Right Of Way

You and the Property Management Section

Live Tabs


This section will explain services available through the property management section. The property management section is part of the Office of Right of Way, which is in the Iowa DOT's Highway Division.

Three basic areas of service are identified that many individuals regularly use.

  • Sales of state-owned improvements (houses, buildings, etc.)
  • Assistance provided to local governments
  • Records

This section is designed to provide general information. The property management staff looks forward to answering more specific and/or technical questions. For further information, please contact:

Property Management Section
Office of Right of Way
Iowa Department of Transportation
800 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50010
Fax: 515-233-7859

Civil rights compliance and affirmative action

Federal and State laws prohibit employment and/or public accommodation discrimination on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender identity, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran’s status.  If you believe you have been discriminated against, please contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission at 800-457-4416, or the Iowa Department of Transportation's Affirmative Action Officer.  If you need accommodations because of a disability to access the Iowa Department of Transportation’s services, contact the agency's Affirmative Action Officer at 800-262-0003.

Disposal of state-owned assets

After real estate is acquired for highway purposes, the Iowa DOT is often in a position to dispose of some of the acquired land.

  • Land - with improvements.
  • Land - without improvements.

If you would like more specific information about this process, please feel free to review our disposal process document or contact us for additional information.

Land (with or without improvements)

After completion of highway projects, the property management section disposes different types of land no longer required for highway purposes.Tracts may be very small or fairly large. Residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural tracts are sold. Some tracts of land are vacant, while other tracts may have improvements.

Iowa Code ยง 306.23 specifies how unused right of way is to be disposed. The owner(s) of the land at the time of acquisition and the present owner(s) of the adjacent property from which the tract was originally acquired will be given the first opportunity to make offers. These parties have 60 days after notification by the Iowa DOT to make offers. Offers that equal or exceed the market value of the property will be given preference.

Should the DOT not receive an offer equal to or higher than market value, the DOT may proceed with disposal through other means.

The DOT may then offer the local public agencies an opportunity to purchase the property. Should the DOT not receive an offer equal to or higher than the market value from a local public agency within 30 days, the DOT may then offer the property to abutting property owners.

An abutting property owner is one that can step from their property to the subject property without stepping over or through any other property they don't own. These property owners will also be given 30 days to make an offer to buy. Should the DOT not receive an offer equal to or higher than the market value, the DOT may then choose to put the parcel up for sale at public auction.


Properties to be sold may also be identified by "For Sale" signs placed prominently on the properties. These signs provide the telephone number for your convenience. Prior to or during the sale, property managers may hold an "Open House" so that any interested individual may inspect the property.

Frequently asked questions about disposal of state-owned assets

What forms of payment does the DOT accept?
The DOT will accept checks and money orders. The DOT cannot accept credit cards or cash.

Where can I view property for sale by the DOT?
Auctions will announced on the "Properties For Sale" page. Property sales are handled by a third-party auction service.

Can I buy trees and shrubs from the Iowa DOT?
We receive many requests for trees, shrubs and landscaping. Unfortunately, the Iowa DOT cannot sell these items. In order to dispose of these items, the Iowa DOT would be required to have the items certified as disease-free. Costs of implementing these requirements, as well as staffing limitations, reduces the practicality of these types of sales.

The Iowa DOT often utilizes landscaping that has been acquired for other official uses.

Where does the money go that the Iowa DOT receives from the sale?
The proceeds of all sales are deposited in the road fund and used for other highway projects.

Local public agencies

The local public agency coordinators are located within the property management section. These individuals provide assistance and advice to local governments involved in acquiring land for public projects.

The local public agency coordinators strive to ensure that local projects remain eligible for state and federal funding. The coordinators also assist local governments to ensure that laws and regulations are adhered to and the members of the public affected are treated fairly.

Local government officials may reach the coordinators through the property management section at 515-239-1300.

Frequently asked questions about local public agencies

Will the local public agency coordinators do the actual work for the local governments?
On occasion a local government will need special services that are difficult to obtain. In those cases, the local government may contract with the coordinators through an inter-governmental agreement. Usually, the coordinators limit their activities to assistance and providing information.

Can I call the coordinators when I am affected by a local project?
Local governments are responsible for their projects. Generally, calls will be referred to the responsible local officials.


The property management section also maintains records for the Office of Right of Way and other areas of the Iowa DOT. This record center maintains all conveyances involving state-owned highway right-of-way.

Frequently asked questions about records

Does this record center have all the records concerning my property?
No. This record center only maintains records concerning right of way on state and federal roadways.

I think the State of Iowa owns a small tract of land that abuts my property, but I'm not sure. Is this record center the place for me to start my search?
The most convenient place to start your search is probably your local county courthouse. But, if you supply the pertinent legal descriptions, staff can start a search in the property management record center.

Can I call the record center?
Yes. The telephone number is 515-239-1539 and fax number is 515-233-7859.


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