With the approval of the Secretary or authorized representative, you, as a landowner of a restricted Native allotment or townsite lot, can apply to sell all or a portion of your land. You must hold title to the property, which can be confirmed by Certificate of Allotment, Restricted Trustee Deed, Probate Decision, or other approved conveyance document. The sale of any restricted Native land must be at or above the appraised fair market value, except under certain circumstances.
The BIA or Realty Service Provider staff will gather and prepare all necessary documents for the negotiated sale process. Keep in mind that the required fieldwork for this transaction (Appraisal and Archeological Inventory) is generally carried out during the summer months as the land is usually not accessible for field visits during the winter.
For land that has two or more landowners, all co-owners must submit an Application for Sale as they must all be in agreement on the transaction. Counseling will be provided to all co-owners.
The following is an outline of the steps involved in the sale process:
1. Initial Contact & Counseling: You must express your desire to sell in writing, submitted to our office. Once received, a Realty Specialist will be assigned to your negotiated sale transaction.
2. Offer to Purchase Real Property: An Offer to Purchase Real Property form may be required if special circumstances warrant it. Otherwise, an informal offer to purchase letter is sufficient. The offer letter should contain the landowner’s name; allotment number or other legal land identifying information; offer amount; terms of sale, if any; and the name of the interested purchaser and contact information.
3. Application and counseling: After the offer to purchase is received from the interested purchaser, an Application for Sale will be provided to each landowner to be completed and returned. The landowner is counseled and made aware of the negotiated sale process and other options available, such as - leasing, gift deeding, mortgages, etc.
4. Survey: If an adequate legal description does not exist, a survey may be required. The survey is to be conducted by a registered land surveyor. If a survey is necessary, it is typically the responsibility of the landowner to procure the services of the registered land surveyor. This in itself is another transaction that must be completed before any sale can proceed.
5. Appraisal: An appraisal of the land being sold is necessary to determine the fair market value of the land. The Appraisal and Valuation Services Office have appraisers that will conduct the appraisal at no cost to the landowner. However, landowners may, at their own expense, have a private appraisal done. The private appraisal report will be subject to review and approval by AVSO and must be prepared in accordance with their guidelines. The private appraiser must contact or meet with AVSO prior to conducting and preparing the appraisal report.
6. Archeological Inventory: The allotment or townsite lot must be inventoried for potential cultural or historical artifacts. BIA Archeology staff will conduct the inventory at no cost to the landowner. At the landowner’s expense the services of a private archeologist can be obtained. The private archeological report will be subject to review and approval by the BIA Archeology staff and must be prepared according to their guidelines.
7. Timber Clearance: If the land is valuable for timber, a timber clearance and/or timber report may be necessary. The Realty Specialist assigned to the case will work with the landowner to determine whether such timber may exist on the subject parcel. If a timber clearance is necessary, BIA or Tribal/Village Forestry staff will be responsible for conducting the fieldwork and preparing the report.
8. Environmental Compliance: This is required to determine the impact, if any, the proposed sale will have on the environment or wetlands. The Realty Specialist assigned to your case will assess the sale and determine the type of environmental document required and who will be required to prepare the environmental document.
9. Re-counsel/Finalize Documents: After the archeological inventory, environmental compliance, and appraisal have been received, the landowner is contacted for another phase of counseling and to sign additional documents. If the appraised fair market value comes in higher than the offer amount, the parties will need to re-negotiate the purchase price. Due to federal regulations, sales for less than fair market value are only allowed in certain circumstances.
10. Report of Investigation: After all the previous requirements have been met, a report of investigation will be prepared by the Realty Specialist to document the findings and make a recommendation to the BIA Alaska Regional Director.
11. Decision: The report of investigation and the sale package will be submitted to the Regional Director or other authorized official for review and approval.
a. If approved, the approved deed or the sales contract (if the sale involves deferred payments) will be forwarded to the BIA LTRO for recording before being returned to realty office that processed the sale.
b. If disapproved, the landowner and purchaser will be notified of the action taken and provided with information on any recourse that may be available to them.
12. Final Steps:
a. For Negotiated Cash Sales: If approved, the signed deed is returned to the Realty Specialist. The deed is then forwarded to the Land Title and Records Office (LTRO) for recording in the BIA system of record. Once LTRO returns the deed, it is then sent to the appropriate State Recorder’s Office before delivery to the purchaser.
b. For Negotiated Deferred Payment Sales: When approved, a payment file is prepared to keep a record of all payments made toward the purchase of the land pursuant to the sale contract or Memorandum of Agreement and Installment Promissory Note. Notices for payments will be sent to the purchaser, as well as a monthly and/or annual statement of payments made. All payments are sent to the BIA Lockbox and are transferred to the landowner’s Individual Indian Money (IIM) Account, managed by the Alaska Region Office of Special Trustee. The landowner can then withdraw all or portion of the monies using an IIM Application.
The original deed signed by the landowner is kept in an escrow file at the BIA Real Estate Services Office. After the entire purchase price, including interest, has been paid in full, the original deed is sent for final approval by the Regional Director or other authorized official, and then forwarded to the BIA LTRO for recording. After recording by LTRO, the deed is returned to the realty office to be recorded in the appropriate State Recorder’s Office, and then forwarded to the grantee for their records.
Once the deed has been recorded and title transferred, the original owner will no longer have any interest in the property. The transfer cannot be reversed or retracted.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Region
Real Estate Services
3601 C Street, Suite 1200 MC-304
Anchorage, Alaska 99503-5947
(800) 645-8465, Extension 2-1