HOW TO RESEARCH PROPERTIES
If you have ever tried to research a property you know that it can be a frustrating process filled with dead ends and lack of information.
It is for this very reason, among many, that homes remain vacant for so long.
Here are some initial steps to get you started!
First and foremost always report the vacant to:
NYS Vacant Property
2017 Laura Hammond
1. Ask the Neighbors – many times neighbors know more about the condition of a vacant house than the neighborhood inspectors do, sometimes they have known the owner and may know where they are or their heirs should they be deceased. Neighbors are a valuable resource and often willing to help since they want the property to be occupied.
2. Look up your address on both the City of Rochester Real Property Portal/BuildingBlocks (if within Rochester City limits) and the Monroe County Clerk Office online. These two sites will give you ample information regarding ownership, where it is in the process (is it in foreclosure or have tax liens), Vacancy, Business Permits, Open Code Enforcement Cases, Crime Data, Water Bills, Real Estate Sales, Monroe County Foreclosure Stats (Lis Pendens), Owner Vs Renter, Use Codes, Building Size, Assessed Values, City Owned, Year Built, Lot Size, Nuisance Points, and Census data. This is a new program which just rolled out Spring of 2018 and will eventually have the capability of creating a login and extracting data into a spreadsheet.
3. Take the info you find and seek out the owner or property manager. Be advised many wont speak directly to you, they may want a realtor or lawyer to make that connection. If a bank owns it this process may take a while, but keep pressing until you find the right person to talk to about the house, it may turn out that they want to get rid of it at a low cost and sometimes banks may donate it to a nonprofit if it is a home they just do not want to put money into. If it turns out the only owner address listed for the house is its address, send a postcard to it and it may be forwarded to the owners new mailing address.
4. Don’t give up! There are so many vacant homes in Monroe County that you will likely find one if you are persistent.
BuildingBlocks is a new program the City of Rochester implimented in Spring of 2018, it can be found in our government transparency section or by following this link. This program is part of a 2 year grant from the Attorney Generals office and opens up a stage two of the grant going forward. Here are some of the capabilities of this amazing program!
Here is a chart of the data and where it comes from!
Data on the BuildingBlocks interface includes: Vacancy, Business Permits, Open Code Enforcement Cases, Crime Data, Water Bills, Real Estate Sales, Monroe County Foreclosure Starts (Lis Pendens), Owner Vs Renter, Use Codes, Building Size, Assessed Values, City Owned, Year Built, Lot Size, Nuisance Points, and Census data.
For instructions on how to use the software, please view the training videos.
BuildingBlocks, along with the Land Use Boards and Commissions and the Project and Plans websites its becoming easier to assess full areas, what is happening as far as improvements and then what individual properties need attention. Overall, the City is working hard to be as transparent and open about vacancies and what we can do to alleviate blight all over the City of Rochester.