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Governor’s office of storm recovery (GOSR)

Buyout & Acquisition Programs

The Housing Recovery Program also manages the State’s voluntary Buyout & Acquisition Programs, which were established to purchase the properties of interested homeowners whose homes were substantially damaged or destroyed during Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee. 
Operating in select neighborhoods, the Buyout Program improves the resiliency of the larger community by transforming parcels of land into wetlands, open space, or stormwater management systems, creating a natural coastal buffer to safeguard against future storms. The coastal buffer areas are intended to address those who live in areas that regularly put homes, residents and emergency responders at high risk due to repeated flooding. Areas selected for the program were, first and foremost, driven by cooperation of the individual homeowners. They reflected consultation with county and local governments and, in some cases, direct appeals from the community, thereby representing a ground-up approach that has been highly effective. 
Properties purchased in the Acquisition Program are redeveloped in a resilient manner to protect future occupants of the home and maintain the housing stock in storm-impacted communities.



Is eligibility based on income?

No. Household income documentation is required for federal reporting purposes.

Is a property appraisal required?

Yes. NYS retains a qualified, licensed appraiser and contacts each property owner regarding the schedule for appraisal work in the vicinity. The appraiser may contact you directly if access to the property is required.

What if I disagree with the appraisal’s determination for market value?

The Program pays the cost for the initial independent appraisal. If you believe the appraised value is too low, you can retain another appraiser at your own expense to perform a second appraisal of the FMV. NYS will not reimburse your appraisal expense.

What if public assessment record information is not correct? (Example: Incorrect number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc.)

Inform your Case Manager. An appeal process is available to help you resolve your concern.

Why can’t the assessment value on the property tax bill be used?

The Program requires that the purchase price be based on an independent appraisal, and the appraised value and assessed value are often different.

Once the Buyout/Acquisition and closing process is complete, when will I receive my compensation?

All compensation for the Program will be provided on the day of the closing. However, the 5% Relocation Incentive is mailed to the homeowner once the homeowner shows proof of relocation within the county of their storm damaged property.

Who is responsible for the property after the Buyout or Acquisition is completed?

The NYS government entity that buys the property maintains the property.

If I have repaired the home, can I remove items that have been repaired or replaced?

You may be permitted, on request, to remove items such as appliances that do not affect the appraised FMV.

Once the Buyout/Acquisition of my property is complete, can I enter the home to collect any personal belongings?

No. When the closing ends, you no longer have access to the property.

Is there an order in which the Buyouts and Acquisitions will be done?

Buyouts are prioritized with consideration of factors including the following: damage to the neighborhood and community, how quickly a group of projects can be streamlined and processed, hazards to safety, environmental conditions, and other factors.

Will I need an abstract? What if it was destroyed?

If you have an abstract, you should furnish it to your Case Manager when you accept and sign the Offer. Abstracts are not essential in most cases, but may facilitate the title search performed on your property.

I’m upside-down on my mortgage, and the Buyout offer amount is not enough to pay off my mortgage.

Buyouts occur only where a clear title can be provided. You need to contact your lender to discuss the mortgage. There may be a city or county mortgage mediation or negotiation program that can advise or assist you.

I understand my property will be demolished and the land will be cleared after the Buyout is complete. Who is responsible for the demolition?

: The NYS government entity that buys the property is responsible for structural demolition and the cost of demolition hauling and proper disposal of the demolition debris.

I’m in the process of filing bankruptcy. Can I still participate?

You must contact your bankruptcy attorney regarding the impact of bankruptcy proceedings on your participation in the Program.

What will my town/neighborhood look like after the Buyout/Acquisition process is complete?

The Program prohibits new construction in designated areas. In some cases, reconstruction permits might issue. NYS adds restrictive covenants to the deeds of most acquired properties located in the 100-year floodplain to prevent future development, and to support passive and active recreational uses. Community planning efforts ensure that all members of the community contribute to re-use plans to determine the best use of acquired properties.

What is defined as habitable?

: Housing units that are in standard condition, have no critical or major structural defects, have adequate plumbing facilities and their appearance does not create a blighting influence. This condition requires no more than observable, normal maintenance; dwelling units which have no deficiencies, or only slight observable deficiencies.

Will NYS charge me for demolishing my property?

No. Federal funding pays for the demolition of the structures participating in the Program.

Will my Buyout or Acquisition payment be affected by other government funding I’ve received?

Yes. By law, HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) dollars cannot duplicate funds received from other sources, such as FEMA repair assistance, flood insurance benefits or property acquisition funds. That is DOB verification. NYS completes DOB verification before the Owner and NYS agree to the property sale.

Is NYS going to force me to sell my property?

No. This is a Program. Both the FEMA HMGP and the HUD CDBG prohibit NYS from using eminent domain (condemnation) to purchase properties.

Why did NYS hire a firm to conduct consultations with property owners?

NYS contracted with firms that specialize in property buyouts and land transactions because the large number of participants in the Program requires additional Case Managers to proceed with property Buyouts in a timely manner. The selected firms have demonstrated high quality customer service in similar projects.

Do I still have to pay taxes on my flood-damaged property?

Yes. All property owners are obligated to pay taxes and keep their property in compliance with local codes and ordinances until the property sale closes and ownership changes hands. This is true for all storm-affected properties in the Program.

$15.8 Billion

in economic output from the new jobs