"Does the Federal Government ever sell public
land? The answer is yes." These are the first two simple sentences of page one in
the Bureau of Land Management brochure. "Are there any public lands for sale?" The
encouraging words are followed by the admonishment to contact the Bureau of Land Management
(BLM) state offices listed in the back of the pamphlet
for detailed information. Fair enough, but when one calls
each of the twelve state BLM offices listed there, he
soon finds six of the numbers are no longer valid and
some of them have no forwarding number to help.
Thus is the typical frustrating experience of trying
to get good information from the US federal bureaucracy.
It's not that the information doesn't exist but rather
grasping hold of it is a little like trying to nail jello
to the wall. It can probably be done but who has the time
or patience to wade through the muck and mire of an
endless array of departments, assistants, phone mail and
dead ends. Well, here's another simple sentence: WE DO!
Cyber Sales Information Services has done the work
most people would walk away from. And it's not because
we're so smart but rather we refuse to be worn down by
the shear weight of exhausting phone transfers,
un-returned calls, mysterious cutoffs after being on hold
for fifteen minutes and the mountains of bad information
from government agencies that are being paid to give out
What you're about to read is the fruit of our labor.
And we offer it up to you with the hope and confidence
that it will profit you in ways as yet unseen and
unexpected. This was the driving force that guided us
through the process, one that we trust you will find
So get your coffee, sit back and enjoy the information
we have put together for you, our valued customer.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THIS PACKAGE?
This information package has as its objective to help
you find as many properties for sale by the US Federal
Government as possible, and to explain in a straight
forward manner the way one goes about acquiring that
We make no apology for utilizing information from
other info packs that have found there way into our
grubby little hands. It's ever in our customers interest
to provide them with the most complete information
possible and to this end we are unabashedly ruthless in
Good information is what we're after. And in that same
vain, we can't get enough. We would appreciate any shared
info with your personal experience when dealing with any
of the government agencies we list herein. If it's
something we can use, we will return the favor with one
of our (did somebody say "cheesy?") import
gifts. It could be a car, it could be a VCR but it'll
probably be something like a cast-iron piggy bank.
Whatever, I'm sure it will last a lifetime. Cast iron
PUBLICATIONS AND WEBSITES OF THE BLM
1) Are There Any Public Lands for Sale?
A basic primer of general information put out by the
Bureau of Land Management.
2) Homesteading -- Cheap Land for Sale?
New brochures provide correct answers.
Lots of links to good info here with Ray Brady's phone
number 202-452-7773. Ray is one of the chief BLM honchos
in Washington DC and a good man to deal with when you can
catch him. Very helpful.
3) Bureau of Land Management Home Page
As one would expect, there are lots of links, some
good some not so good. Only the government would have a
4) Other BLM Offices And Web Sites
This is one of your most important links. These are
the state BLM offices that have a lot of your information
but they don't have it all as you will find out. Be
patient. After you've been doing this a while you'll know
more than some of the staff in these offices.
In case there are any doubts about how much land may
be available in the very near future, check out this memo
I stumbled across deep in the dark crevasses of BLM
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
December 1, 1997
In Reply Refer To:
Ref. IB 97-68
EMS TRANSMISSION 12/2/97
Instruction Memorandum No. 98-26
Subject: Identification of Lands for Disposal DD:
A Bureau-wide inventory of public lands potentially
available for disposal was completed earlier this year in
response to Information Bulletin No. 97-68, dated
February 6, 1997. This inventory effort identified some 3.5 million acres
of public land as potentially available in response to the
requirements of Section 390 of the Agriculture Reform Act
of 1996 (Public Law 104-127). Only those lands
specifically identified for disposal in existing approved
land use plans were included in the inventory effort.
Each State submitted an inventory report on a
county-by-county basis as part of this previous inventory
effort. Identification of these lands on a
parcel-by-parcel basis, by legal description, or on maps
was not required as part of the original inventory
We would like to assess the level of workload and
various options available for submittal of more detailed
information regarding the specific identification and
location of these lands. Additional information is also
needed on the possible segregation of these lands, to
preclude further encumbrances on the land, and the
potential serialization of these segregation actions to
establish an Automated Land and Mineral Record System
(ALMRS) record of lands identified for potential
The proposed ALMRS record notation of lands identified
for potential disposal should be considered as a
functional training and implementation review of ALMRS
capabilities. This information available on a
State-by-State basis will be a valuable management tool
for the future.
Please provide the following information to WO-350,
Lands and Realty, by December 31, 1997:
1) Describe the type of additional specific
information you could provide regarding the individual
parcels of land previously identified as potentially
available for disposal and an estimate of the workload
required to provide this information on a Statewide
basis. Possible options could include maps, legal
descriptions, planning documents, or other types of
Also provide an actual example of this type of
information for a specific area with disposal parcels. We
are not requesting a complete package for all disposal
lands in your State at this time, but only an example of
what potentially could be provided later.
2) Discuss the potential for segregation of these
lands and the establishment of an ALMRS record of these
segregation actions. An estimate of the workload involved
for this type of Statewide effort is also requested.
Please contact Ray Brady, Lands and Realty Group at
(202) 452-7773 if you have any questions or need further
Signed by: Authenticated by:
Pat Shea Robert M. Williams
Director Directives and Records
I THOUGHT THERE WERE NO HOOPS TO JUMP
THROUGH. WELL THIS SURE LOOKS LIKE A CIRCUS TO ME.
This is an actual phone conversation I had some time
ago with a state BLM office.
Me: Hi, I would like some information on your current
listings of any land coming up for auction.
BLM: Well, we presently don't have any auctions
Me: Do you have any land presently assessed for sale?
BLM: Yes we do. (long pause) But we don't know where
Me: Pardon me?
BLM: We have a 40-acre tract and a 180-acre tract
we're assessing but we don't actually know where they
Me: You mean you don't know where they are physically?
BLM: Yes, (another long pause) this is the government,
For the most part I really have enjoyed dealing with
the various BLM state offices and they really have been
very helpful and easy to work with. However, you must
understand these agencies as all other government
agencies are ham strung by the departmentalization or
fractured structure of the government itself. Each office
and even each person has their own area of responsibility
and the sharing or information between people and
agencies is an on-going process complicated by a never
ending stream of new data.To state it another way, it's
not their fault. They're doing the best they can under
the circumstances. Perseverance and patience!
PROPERTIES FOR SALE
This section has properties for sale both improved and
unimproved listed by the BLM and various other federal
agencies. There is a great deal of personal property
mixed in so it requires some scrolling but it's a lot of
(There's even a listing for President Clinton's 7
lots of Castle Grande Estate.)
(Several unimproved lots and even some vacation
(sales in Florida)
Over 600 repossessed HUD properties with pics
Over 180 properties throughout IL.
(One of the best sites with great links to property
being disposed of.)
(US Marshal's national sellers list.)
(Department of Treasury and US Customs seized real
(VA properties for sale.)
In conclusion to this section, I think the actual
complete list is endless primarily because it is added to
daily. Use the search engines they provide and don't give
THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME BUT DO THEY KNOW
WHERE THEY'RE GOING?
So I'm sitting there squirming in my chair, waiting
for Monday and the endless parade of government employees
to assume their positions and I start dialing. And
dialing....and dialing... and dialing. These are the same
phone numbers I called Friday afternoon when I was told
everyone had gone home early. Now I'm getting transferred
to an assistant who claims is no longer his assistant,
transferred back to the first person who now is away from
his desk and them mysteriously cut off in mid-sentence on
their voice mail. Welcome to phone tag hell, government
style. Where the name of the game isn't who you know but
rather "catch me if you can."
There are two rules for getting information from
government agencies by phone:
Rule (1) Never give up.
Rule (2) See rule 1.
I COULD GIVE YOU THIS INFO BUT THEN I'D
HAVE TO KILL YOU
(It's not like we're trying to get information from
Me: Yes, do you have any public land for sale?
BLM: No we don't. We don't ever sell public land.
Me: You don't ever sell public land?
BLM: No we don't.
Me: Isn't your office charged with selling off land
that has been assessed as no longer needed by the
BLM: (long pause) Well....yeah...
Me: So you do sell it some times, right
BLM: Well, sometimes.
I've heard of stories where state unemployment
employees would act like the money was theirs when it
came to giving it out to those in need and I suspect that
a lot of people who go to work for the BLM do it because
they love nature. Maybe they don't really want to sell
any to greedy creeps like me. But fortunately, they have
Patience and kindness go a long way in these
WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
Sometimes you have to wonder about the different set
of values the government has form normal people. There
was a story about this poor immigrant farmer out west
who, while plowing his field inadvertently plowed some
kind of endangered species. The conservation department
got the evidence (Can you picture that?) and seized his
tractor as evidence and was trying to take his farm as
well! Fortunately for this fellow the press got wind of
it and after a considerable amount of embarrassing
articles the agency dropped the case.
So be warned. Whatever restrictions are put on the
property, take them seriously.
Well, that about sums it up. I hope this packet was
both helpful and entertaining.
Yes, the federal government does sell
public land. It is done primarily through the Bureau of
Land Management. It also sells repossessed private
property through other various federal agencies. This
land is primarily sold by auction bids. The federal
government tries to sell it at fair market value but more
often than not that's pretty cheap.
If you are the high bidder, you will be
issued a dead and will own it with the same rights as any
other land owner. However there can be various
environmental restrictions attached to ownership.
Given enough time and energy, any US
citizen of legal age can own this property.
So, good luck and may
your properties be multiplied!