Land Auction FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

How can I buy land in the Auction?

The auction is at Properties are offered for bid at not less than the minimum price listed. Bid forms may be printed from the bid form tab behind the property information.

What about land that is not sold in the auction?

If no bids are received, most parcels are relisted for immediate sale at the minimum bid price. Generally, the first offer that is received of at least the minimum price is accepted.

Will the Department auction a parcel more than once?

We may re-auction if a property did not receive adequate market exposure.

How is the price set?

For most of the properties in this auction we researched the market to set competitive minimum bid prices. Previously, prices were set by appraisal. The actual auction sale price will be based on the high bid at the end of the auction.

Will we accept any offer?

No. Offers must at least meet the minimum bid price.

Will we reduce the price, and when?

The price may be re-examined at some time in the future if market conditions warrant.

When is the next auction?

Currently, DNR holds an auction each year in the summer.  There is no specific requirement for the frequency of auctions or for the time of year. You can subscribe to an auction notification service on the Sale of State-owned Land web page (

How can I see the results of a previous auction?

On the Sale of State-owned Land web page, land offered in earlier auctions with the minimum bid price can be seen by clicking the links at the bottom of the Sale of State-owned Land web page.  Winning bid amounts are not in the display.

What is a DNR Parcel Number?

The DNR parcel number is automatically assigned when the State acquires land. Local government tax parcel numbers are assigned by the local property tax authority. Since the tax parcel numbers can change over time, the DNR may not have available the local government tax parcel number.

What is an undivided interest?

An undivided interest is the real estate owned by two or more tenants in common whether their rights are equal or unequal.  The undivided interest is a fractional interest in which each owner co-owns all rights in the same property. A real estate attorney can advise on the implications of a particular undivided interest ownership.

What can an owner of undivided interests do on the land?

An undivided interest holder owns a part interest in the whole property. All undivided interest owners may engage in any permissible activity on any part of the whole property in which they share ownership.

What does "No apparent road access" mean?

It means that based on the Department's records, a specific road access route has not been identified. We have no additional access information on these properties.

What does "Road Access" mean?

It means that based on DNR records it appears that a parcel can be accessed via a public road. DNR does not guarantee road access. It is the responsibility of prospective purchasers to do their own research as to the use of the land for their intended purpose and to make a personal inspection of the property to determine if it will be suitable for the purposes for which it is being purchased.

How can I obtain legal access to a landlocked parcel?

When there is no existing deeded access to a landlocked parcel, access would have to be acquired across adjoining land. The usual means of acquiring access is by purchase from an adjoining owner or by formalization of an easement of necessity. A prospective purchaser should seek the advice of an attorney experienced in real estate law.

Why doesn't the State provide a land survey?

It is widely recommended that buyers survey land when they take ownership. A survey identifies the boundaries. The majority of properties held by the Department were acquired by tax reversion. The State does not have a funded program to survey tax-reverted land.

Does the State insure title?

No. Conveyance is by Quit Claim deed.  It is always prudent for a buyer to consider obtaining title insurance on a property.

When will parcels in a particular county be auctioned?

Preparation of parcels by county begins about a year before the auction. Unless a county is currently being prepared for auction there is not an expected auction date.

When will the parcel I saw listed on the website become available for auction?

Land becomes identified as surplus through the Department's Land Consolidation review. Currently all of Michigan's 83 counties have been through this process. Parcels that were not a part of the original Land Consolidation are first reviewed by every land managing division through the Land Exchange Review Committee. Parcels that were recommended for disposal through LERC then become eligible for auction after being approved for disposal by the Director at the monthly Natural Resource Commission meeting.

A primary objective in the Land Consolidation process is management of natural resources by appropriate agencies.

Why are some parcels available to a governmental unit or alternate conservation owner and not to a private individual?

Some parcels are approved for sale only for public recreation purposes and are offered to governments and then to conservancies. These lands are not listed for auction. The goal is for the properties to remain open for public use. Governmental requests for all parcels take priority over other requests to purchase land. Exchanges proposed by any applicant at any time may be considered if the benefit to the State is significant.

How can I be notified of upcoming auctions?

You can subscribe to a notification service on the Sale of State-owned Land web page (

Can I contact someone in the DNR to discuss a specific property that is listed for sale?

Yes. You may call the property contact person identified in the property information on the web page.