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How to Find Unclaimed Abandoned Land

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Property that was once inhabited can become unclaimed or abandoned for many reasons: foreclosure, bankruptcy, or shifts in neighborhood demographics that prompt owners of homes and businesses to move on. If you are interested in finding vacant property, you can research databases maintained by federal agencies, search through bank listings for real estate owned properties or attend a foreclosed property auction.

Federal Agencies

Search the database of vacant properties for sale maintained by the Federal Department Insurance Corporation. The FDIC website lists upcoming sales events (see Resource 1) and allows the user to search for property by location, market price and type of property (see Resource 2). Users also can search a list of sealed bid sale properties (see Resource 3). A property information package containing detailed information about the asset can be requested from the property information manager.

Use the Department of Housing and Urban Development website to search for vacant property by state (see Resource 4.) The database can be searched by price, home size, city or county, zip code and date of listing. Special programs include the "Neighbors Next Door," which makes properties available to individuals from the teaching, law enforcement and medical technician professions, and "Dollar Homes" initiative, which lists homes made vacant as a result of foreclosures and offered for resale to low income families for the price of $1.

Read the property listings at the United States Department of Agriculture website for single family, multifamily and farm service agency property (see Resource 5.) The database is searchable by state and county. Details are provided on available property including lot size, number of bedrooms and age of home, along with information about property sales such as deadlines and bidding procedures. Details about farm land parcels, which are administered through the USDA's Farm Service Agency, can be obtained at the FSA office located nearest the property.

Search financial institution websites for real estate owned (REO) properties (see Reference 1.) This can be searched by state, county, zip code, type of property size and price of home. These properties have typically been repossessed by a bank after a failed attempt to sell at a foreclosure auction.

Search for foreclosed auction properties using a database such as the one maintained by Hudson & Marshall (see Reference 4.)

Preregister for an auction, attend an open house, or search property inventory through the Zetabid web site (see Reference 5.)

Read about foreclosure auction procedures on the RealtyTrac web site (see Reference 6.) Information is provided about registering, prebidding, and research property values.


Colby Phillips' writing interests include culture and politics. Phillips received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Oregon and a Master of Arts in philosophy from Boston College.

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