Can I Buy Land From The Government? | askBAMLand

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases. The images and content on this page may be created by, or with the assistance of, artificial intelligence, and should be used for entertainment and informational purposes only.

Want to purchase land owned by the government? Here's everything you need to know to navigate the process and find the right property for you.

Yes, it’s possible to buy land from the government. The government often has surplus personal and real property available for lease or sale by qualified parties. This can include everything from land to office buildings, military holdings, and more.

I’ve done extensive research to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information on buying land from the government. I understand that purchasing land can be a daunting process, but I’m here to guide you through it. Read on to learn and equip yourself on how to navigate the process of buying land from the government and find the perfect piece of property for your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Buying land from the government can be a great way to buy land at a fair market price.
  • The government sells surplus real and personal properties.
  • Be prepared to handle more paperwork and regulations.
  • You should also beware of the potential challenges of buying government land.
  • Do your research and make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the sale.

Table of Contents

Can I Buy Land from the Government? Government Land Available for Purchase

Yes, you can buy land from the US government. There are various government lands available for purchase; you only need to familiarize yourself with the available options. Here are the three main categories of government-owned land:

Federal Land

The federal government owns millions of acres of land across the United States, including national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. Some of this land is put up for sale by federal agencies and are available for purchase by individuals, businesses, and organizations.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing most of the federal government's land, and they offer a variety of programs for buying land, including:

  • Direct Sales
  • Competitive Sales
  • Land Exchanges
  • Land Donations

It's important to note that not all federal government land is available for purchase. Some areas are protected for conservation or other purposes and are not open to private ownership or as personal property.

State Land

In addition to federal government land, each state owns a significant amount of land. The land managed by state agencies is often used for public purposes like parks, wildlife management areas, and state forests.

Some state-owned surplus land is available for purchase, and the process for buying state land varies by state. For example, Florida state offers its surplus land for bidding or auction, and in most cases, the land is sold at a good deal.

In general, you'll need to contact the appropriate state agency to inquire about the available land sales and the purchasing process.

Local Government Lands

Local governments, like cities and counties, also own land that may be available for purchase. This land is often used for public purposes like parks, schools, and government buildings.

The process for buying local government land varies by location, but you can usually find information on the local government's website or by contacting the appropriate department.

How To Find Government Land for Sale

If you're interested in buying land from the government, there are several ways to find out the available land sales. Here are a few options:

1. Check government websites

The General Services Administration (GSA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development can be great places to find or search for government land sales. These websites often have detailed information about the land, including location, size, and potential uses.

2. Attend government land auctions

The government sometimes holds auctions to sell land that is no longer needed. These auctions are usually open to the public, where the highest bidder gets to buy the land.

Government auctions can be a great way to find land for sale at a reasonable price. Check with the GSA, BLM, and USDA Rural Development to find out when and where these auctions are taking place.

3. Contact government agencies directly

If you have a specific type of land in mind, you can contact government agencies directly to see if they have surplus property.

For example, if you're interested in buying land for farming, you could contact the USDA. If you're interested in buying land for recreational use, you could contact the National Park Service or the Forest Service.

4. Use a real estate agent

Some real estate agents specialize in selling government-owned properties. They can help you find land that meets your needs and guide you through getting a fair market value and buying. Keep in mind that you may have to pay a commission fee for their services.

Steps to Buying Government Land

Several government agencies conduct land sales to their citizens through live or online auctions. These auctions allow you to buy government-owned properties from counties across the U.S. and its territories. Here are steps to help you buy government land:

1. Research Available Land

The first step to buying government land is to research available properties. You can find government-owned land for sale through various agencies such as:

  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • The General Services Administration
  • The U.S. Marshals Service

I recommend that you visit their websites or contact them directly to find out about available properties.

2. Determine Eligibility

Before submitting an application or bidding as a potential buyer, you must determine your eligibility to purchase government land. The most common eligibility requirements for purchasing government land parcels are:

  • You must be a United States citizen or legal resident alien.
  • You must have appropriate financing to bid on the land.

However, eligibility requirements may vary depending on the agency and the property. For example, some agencies may require that you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, while others may require that you have no outstanding debts or legal issues.

3. Submit an Application and Bid/Offer

Once you have found a property that you are interested in and determined your eligibility, you can submit an application or bid.

The application process may vary depending on the agency and the property but typically involves providing personal information, proof of eligibility, and a proposed use for the property.

If you are submitting a bid/offer, you will need to provide a deposit or proof of financing along with your offer, especially if you’re dealing with a large parcel of land.

4. Complete the Sale by Paying for the Land

If your application or bid/offer is accepted, you will need to complete the sale by paying for the land.

After completing the sale, you will be responsible for any taxes, fees, or maintenance costs associated with the property. It’s important to research these costs beforehand and budget accordingly.

Considerations Before Buying Government Land

Before you decide to purchase government land, consider several important considerations. These considerations can help you make an informed decision and avoid any potential problems down the road.

Location and Accessibility

The location and accessibility of the land are important factors to consider. Is the land in a desirable location? Is it easily accessible by road or public transportation? Is it close to amenities like schools, shopping centers, and medical facilities? These are all important questions to ask before making a land purchase.

Zoning and Land Use Regulations

Another important consideration is the zoning and land use regulations that apply to the land. You should research the local zoning ordinances and regulations to ensure that the land is suitable for your intended use.

For Example, you don’t want to buy land parcels in desert locations when you aim to farm. You have to ensure that you’re not carrying out an illegal activity because you ignored the use regulations before buying the land.

Access to Utilities and Services

Access to utilities and services is another important consideration. Does the land have access to electricity, water, and sewer services? Are there any additional costs associated with connecting to these services? These are questions you should never leave unanswered before buying government land.

Future Development Plans

When buying undeveloped land, you should also research any future development plans for the area. Are there any plans for new roads, public transportation, or other infrastructure projects that could impact the value of the land? Urban development can be crucial if you’re planning to invest in real estate.

Costs and Fees

Finally, you should consider the costs and fees associated with purchasing government land. These may include appraisal fees, survey fees, closing costs, and any taxes or fees associated with the transfer of ownership. You should also consider the ongoing costs of owning the land, such as property taxes and maintenance costs.

Potential Challenges When Buying Land from the Government

Buying land from the government can be a complex process that involves navigating various legal and bureaucratic hurdles.

Here are some potential challenges you may face when buying land from the government:

Competition Government-owned land is often in high demand, which means you may face stiff competition from other buyers.
Red Tape The buying process can be slow and bureaucratic. You may need to navigate multiple agencies and obtain various permits and approvals before you can complete the purchase.
Condition of the Land Government-owned land may be in poor condition, which can make it difficult to develop or use for your intended purpose.
Restrictions on Use Government-owned land may be subject to various restrictions on its use. For example, you might be required to use the land for a specific purpose.
Uncertainty The government may change its policies or priorities, which could impact your ability to use the land or the value of your investment.


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

Read More About Brittany Melling