How to Buy Land Owned by the Government

Buy Land Owned by the Government

The government at the state and federal levels may acquire land previously owned by individuals. These acquisitions are done because of non payment of taxes, criminal investigations, land no longer used by the government and owner's abandonment of land properties.

The government disposes of this land using online and live auction methods. Land owned by the government may include; rural farms, commercial and residential lots. Use these tips to help you buy land owned by the government.

Step 1

Read the land restrictions before placing a bid on a government land auction. There may be restrictions on which residents can buy the land, how long you have to own it to sell it, restrictions on financing and uses of the land.

Find out if you can do a physical inspection of the lots up for auctions. Some agencies allow potential bidders to perform an inspection before hand.

Step 2

Perform a lien search on the land property before placing a bid. Often, land owned by the government may have tax liens. If the liens are not reported on the auction listings, it's a good idea to order a lien search to find out the extent of any outstanding debts.

Step 3

Find land owned by County governments. Counties may hold land sales through auctions of lots acquired because of non tax payments. Visit your county's department of "natural resources", "land management" or "tax assessor" to find land auctions. These auctions are also called Tax Sales.

Step 4

Look for land owned by State Government. States also owned land acquired from individuals due to criminal proceedings and non payment of taxes. Search for your State department of "natural resources" and State Tax Department to find land sales. Follow the agencies instructions to place a bid on a piece of land.

Step 5

Search for land owned by the Federal government. Visit the US General Services Administration or GSA internet site. Find the "property for disposal and sale" link to view descriptions and rules for land for sale. Follow the GSA instructions to bid on a lot of land.

Visit the internet site to find land properties for sale. Find the "buildings and land" tab and look for federal owned land in each state. Click on the land property, the site provides a contact name and email to find additional sale information.


Beware of scams and frauds advertising free land or cheap land. Make sure you are dealing with a government agency or government sponsored agency when bidding on land owned by government.