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Home > City Departments > Real Estate > Urban Homestead Program

Urban Homestead Program

Properties that are within designated Urban Renewal Areas are eligible for inclusion in the Urban Homestead Program at the sole discretion of the Office of Strategic Planning, with conditions: the property is not needed for public purposes and no qualified buyer is attempting to purchase the property. A sale takes precedence over a homestead. Applicants can acquire property in these areas for one Dollar ($1.00) plus the required closing costs.

There are three ways to participate in the Urban Homestead Program. Each requires a completed APPLICATION TO PURCHASE CITY OWNED PROPERTY:

  • This application asks that a purchaser provide some basic information to the City before a purchase file is opened. The information required is specific to residential structure or vacant lot acquisition. The APPLICATION must be submitted to the Division of Real Estate for review and release by the Land Use Planning Committee.
  •  If the Land Use Planning Committee determines that the property is needed for public purpose or development and cannot be released, the Division of Real Estate will notify the interested party.


Vacant Lot next to existing residence

 The following is required:

  • An applicant must own and occupy, AS A PRIMARY RESIDENCE, a residential property next to a City owned vacant lot.
  • Applicant must provide verification of residency in the form of: bank/credit Card statement, cable bill, internet bill, driver’s license.
  • The applicant must be current on all city and county property taxes, water bills, sewer bills, and user fees
  • Provide verification of current source(s) of income (recent pay-stub, W-2, tax return, etc).
  • No other liens or obligations owed to the City of Buffalo
  • No property code violations on any property owned.

Vacant Lot(s) for new home construction

 The following is required:

  • An applicant must provide sketch with dimensions, detailed cost estimates, and financial plans sufficient to erect and maintain a residence.
  • Submit evidence of the financial ability to meet the budget in the form of three (3) most recent monthly bank statements, line of credit, or letter of commitment or intent to finance the proposed project from a recognized financial institution.
  • All required permits and approvals must be obtained by the purchaser.
  • The specified structure must be erected on the premises within twelve (12) months and must be occupied by the homesteader for a minimum of thirty-six (36) months.
  • Provide verification of current source(s) of income (recent pay-stub, W-2, tax return, etc).

Rehabilitation of existing residential structure


* Restricted to a buyer wishing to acquire a one or two family house in an eligible area as a Primary Residence or to CHDO’s that provide housing ownership opportunities for low to moderate-income individuals or families.

 In order to schedule an appointment for an interior inspection the following is required:

  • An applicant must provide copies of three (3) most recent monthly bank statements or line of credit information verifying immediate access to a minimum of $5,000 (five thousand dollars).

Note: Additional financial information related to the homestead rehabilitation costs may be required from the homesteader.

  • Provide verification of current source(s) of income (recent pay-stub, W-2, tax return, etc).
  • Applicant must provide an acceptable rehabilitation proposal with evidence of sufficient financial resources to meet budgeted repair/rehabilitation costs.
  • Financial ability must be in the form of three (3) most recent monthly bank statements, line of credit, or letter of commitment or intent to finance the proposed project from a recognized financial institution.
  • Repairs must be completed within eighteen (18) months of property transfer and purchaser must occupy the residence for a minimum of thirty-six (36) months.