Frequently Asked Questions about Land Sales

I would like to own a parcel of land in Alaska. What programs does the State of Alaska have that would allow me to do this?

The state has several types of disposal programs available, but only two are currently used. The first is a sale program. Land sold at auction must receive a bid amount equal to or higher than the minimum opening bid and is awarded to the highest bidder. Land not sold at auction becomes available for sale over-the-counter. The Remote Recreational Cabin Sites Staking Program is the second type of disposal program offered by the State. At this time, the State of Alaska does not have a homestead or homesite program.

What does "over-the-counter" mean?

Land that becomes available “over-the-counter” is land that has been offered in a sealed bid sale but not sold, or has been relinquished by a successful lottery applicant, and is made available on a first come, first served basis to qualified applicants. There are some subdivision lots currently available for sale over-the-counter from our previous land offerings. These parcels are located in remote areas of the state and consist of lots ranging in size from 1 to 40 acres with purchase prices from $5,000 to $40,000. Copies of the previous land disposal brochures can be viewed at your local Public Information Center or on line at www.dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/landsale .

How does land become available?

Land disposals are not offered on a regular basis. Before land can be made available for private ownership, it must go through a public process that includes planning and classification. If the land is determined to be suitable for such programs and after it has been properly surveyed, subdivided and/or appraised, it can be offered through a statewide “land disposal”.

Does the state guarantee the quality of the land they offer in these programs and can I be sure that I won't get any new neighbors if I acquire a parcel of land?

No. The land is offered without any guarantees. You are strongly advised to check the land out before you apply. The department may increase the density of a homestead area or add new lots to a platted subdivision. Many of these parcels are not road accessible, and there may be little or no public services, such as schools, or fire protection. The state and local governments make no commitment to provide services when these remote lands are sold.

Who can take part in these land disposals?

Alaskans who have resided in the state for at least one-year immediately prior to the opening of the land disposal and who are at least 18 years of age can participate. You will not be eligible for a purchase contract or lease with the department if:

  • You have had a purchase contract or lease administratively terminated for cause within the past three years.
  • Are currently in default for nonpayment on an existing departmental contract or lease and have yet to clear the default; or;
  • In default for nonpayment of municipal taxes or assessments associated with departmental contract or lease, after the municipality notifies the department of nonpayment and the department notifies the purchaser or lessee of the default.
  • Non-residents who are at least 18 years of age, may also participate in an auction if parcels being offered have no residency requirements or are being sold for commercial, industrial, or agricultural use. A non-resident may purchase over-the-counter subdivision lots.

How do I get more information on upcoming land disposals?

When the state offers land, it advertises the land offering and publishes a brochure entitled “Land for Alaskans”. The brochure will contain information about the available parcels, the minimum-opening bid, what residency requirements must be met, the bidding process and other general information regarding the land disposal. These brochures will be made available well in advance of the scheduled bid opening date. The department’s ability to offer land is directly related to budget allocations from the legislature.

Is there a mailing list I can get on so I can be notified when the next land sale will be held?

The department does not maintain a list of mailing addresses; however, you can sign up at dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/landsale/email/ for email notifications. Information on state land offerings and decisions to offer state land will also be publicized via dnr.alaska.gov/commis/pic/pubnotfrm.htm . You may contact the Department of Natural Resources Public Information Center for current land offering information or visit our disposal web site at: landsales.alaska.gov

Does the state finance the land they sell?

Yes. Parcels are purchased either by paying a lump sum for the parcel, or by entering into a sale contract with the State of Alaska. If the purchase price minus the down payment is $2,000 or less, the purchase price must be paid in full; a land sale contract will not be issued. If the purchase price minus the down payment is greater than $2,000, the remainder may be paid by sale contract. Generally, the terms for purchasing state land by sale contract are:

  • Down payment of 5% of the purchase price
  • Contract for payment of the balance, with interest, over a period of up to 20 years
  • Non-refundable document handling fee of $100.00

I am interested in a parcel of vacant state land. May I buy that land?

All state land must be offered under one of the land disposal programs. The state may not negotiate the sale of land to an individual. The state does get land back through relinquishment, foreclosure, or failure by a permittee to meet a program requirement. After a parcel is considered marketable (e.g., no hazardous waste is present), the land is placed in a “potential re-offer” category. The parcel may eventually be re-offered. If you are interested in seeing a particular parcel of state land offered under one of the programs, you may request that it be included in the next land offering. Your written request may be mailed to one of the Department of Natural Resources’ offices listed. There are no guarantees that the parcel will be offered.

Can't I just stake a mining claim or get a trapping cabin construction permit and get land that way?

No. Mining claims staked on state land only give miners the right to extract minerals and to use as much of the surface as they need for such extraction. A trapping cabin permit allows construction and use of a cabin on state land for temporary shelter by a qualified trapper while trapping. Both programs require special authorizations by the Department of Natural Resources and limit use of the land. Neither program allows conveyance of title to the land. For more information about these programs, contact one of the department’s Public Information Center offices listed.

Are there other remote areas in Alaska for sale?

Yes. In many areas of the state, the private land market or local governments provide better opportunities for high quality, more accessible lands. Much of the land the state owns is more remote. There a several sources that you may contact about land available for purchase in Alaska. Consult the yellow pages of an Alaskan telephone directory for a list of private realtors or check Alaskan newspapers under recreational properties. You may also check with native corporations, or one of the offices listed in this fact sheet for information about possible land sales.

Further questions about the State of Alaska’s land programs may be directed to the following DNR offices:

PIC