  They normally hold land auctions referred to as "tax sales".  Most of the properties there were acquired due to non-payment of tax.

Be cautious.  Sometimes, fraudulent advertisements and scams give you deals that sound too good to be true.  They talk about cheap land properties or free land properties.  See to it that you only deal with a duly-authorized government agency or any of its duly-sponsored institution.


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