How to Buy Cheap Real Estate in New York

Buying cheap vacant land, houses, and apartments in New York isn’t easy. However, anyone can find and buy a reasonably priced property with the right tool.

There are areas where getting a cheap house or vacant land is impossible such as New York City, White Plains, Yonkers, Long Island, etc. However, outside these big cities, getting inexpensive real estate is easy. Here are a few tools that will steer you in the right direction.


The HUDHomestore is a federal government website operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The web address is

The federal government helps people get mortgages with a lower down payment throughout the USA. These are called FHA-insured mortgages, where the HUD insures those mortgages. When people default, these houses get foreclosed by the lending banks. Most of the time, the bank sells these homes. 

However, sometimes even banks can’t sell these houses within a reasonable time period. Then these banks hand over the homes, apartments, or lands to the HUD.

The HUD places those real estate on These properties are priced lower to sell quicker. If you keep an eye on this website, you can get good deals in your county. 

The only drawback of this website is you need a good realtor and a good lawyer to place and close your bid. You can use the “Broker Search” and “BSCA Search” to find a realtor and closing agent near you. Before you place your bid, we ask you to go and talk to them first because many realtors and closing agents aren’t familiar with the HUD homes bidding and closing process.

Tax Foreclosed Deed Sale

Except for a few, most counties in New York state sales tax foreclosed property in auction annually. It’s another excellent and cheap way to find homes, apartments, and lands in New York.

If a real estate property owner doesn’t pay taxes, it becomes delinquent on the property. If the owner continuously ignores to pay taxes, the county will foreclose and take ownership of the property according to New York State Tax Law Article 11. Later, the county sells these properties in auctions to recover back taxes.

There are 62 counties in New York state. However, not all counties hold their auction on a single website or in one place. Some auctions are online; some live in person in a county-designated area on a specific date. 


More than 12 New York state counties use AARAuctions to conduct their tax-foreclosed property auctions. A few of these counties are:

  • Orange County
  • Fulton County
  • Dutchess County
  • Otsego County
  • Clinton County
  • Orleans County
  • Franklin County
  • Lewis County
  • Sullivan County
  • Madison County
  • Greene County

The website layout, registration, and bidding process are straightforward. Similar to every auction website, AARAuctions also have a buyer’s premium. It’s typically 10% but may vary depending on counties. 

The buyer’s premium is the fee a buyer must pay to AARAuctions. This fee generally is 10% of the winning bid. Thus, if you buy a house for $20,000, 10% of the value is $2,000. Therefore, a buyer has to pay $22,000 to get the house. In this case, the county receives $20,000, and the AARAuction receives $2,000.


More than 10 New York State counties use AuctionsInternational to hold its tax foreclosed property auctions. A few of the counties are:

  • Niagara County
  • Cattaraugus County
  • Cayuga County
  • Chautauqua County
  • Chemung County
  • Seneca County

Oneida, Schoharie, and a few of the counties hold in-person auctions. 

Westchester, New York City, Nassau, and a few other counties don’t foreclose property due to delinquent taxes. Instead, these counties sell tax lien certificates. 

We advise you to google the term “(county name) ny tax deed sale.” This will provide a specific real estate auction page related to that county. 

Foreclosure Auction

Foreclosure is an excellent way to buy homes below market price. These in-person auctions take place in the county courthouse. A good local realtor typically can give the best information regarding pre-foreclosure. However, county court documents are the best source to keep ahead of the game.

These county court documents are available online. More than 35 counties in New York state publish their records on One drawback of this website is it’s not free. However, if you visit the county real estate office, you can freely access all the records.

Alternative sources to get foreclosure auction notice are and However, these websites sometimes don’t show every foreclosure. Thus, potential buyers will miss many properties if they solely rely on these websites.


Bid4Assets typically doesn’t hold any real estate auctions for New York state. However, it’s an excellent source to watch upcoming auctions in NY. They publish notices and bulletin on their platform on upcoming NY auctions.

Problems with Zillow

If you are on the market to buy homes or lands, don’t solely rely on Zillow. It’s better to work with a local realtor. 

Zillow’s listings aren’t updated regularly, and they often don’t even show many properties. Their Zestimate is inaccurate and misleads potential buyers. Many times their listings are plain wrong. For example, sometimes they show properties for sale but, in reality, which have already been sold. In this respect, is better than Zillow. 

Live Inspection

Most of these property auctions take place online. Every auction website provides property pictures, SBL, market value, and other information. However, we strongly advise you to visit the property and inspect it physically.  

Sometimes, a home, apartment, or land may look attractive in pictures, but it could be a dump in reality. Never bid on a real estate without visiting it. Even a roadside inspection will reveal the property’s condition, such as whether it’s a marshland or not, topography, road conditions, etc. 

Property Tax

Typically every property has 3 taxes. County tax, School Tax, and Town/City/Village Tax (Sometimes the local municipality — town — collects the county tax.)

Before bidding on a property, ensure the yearly property tax amount. There are counties in New York state where the taxes are so high that owning a house is unaffordable in the long run. For example, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk County have one of America’s highest property tax rates. Therefore, please ensure that the yearly tax amount is reasonable before bidding on a house.