Volney house

Pictured above is the 2657 county Route 57 property in Volney. The property is set to be auctioned on Oct. 5

OSWEGO — The annual Oswego County Tax Auction is set to take place Oct. 5, in Mexico, offering bidders a selection of approximately 120 foreclosed properties.

Oswego County officials said there are more than 120 properties set to be auctioned off at Mexico High School on Oct. 5, when a variety of tax-foreclosed real estate will be put up for sale.

County Treasurer Kevin Gardner, who oversaw last year’s auction, said the cutoff point for taxpayers to redeem foreclosed properties was Aug. 9, and all negotiations at the auction will be conducted by Schenectady County-based Collar City Auctions.

Bidders seeking to attend the auction must present a valid government photo identification and their social security number, as well as their preferred method of payment, choosing from cash, credit or a certified check, according to the county’s Real Property Tax service. 

Further, bidders must also prepare to pay a “buyer’s premium,” as well as the amount agreed on during the auction or a down payment for that full amount, according to the county treasurer’s office. The county states all successful bids under $1,000 must be paid in full on auction day.

A booklet outlining more information on the buyer’s premium and other potential fees will be distributed at multiple municipal offices throughout the county in the “upcoming weeks,” according to Gardner. 

“The booklet will also have photos of the properties for people who want to come to the auction to see if they are interested,” Gardner added.

Additionally, the county auction sets some limitations for bidders.

The treasurer’s office states bidders must not owe delinquent property taxes in the county by the day of the auction, must not be an elected or appointed government official or immediate family of the former owner of the property.

The number of properties to be auctioned this year is in line with the county’s inventory recorded in recent years. In 2018, the auction registered 129 properties sold for more than $2.2 million in total.

Gardner says this year’s auction should see similar numbers, though he noted county-wide legislation passed in 2017 is helping homeowners who are facing the risk of foreclosure stay atop their payments.

In 2017 the county Legislature moved to speed up foreclosure processes on most properties from four years down to two years. Agricultural properties remain in a four-year foreclosure process. 

“The interesting thing is that what I see is that it makes people pay sooner,” Gardner said, noting the shortened time period helps people prioritize their payments. “They seem to be paying sooner, so I would say it has been a success.” 

In previous years, officials have said there’s no set goal as to what the county gains from the tax auction, but noted Collar City Auctions has incentive to sell the properties at the highest possible cost because the company receives a portion of the sale price for each property.

Community development and real estate-focused agencies in the county are also set to take advantage of the foreclosed properties. 

The Oswego County Land Bank announced plans to expand its inventory with at least four properties, which would otherwise be heading to the county’s tax delinquent property auction, during the organization's monthly meeting on Friday

“We really like to plan and look at the big picture, so a lot of that work is going to happen during both 2019 and 2020,” Land Bank Director Kim Park said of the properties the organization is looking to acquire during the auction. 

During the meeting, members of the Land Bank listed the following properties as potential rehabilitation projects the organization could take on:

  • 466 state Route 13 in Williamstown
  • 504 Main St. in Phoenix
  • 398 Main St. in Phoenix
  • 2657 county Route 57 in Volney

Park added the organization’s acquisitions from the county’s auction could expand beyond the proposed four properties currently listed.

“It is my estimation we’ll do more than what is on that list,” Park noted.   

The four properties would join an inventory of 20 properties located all across the county to potentially be rehabilitated within the next year. The organization also has a list of eight demolition sites it expects to see through within the next year.

“I think we have done very well,” Park said, reflecting on the current state of the Land Bank. “We have had good sales, good projects and we have completed various projects and put them on the tax roll.” 

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