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St. Louis, MO
1200 Market Street, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63103

Step-by-Step Guide to Buying St. Louis, Missouri, Neglected, Vacant and Abandoned Real Estate

Vacant and abandoned buildings in St. Louis, MO fall under the jurisdiction of the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA).  The LRA receives title to all tax delinquent properties not sold at the Sheriff's auction.  The St. Louis Real Estate Department markets and sells these properties to individuals and entities that are willing to develop or make use of the property.

About the Properties

The St. Louis properties on Derelict.com are all city-owned and available for purchase.  All construction on the property must be completed within 12 to 18 months.  As part of the purchase process you will be required to show that you have the funds and ability to meet this time frame. 

Note: We highly recommend finding a good real estate lawyer to help you through the acquisition process.

Step 1 - Choose your property

Once you have found the property you want on Derelict.com you can get additional information about it or ask general questions from the LRA by calling the LRA receptionist at 314-675-3721.

St. Louis Neighborhood Map - Large map showing the different neighborhoods in St. Louis.

Step 2 - Inspect the property

It's very important you don't just buy a property sight-unseen.  What may seem like a great deal may actually be a money pit.  First drive by the property to evaluate the exterior condition and get a feel for the neighborhood.  If it looks promising, call the LRA receptionist to see if a key is available for the property.  If the property is boarded up, you will need to call the Maintenance Department at 414-657-3754 to schedule an appointment to get inside the building.  Do not enter the building on your own as you will be trespassing.  Appointments for viewing are schedule for Thursdays only.

Step 3 - Do your homework

Determine what you want to do with the property and put together the expected costs for your project.  You will be expected to show the financial ability to cover the costs.  The LRA uses a standard minimum price of $70 per square foot to calculate renovation costs. 

Pricing Information and Renovation Costs - Explains the pricing policy for LRA owned properties.

LRA Pricing Policy - The downloadable version of the Pricing Policy.

Neighborhood Standard Price Lists - Detailed breakdown of how initial prices are determined.

The prices listed are guidelines only and can vary up or down based on the condition and location of the property.  Prior to making your offer, get a thorough understanding of the real estate market near your property.  Know the value your property will be worth once it is redeveloped or renovated.  Also be sure not to underestimate the value you may bring to the neighborhood once you complete your project.  For instance, if you are a business that will will hire workers, the LRA may take that into account when reviewing your offer.  Larger structures are marketed to developers and users that will benefit the neighborhood.  These structures often have nominal prices.

Step 4 - Make your offer

At this point you have inspected the property inside an out,  you've researched all your costs, and you understand the potential upside.  Call the LRA receptionist and set up an appointment to go in and make a purchase offer.  You can also ask to make Option to Purchase.  A purchase option is a contract that gives you site control (typically 6 - 12 months) but not ownership of the property.  The option fee is 10% of the purchase price and gives you time to get your budget and financing together.  If you are unable to close on the deal, your fee is forfeited.  If you are able to close the deal, the fee is applied to the purchase price.

Offer Checklist - The LRA has specific requirements around what is needed to make an offer.  Be prepared by reviewing this checklist.

Small Projects Planning Sheet - For home purchases and smaller buildings.  This will need to be completed as part of your offer.

Large Projects Planning Sheet - Used by developers and organizations for larger projects.  This will need to be completed as part of your offer.

Credit Statement for Individuals - This will need to be completed as part of your offer.

Credit Statement for Companies/Organization - This will need to be completed as part of your offer.

Step 5 - Closing

Once your offer is accepted the LRA will let you know of any contingencies such as having plans approved by the LRA.  These costs are typically no more than $350.  You are responsible for any recording and title fees as well as title insurance.  You must complete all renovation or new construction within a 12 - 18 month time frame.  The LRA uses a Right of Re-Entry clause in the deed which will come into effect if you do not complete your project in that time frame.  The Right of Re-Entry gives the LRA the ability to reclaim the property through legal action.  There is a follow-up inspection 16 months after closing to determine if the work has been completed.

Approval and Closing Process - Additional information about the overall process.


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