Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the applicant requirements?
A: Applicants are required to demonstrate sufficient financial capacity to purchase and rehabilitate a property. Applicants cannot have tax delinquencies or code violations, foreclosures, or outstanding liens. Applicants must also provide satisfactory evidence of adequate financial capacity and submit a redevelopment plan in order to be considered.
Please see the Property Purchase Application to view all application requirements
Q: What is the process of purchasing a property from Albany County Land Bank?
A: In order to be considered, all applicants must view a property to ensure they understand the condition of the property and the amount of rehabilitation needed to restore the property to productive use. Please note that rehabilitation projects can require significant time and resources and may not be the best option for some.
After determining that a rehabilitation is viable for you, all applicants are required to complete a Property Purchase application and satisfactorily demonstrate that they are capable of responsibly returning the property to productive use. Only complete applications are considered.
Every month the Land Bank advances completed Property Purchase Applications for certain properties throughout Albany County through a three step review and approval process. Sign up for our email list and follow us on social media to be notified of which properties are moving forward each month.
Completed applications for advanced properties will undergo the following reviews:
One: The Land Bank will seek local input on the proposed uses. Local feedback is used to inform the subsequent levels of application review. Additionally, the Land Bank holds a monthly Community Roundtable that serves as a forum for the public to speak on behalf of an application.
Two: The Land Bank’s Acquisition & Disposition Committee (comprised of Land Bank Board Members) will meet and review viable proposals for each property in the sales cycle.
Three: Sales recommendations are presented to the Land Bank’s Board of Directors for review and approval on the third Tuesday of each month. The sales recommendation presented to the Board of Directors contain the feedback and any required actions from the Local Advisory and Acquisition & Disposition Committee. The Board of Directors will vote to approve the recommended sales.
Applicants selected by the Board will be notified of their decision and can expect information regarding closing from the Land Bank's attorney. Applicants that were not approved will be informed and encouraged to continue working with the Land Bank to find another property. The Land Bank is committed to working with viable applicants to find another property suitable for the Applicant’s proposal.
Q: Why does the Land Bank ask for financial documents such as bank statements, W-2's, paystubs and/or tax returns?
A: The Albany County Land Bank requires that all buyers have the financial capacity to complete their proposed project. The financial documents are used to verify that the applicant has access to the funding necessary to complete the proposal.
Q: Are prices negotiable?
A: The ACLB Real Estate team uses comparative market analyses to determine asking prices. Individuals are not required to meet the asking price. The Board of Directors considers multiple factors when reviewing property purchases, including, but not limited to, the proposed use, purchase price and anticipated investment. Please see the Land Bank’s Disposition Policy to learn more.
Q: What is the difference between the processing fee and the application fee?
A: The processing fee is non-refundable and is used to cover expenses associated with processing applications. The application fee will be applied to the purchase price if the buyer’s application is approved. If the buyer’s application is not approved the application fee will be refunded. The application fee will be non-refundable in the case that an approved buyer decides to no longer move forward.
Q: Does the ACLB only operate in the City of Albany?
A: The Albany County Land Bank operates throughout Albany County, serving all 18 municipalities.
Q: How do I visit a property?
A: To visit a property, call our office at (518) 407-0309 and schedule a property showing. Interested parties must return a signed waiver before entering any Land Bank property.
Q: Does the “X” placard on buildings in the City of Albany designate a Land Bank property?
A: The Albany County Land Bank does not place the “X” placards on buildings. The placards are placed by the City of Albany to inform first responders that the building is known to be vacant and potentially unsecure and to use additional caution when responding to emergency calls. Please note that not every building in the City of Albany with an “X” placard is a Land Bank property and every Land Bank property does not have an “X”.
Q: How do I know what properties the Land Bank owns?
A: Every property owned and sold by the Land Bank can be viewed on our Interactive Property Map.
Q: How does the Albany County Land Bank acquire properties?
A: Most properties acquired by the Albany County Land Bank are tax foreclosed properties conveyed to the Land Bank by Albany County. Albany County extinguishes the back taxes and liens on properties conveyed to ACLB, which facilitates returning the property to productive use. From time to time, and subject to approval by ACLB Board of Directors, the Land Bank may make strategic acquisitions in connection with a redevelopment plan or accept property donations.
Q: Will I be able to “flip” the property?
A: In some instances the Land Bank does permit buyers to “flip” properties after rehabbing, providing that the intent to resell the rehabilitated property is disclosed in the purchase application. In the event a resale is permitted, the new purchasers must be approved by the Land Bank.
Q: Am I required to rehabilitate the property I purchase?
A: The Albany County Land Bank may require buyers to execute a Development Enforcement and Mortgage Agreement (“Redevelopment Agreement”). This ensures that buyers uphold their commitment to meet the proposed use stated in their application and complete their project within a certain timeframe. The Land Bank may also decide to employ deed restrictions to ensure certain outcomes in property sales. If a Buyer does not meet the requirements set forth by the Agreement, the Albany County Land Bank may regain possession of the property.
Q: Can I bring in a contractor to property viewings?
A: Yes. Applicants are encouraged to bring their contractors or other appropriate resources needed to create an accurate and informed Property Purchase Application.
Q: Why does the Land Bank ask for so many documents?
A: ACLB uses the required documents in connection with their review of Property Purchase Applications to ensure buyers are capable of responsibly restoring and maintaining the properties it sells. Private information submitted to the Land Bank is not shared.
Q: How long does the process take?
A: The timeline varies depending on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, sales cycles, the number of applications received, type of funding used, whether or not a title search is conducted, and the buyer’s proposal. Typically, the timeframe from submission of application to closing ranges from 2 to 4 months.
Q: What type of funding can be used to demonstrate adequate financial capacity and/or purchase properties from the Land Bank?
A: The Albany County Land Bank accepts cash, traditional financing, and grant funds to purchase and rehabilitate a property.
Q: Does the ACLB provide grant funds?
A: The Albany County Land Bank does not provide direct grants to buyers. Buyers that require additional financial resources are strongly encouraged to explore grant sources to assist with their property purchase and/or rehabilitation.
Q: Can I purchase multiple properties at once?
A: In most instances, buyers are limited to purchasing one property at a time. Exceptions to this policy are made from time to time at the discretion of the Board of Directors when warranted. Examples of approved Property Purchase Applications containing multiple properties include: purchasing a vacant building and the adjacent vacant lot to use in connection with the building and purchasing a cluster of contiguous vacant lots to enable a community garden or larger development proposal.
Q: Who owns the Albany County Land Bank Corporation?
A: The ACLB was established in 2014 by the Albany County legislature, as an independent non-for-profit organization. The Land Bank works cooperatively with Albany County, as well as the 18 local municipalities.
Q: What is the difference between the Albany County Land Bank and the Albany Community Land Trust?
A: The Albany County Land Bank exists to combat vacancy and blight throughout the County by responsibly disposing of properties to individuals that are financially capable of completing the project; the Land Bank also functions to monitor the progress of sold properties and enforce the proposed use provided by applicants.
The Albany Community Land Trust creates sustainable affordable housing opportunities for low-income residents. To learn more, visit ACLT's website.
Q: Does the Land Bank sell properties to investors? First-time Homebuyers? Developers? Non-profits?
A: Yes! The Land Bank works with multiple partners to return properties to productive use. To ensure a fair, consistent and equitable process, all applicants are required to undergo the same application and review process regardless of experience, background or proposal.
Q: Can I use a Real Estate agent when purchasing from the ACLB?
A: Yes, applicants may use utilize real estate agents. The Land Bank does not remit brokers fees or commissions. Real Estate Agents representing buyers approved by the Board of Directors may be eligible for a referral fee.
Q: Does the Albany County Land Bank pay commission to Real Estate Agents?
A: Unless otherwise approved by the Albany County Land Bank, the Land Bank, at its sole discretion, will provide a $500 referral fee at closing to a licensed real estate broker or real estate salesperson representing buyers who close on a property purchased from the Land Bank providing all of the following: 1) a property sale of $10,000 or more; 2) the buyer submits documentation that the broker/salesperson was representing the buyer, and; 3) the broker/salesperson possesses a valid NYS Real Estate License. Buyers acting as their own agent or broker are ineligible from receiving a referral fee.
Q: How do I find out about zoning?
A: Applicants are responsible for ensuring that proposals are compliant with local rules and regulations. All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the local municipality to learn more about local zoning. Obtaining any and all permissions required to realize a redevelopment proposal is the responsibility of the buyer.
Q: How do I obtain building permits?
A: Building permits are regulated by the various municipalities that the Albany County Land Bank serves. To learn about permit requirements, please check with the local building department.
Q: I’m a contractor, how can I get work with the Albany County Land Bank?
A: The Land Bank utilizes an RFP Process to procure contractors. Notices are posted to our website, and are also sent out by email to our mailing list. Visit our contractors page to current view RFPs or join our mailing list.