Cheap Property From Government Auctions

Becoming a landowner is at once both terrifying and exhilarating. At last, you have your own property, your own place to do with what you wish; but you also have the heavy debt and financial instability that can come with making such a large purchase. If owning property is your dream, consider purchasing from a government auction, where you can get a parcel of land for much cheaper than on just about any other market.

A judge's hammer at a government auction.

Why is government auctioned land so inexpensive? Primarily because the government gets it for free, from a variety of ways, and then is happy to get back whatever money they can make on it. From foreclosures to mail fraud to tax seizure, property is taken away and sold to the highest bidder every day. IRS sales (confiscated property due to inability to pay taxes), sheriff's sales (confiscated property due to refusal to pay court-mandated fines or fees), and VA and HUD sales (purchased home mortgages due to inability to pay) all sell confiscated property to interested clients to recover the amount of debt they're making up for, not necessarily to get the full market value; you could be one of the lucky bidders who purchases a property at a price way below its true worth!

Start looking for government auctions online. Many states and regions have their own pages -- government surplus, sheriff's offices, and IRS agents can let you know when auctions are being held in your area, where they are, and what properties will be sold there. Try to obtain a catalog or access to a web site where the land is listed, along with descriptions and (potentially) starting prices.

Make sure to find out when open houses and property inspections are occurring. You can obtain this information from the same place as the property listings. You'll want to attend the inspections, even if the property sounds like a delightful dream -- sometimes, it can be too good to be true. However, odds are considering that most of the properties have been confiscated because people couldn't pay for them, they won't be junky hovels or unbuildable pieces of land, so if for some reason you absolutely can't make the open house or inspection, it won't be the end of the world.

Here are some extra tips for making the most of government auctions:

Before the auction begins, determine how much you're willing to pay and make yourself a mental cap.

Make sure you have the money to buy the property, or it could end up right back on the government's auction block!

You may be able to bid online for some properties, so check ahead of time if you don't want to drive too far to the bidding site.

Another great way to get inexpensive, secondhand items? Garage sales! Check us out at -- we're your one-stop frugal living shop, except you will not pay for anything, not even advertising your yard sales!

Comments (3) -

Mary Robertson
Mary Robertson
12/12/2012 4:26:15 PM #

Thank you for this information!

Matt Rogers
Matt Rogers
2/17/2013 1:50:58 PM #

Have a long term plan for the property you are about to purchase. Buying the property is only the start and the easy part of the plan. Maintaining the property and improving it is where the real challenge lies. Compare your taxes, mortgages and other expenses with your income so you will have a clear picture of your financial status. You could then brainstorm a plan to lower those expenses like having budget cuts on your lifestyle like shopping and going out less often. In summary, planning can only bring you so far so it's up to you to execute that plan perfectly and have a little faith that it will work out well.

Art Long
Art Long
2/17/2013 2:00:15 PM #

Need to be wiser in buying properties because these are major investments you don't want to fail. Getting attracted to a package that would let you pay monthly with a low down payment is one of the common mistakes in acquiring these. Don't ever rush things because surely, at some point, you will regret making that decision. Instead, research more about the neighborhood, the accessibility - "are there pavements in the village?," "what's the means of transportation?," "how's the financial stability of the community?," and most especially the value - "Is is depreciating?," "Is there a chance I could sell and profit from this in the future?." These are some of the questions that needed to be answered before having an investment on a government owned property.

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