Properties FAQ

How do I purchase publicly-owned property in Detroit?

The City of Detroit is actively marketing many publicly-owned commercial properties online.  Information about these properties and how to purchase them can be found on the City’s real estate marketing


.  These properties include vacant commercial and industrial structures, vacant commercial and industrial-zoned land, and municipal properties which have been designated as surplus.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) owns and manages the publicly-owned residential property in Detroit and sells select vacant homes and residential side lots online.  Please visit

 to see if the DLBA-owned home or side lot you are interested in purchasing is listed.   

If the vacant home or side lot you are interested in purchasing is not listed on, or if a City-owned property is not listed on the City’s real estate marketing website at, it does not mean that the property is unavailable for sale.  You can apply to purchase all City and DLBA-owned property using the 

Property Application Form


What should I do if I want to lease property or temporarily use or maintain a property?

To apply to lease a property or to propose another temporary use, please apply using the Property Application Form and describe the length of the lease or temporary use in the “Proposed Use” section.

To lease City-owned property, applicants must be registered with the City of Detroit for personal property tax and withholding tax purposes.  Additionally, applicants must provide: 

• Income tax clearance
• Accounts receivable clearance
• Supplier application form
• Covenant of Equal Opportunity (HR Clearance)
• Affidavit of Disclosure of Interests by Contractors and Vendors

Who makes decisions about the disposition of publicly-owned property in Detroit?

Decisions related to the disposition of property owned by the DLBA and the City of Detroit are made by the City’s leadership from the departments, agencies, and organizations responsible for the disposition of property owned by the City and the DLBA, including: the Mayor’s Office (Jobs & Economy Team), the Housing and Revitalization Department, the Planning & Development Department, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the City Law Department, the Detroit Building Authority, the DLBA, and the Department of Neighborhoods. 

The desire is to place the publicly-owned property back in the hands of responsible private citizens and organizations by disposing of publicly-owned property in a transparent, fair, and efficient manner. The Detroit City Council is the final decision maker of the disposition of city-owned property.

How long does the sales process take?

For less complicated transactions, the sales process often takes four months from time of application until close.  This includes review of the application, negotiation, receiving necessary approvals from City Council, and closing.  Larger scale projects and more complicated transactions often take longer to complete. 

Do I need to do anything before I apply to purchase property?

Before applying to purchase property, please be sure that you or the organization you represent have no outstanding personal or corporate income taxes, property taxes, water bills, or blight violations. If you are proposing a ground-up development or extensive structural rehabilitation, please provide at least a conceptual plan identifying the proposed use of the property, the scope of work, estimated costs and financing sources, and prior experience with similar developments. These additional documents can be digitally uploaded when filling out the Property Application Form.

How do I know if property is publicly owned?

Before applying to purchase a property, please research its ownership status.  Information maintained at the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office regarding ownership is available online:  Additionally, includes an interactive map of the City that provides property ownership information. 

How is property marketed and priced?

Property located in strategic areas, or properties that the City expects will be in high demand or receive more than one bid are generally publicly marketed on the City’s real estate marketing website (

) or packaged as part of a Request for Proposals (RFP).  During the public marketing or RFP process, the City’s real estate committee will make disposition decisions based on offered purchase price, the use proposed, and the determined capacity of the potential purchaser. Individuals or organizations can also apply to purchase property that is not currently being marketed using the Property Application Form.

To help rebuild property values in the City, encourage the development of a healthy real estate market, and to promote fairness and transparency, all property is generally sold at market value.  When applying to purchase property, please bid a competitive rate.  Extremely low offers that are below market value will generally not be accepted. Credits are sometimes provided for adjacent property owners, property sales that will encourage job growth, and for local non-profit organizations.

What is the Community Partner Program?

The DLBA created the Community Partner Program to encourage faith and community-based organizations to help stabilize and transform their neighborhoods. Community partners interested in purchasing publicly-owned property should use the Property Application Form.  To learn more about the Community Partner Program and to apply to become a Community Partner, visit the DLBA's website:


What if my plans for the property do not comply with zoning?

You are strongly encouraged to review the zoning requirements for the property you are interested in purchasing. A Zoning Map Index is available and can be viewed on the city’s website:  Generally, the city does not sell property if it conflicts with the zoning code.  However, if you think that your proposed use of the property is a good fit for the location despite possible nonconformance with the zoning code, please apply using the Property Application Form and note the potential zoning issue.


What if I have concerns about the condition of the property?

All property is sold as-is. There is no representation about the condition of the property.  Buyers are encouraged to perform all necessary due diligence and investigation prior to closing.

What kind of property is being offered for sale?

The city is offering residential properties, commercial buildings and vacant land, and industrial/warehouse buildings.  Individuals interested in these properties can apply to purchase them using the Property Application Form.  Single-family homes and residential side lots are generally sold by the DLBA at 



How do I pay for property?

For commercial property, if approved by the city and a price agreed upon, an earnest money deposit of ten percent (10%) of the purchase price is to be paid in certified funds to the Detroit Building Authority at the time of the purchase agreement. The balance of the purchase price is due at closing either by wire transfer, certified funds, or cashier check.

What sort of deed is issued by the city?

The city offers a Quit Claim Deed. The city does not offer any warranty, or title insurance, nor does it claim that title insurance companies will insure such parcels.

What should I do if publicly-owned land is owned by another entity?

If you are interested in purchasing property owned by the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority, please visit their

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If you are interested in purchasing a property from Wayne County or at the Wayne County tax auction, please visit the

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What if I have other questions?

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact