What is Government Land?
Government land, also referred to as federal land is land located in the United States that is owned by US citizens. This land is held in a public trust and is managed by the government as per the US Property Clause Of the United States Constitution. It appears in Article four, section three, clause two whereby the Congress states that it has the power to buy, sell, and regulate government and.
The United States government owns roughly 640 million acres of land within the United States. Of that, approximately 28% of the total land, which is 2.27 billion acres overall, is owned by the government.
Government owned land is largely administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as well as other government sgencies. These agencies consist of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Park Service (NPS), and the U.S. Forest Service. Together they manage 610.1 million acres, (as reported
as recently as 2015).
The BLM, FWS, and the NPS are all associated with the U.S. Department of the Interior. However, the U.S. Forest Service is associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To that end, approximately 11.4 million acres of land, which accounts for around 2% of the total government owned land, is owned by the United States Department of Defense (DOD).
Most of the government owned land is located in Alaska as well as in the Western States, such as the Sierra Nevada, the Rocky Mountains, the Cascade Range, the western part of the Great Plains and multiple glaciers.
How About Lease or Rent?
Because government owned land is so plentiful, the opportunity to lease this land is an alternative to purchasing it out right. When government owned land is made available for lease, It’s also referred to as a ground lease. Nonetheless it serves as a lease agreement that allows tenants to use a piece of the government owned land in exchange for ongoing rent payments for the duration of the lease. Just like commercial property owners, the federal, state and local government agencies also have various locations that are not in use and that they have difficulty selling. It is this land that is typically made available for lease or for rent.
The government used to make free land available for farming purposes through a Homestead program, however, this program has been discontinued. Although the government discontinued making free land available for farming, it does make it available for lease, for rent or it is given away for free.
Simple Steps to get Free Land From the Government
How does one go about obtaining free land from the government? it usually occurs in three main steps. The first step involves locating the free land, which can easily be done online.
Part of the second step involves having a plan of action in terms of how you intend to use the land, along with some form of proof. For the most part, although a lot of the land is free, it does require some things from your end, such as proof that you plan to build a home or create jobs.
Once you find where the land is located, the next thing to do is to determine what program the free land is associated with and move forward with the perspective agency.
The other part of step two involves applying for the land by completing an application.
The last part of obtaining free land from the government is to fulfill your part of the obligation concerning how you plan to use the land.
Simple steps to Buy Free Land From the Government
The first steps involved in purchasing land from the government consist of locating their land that is available for sale. This can be done by visiting Homesales.gov. Also, follow the instructions on the GSA website. A lot of the government land that is available for sale is surplus land that is sold at public auctions for a very cheap price.
Review their terms and conditions prior to taking any action or placing a bid. Even though the prices that are offered may be cheap, it’s important not to be tempted to move forward without doing your own due diligence. Before placing a bid, you will need to create an account. Afterwards, look through all of the land that is available for sale and place your bid accordingly. However, keep in mind that the GSA does reserve the right to refuse bids as they are looking for offers that are at minimum consistent with the fair market value.
You can also consider dealing directly with the BLM Department to purchase land as well. The BLM Department is primarily responsible for undeveloped land which is mostly located in the western part of the United States. Any land sales made from the BLM Department must be coordinated with their closest regional office.
Now that you have learned more about purchasing land from the federal government, you may have plans to build property for your own residential purpose as opposed to purchasing a property in the traditional way.
Although there are plenty of pros of buying a house, building a home on land acquired by the United States federal government also has its advantages.