Hundreds of would-be property owners filled the banquet hall at Antonio's
Andrews, who has been investing in real estate in
He planned to bid on more properties, both for himself and other investors, throughout the day, he added.
"I'm definitely going to fix them up," Andrews said. "Some I may keep. Some I may sell."
"Lots don't do that well in the city," he said.
Andrews said he was encouraged by some of the development downtown, but realizes that investing in a tax-foreclosed property in a city that still suffers from blight is always uncertain.
"It's a risky business," he said. "You get as much information as you can up front and you're still gambling when you do this."
The newly-married Garfalo said she hopes to turn the lot on
"Me and my husband, we're joining the block club and everything like that," Garfalo said. "So we would like to make it into a community center, just something for the community."
Garfalo described the bidding experience as exciting and said she is glad to have an opportunity to improve her neighborhood.
"It was a really good experience and I hope that some of these places get put to use and don't just sit there," she said.
Winning bidders are required to put a 10 percent deposit on the property immediately after winning the property and must agree to a terms of sale agreement that requires the new owners to bring the house up to code by a date set by the city's inspectors and gives the city the right to refuse sale to any person or entity that owes back taxes or has had a house that was purchased at the city auction taken through a tax foreclosure, among other requirements.
All sales are also subject to the approval of the
"The city really does not enjoy doing this," Brown said. "We're not realtors. We're not in the real estate business."
Brown said the city puts provisions in place to discourage bad investment, but has a legal obligation to attempt to collect as much of the back taxes on the books -- which has already been counted as revenue in previous budgets -- as it can.
"We want them on the tax roll, we want to collect the revenue," Brown said. "All citizens benefit from that."
The city's auctioneer awarded
The city has to pay they auctioneer company a 10 percent fee and give the school board and county their share of the back taxes as the money is collected when bidders close on the properties.
The city will write off the difference between the remainder of the collected funds and what it is owed as bad debt, Brown said.
"All in all, I thought it was a good auction," she added.
(c)2014 the Niagara Gazette (Niagara Falls, N.Y.)
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