Knowledge Base

How can I buy land or property from the City?

Category: Finance Department
  1. In order to buy land from the City of Pittsburgh, you must first be a Qualified Buyer and complete a Request to Purchase Form. A qualified buyer is one who has paid taxes, water, sewage, etc. and is in compliance with City codes and policies.

  2. After being approved to purchase, a proposal to buy the property must be signed. The prospective buyer must present a photocopy of their driver’s license as proof of identification. The prospective buyer must place a 10% deposit (minimum $200.00) with the Real Estate Division. Deposit must be a cashier’s check or money order made payable to the Director of Finance.

      • Other potential buyers wishing to bid for the property may file an objection to the sale with the Real Estate Division by completing a Request to Purchase Form. If approved, the objector has the right to bid for the property. The objection can be filed up until the end of the sales process (See Step 6).

  1. Each sale is submitted to City Council for approval. A resolution passed by City Council documents this approval.

  2. When approved, the Real Estate Division notifies the buyer by letter to order an insurable insurable title report. The buyer must pay for this title report, which may or may not include title insurance depending upon agreement with the Title Company. The buyer may, at his/her option, purchase an insured title examination. The title report must be in a format acceptable to the Law Department and must be received by the Law Department within thirty (30) days of date notification.

  3. The Law Department uses the Title Report to prepare the necessary paperwork to submit a petition for a Rule to Show Cause to the Court of Common Pleas authorizing the sale and validating title.

  4. The sale is advertised in a newspaper of general circulation. For a thirty (30) day period after the advertisement, anyone who has been approved to bid will be required, as part of their objection bid, to deposit hand money in the amount of 10% of their bid or $200.00, whichever is greater. If no objectors are filed, Step 7 is omitted.

  5. If there are objectors to the sale, all bidders will be notified and will be given the opportunity to bid in court for the property. Failure to attend auction, and failure to increase the current purchase price by bid, will result in forfeiture of the hand money deposit. At the completion of the auction, the successful bidder will be required to deposit additional earnest money with the Real Estate Division of the Finance Department in an amount to 10% of their bid price, less the original earnest money deposited. The deposit shall be by cashier’s check or money order. Failure to deposit the additional earnest money shall be deemed default by the purchaser and their bid will be voided.

  6. A final Order of Court will confirm the sale to the successful bidder. A deed will be prepared and executed by the City Solicitor and signed by the Mayor. The buyer and Title Company will be notified by letter that the deed is ready for delivery. The buyer is required to pay the balance within thirty (30) days of the date of notification. Final settlement of the sale must be by cashier’s check or money order. The purchase must pay all related costs including title search fees, and the deed must be recorded immediately upon closing. The title will be conveyed by special warranty deed.

  7. In the event that the successful bidder defaults, the City shall have the option to:

    1. Offer the property to the next highest bidder(s) at their auction price(s). This offer shall be made to other bidders in bid order. Or,

    2. Request that the Law Department present an order to court clearing title into the name of the City. If such order is approved, the property will then be sold by sealed bid.
Updated 8/26/2015 2:26 PM
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