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What We Do

GSA's Office of Real Property Utilization and Disposal assists state and local governments, eligible public institutions, and non-profit organizations in acquiring real property that is surplus to the needs of the Federal Government.

Surplus properties that are not conveyed to eligible recipients for public purpose are sold by GSA to private individuals and companies by competitive bid. We try to balance benefits to local communities and maximize returns to taxpayers as we move unneeded Federal property to productive-and often tax-generating use.

How Does the Disposal Process Work?

When disposing of Federal real estate, the Office of Real Property Utilization and Disposal follows a process mandated by Federal Law and Executive Orders (however, not every property goes through every step of the process).

Diagram of property disposal process
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Excess Property If a Federal agency no longer needs a property to carry out its program responsibilities, it reports this property as "excess" to its needs.

Federal Transfer GSA first offers excess property to other Federal agencies. If another Federal agency identifies a need, the property can be transferred to that agency.

Surplus Property If there is no further need for the property within the Federal government, the property is determined "surplus" and may be made available for other uses through a Public Benefit Conveyance (PBC), transfer for homeless use, negotiated sales for public use, or public sales based on our determination of the property's highest and best use.

Homeless Conveyance If a property is suitable to assist the homeless, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, we must first offer the property as a Homeless Conveyance before any other public uses can be considered.

Public Benefit Conveyance As a Public Benefit Conveyance (PBC), the property can be substantially discounted in price (up to 100% reduction in fair market value) if it is used for a qualified public use.

Types of PBCs:

  • Public health or educational uses
  • Public Parks and Public Recreational Areas
  • Historic monuments
  • Homeless assistance
  • Correctional institutions
  • Port facilities
  • Public airports
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Self-help housing
  • Law Enforcement and Emergency Management Response (PDC)
  • Negotiated Sales to Public Agencies

The notification procedure is as follows: Based on the property's location, the appropriate regional office writes to the Governor of the State or territory, clerk of the county, Mayor of the city or town, and any regional and metropolitan comprehensive planning agencies that may be concerned with the property's ultimate use. Announcements may also be placed in Post Offices and other prominent places like the State Capitol building, county building, courthouse, town hall, or city hall.

A public agency or institution has 30 days from the date on the notice to advise our regional office of interest in the property. The response should cite the applicable legislation and indicate how much time is needed to prepare and submit a formal application. Various sponsoring agencies review the formal application for acceptability. If the application is approved the property may be conveyed for the approved public use.

Negotiated Sale We can negotiate a sale at appraised fair market value with a state or local government if the property will be used for a public purpose. This transaction offers state or local governments the opportunity to negotiate non-competitively for property before it is offered to the general public. As long as there is a public purpose there is no restriction on the use of this property. A locality can purchase the site, for example, and then use it to foster economic development in the area. This enables the locality to use the property according to its own redevelopment needs. A negotiated sale can return a property to local or State tax rolls and also spur economic development and address community social needs.

Public Sale of Property If state and local governments or other eligible nonprofits do not wish or do not qualify to acquire the property, GSA's Office of Real Property Utilization and Disposal can dispose of surplus property via a competitive sale to the public, generally through a sealed bid or auction (oral and online). The appraised fair market value is used as a guide to sell Federal real estate.