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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get an application and list of properties?

  • Click the following links: Property List | Urban Renewal Application click 'Open with Different Viewer'
  • You may pick up a paper copy at the Department of Urban & Economic Development (2nd floor, City Hall)
  • Call (315) 792-0181 to receive an e-mail or faxed copy of both the application and property list.
  • Send an email to: gallen@cityofutica.com or abrindisi@cityofutica.com and we will be glad to forward you an application and/or property list.


Can I see the inside of the property?

Yes, we require that you see the property before you submit an application. Please call (315) 792-0181 and make an appointment to be taken through the property. Only two (2) properties per person/family per day can be scheduled.

The Urban Renewal Agency and the City of Utica make no warranty as to the physical and structural condition or status of the property, expressed or implied. The property will be transferred subject to occupancy and in an “As Is” condition as of the time of closing.


What do I need to submit an application?

1. Developer’s Fee – (the amount is listed on page one of the application). If a buyer’s offer is not accepted, the Developer’s Fee is returned. Please note that fees may take up to six weeks to be returned.

2. Financial Statement – You must provide evidence (ex. bank statements, bank commitment letter or other guaranteed loan etc.) to show that you have the funds to:

  • Purchase the Property
  • Improve the Property - the funds necessary to make the improvements that you listed in your Redevelopment Proposal on page two of the application.
  • Pay overdue water and solid waste charges and applicable government liens and or government judgments that may be attached to the property.


3. Commercial Property Business Plans – offers for commercial (not residential) properties also require a business plan to be submitted with the standard application.

Note: An application received without both the developer’s fee, the require business plan and financial statements will be viewed as incomplete and will not be accepted.

What is required in a Business Plan?

Business Plan Guidelines: Offers for commercial properties are required to have a business plan submitted along with the standard application and financial information.

 

The following are required elements for a business plan:

  1. Developer’s name, address, contact information
  2. Key personnel to be involved in the proposed project
  3. Previous project experience and qualifications
  4. Executive summary overview of the proposal
  5. Proposed purchase price
  6. Intended use for the property
  7. Financial qualifications for the proposed project
  8. Detailed action plan
    • Project Cost Estimate
    • Construction/Development Timeline (Including Proposed Phases for Implementation If Applicable)
    • Site Plans and Renderings
  9. Short & Long-Term Benefit/Impact Statement To Community (i.e. Estimated Job Creation, Tax Revenue Generation)


Do I get my money back if I do not get the property?

Yes, you will be issued a refund of the Developer's Fee that you paid when you submitted your application if you are not approved to purchase the property. Please note that refund of the fee may take up to six weeks to be returned.


What fees and charges do I need to pay?

  • Developer's fee (listed on 1st page of application), must be submitted with application.
  • Back Water charges and delinquent Solid Waste charges as well as, applicable government liens and or government judgments that may be attached to the property
  • Purchase price of property (amount approved by the URA Board and Common Council). Due at closing.
  • Recording Fees, due at closing.


Can I buy the property back if I lost it for taxes?

Yes, but you cannot simply pay the back taxes. You will need to follow the same process as anyone else to make an offer.

  • A notice to terminate your tenancy will be issued
  • You must pay monthly rent to the URA from the first of the month following foreclosure to closing
  • You must pay all utility costs
  • The URA will evaluate the property and set an asking price
  • The property must be marketed for 30 days prior to being reviewed by the URA board
  • You must allow the URA staff to show the property to other prospective purchasers
  • The URA has the option to reject any or all offers on a property, including offers by former owners


How long do I have to renovate the property?

You are given one (1) year to make the repairs to the property. At the expiration of one year, or sooner if requested, the Agency performs an inspection and if renovations are done to the satisfaction of the Agency, we issue you a Certificate of Completion which you then file with the County Clerk's office. There is a $50.00 charge for the Certificate of Completion.

Note: The URA Certificate of Completion is different from the Codes Department Certificate of Occupancy and the Fire Department Residential Occupancy Permit. You may require a building permit from Codes to conduct the renovations. It is necessary to consult codes after closing. o Commercial properties will require additional inspections based on the end use of the property.

Does this mean I do not have to pay taxes for a year?

No.  We forgive all back taxes but, you are responsible for all taxes going forward from the day of the closing.  Also, any existing current Solid Waste and Water bills must be paid by the buyers (regardless of the time of the year the property is purchased) with current interest charges. Solid Waste fees are not tax bills, so we cannot give a grace period to pay without interest as we can with tax bills.


What can prevent me from getting a property?

Applicants must list all property you currently own in the City of Utica on the application. This data will be submitted to the Codes and Comptroller’s Office for searches of codes violations and delinquent taxes.  Urban Renewal Agency staff performs a search of all properties owned and then provides the information regarding any violations/delinquencies to the Board via the agenda. The URA Board then decides if they will accept or reject the application based on this and other information. The URA Board may require that all be cleared prior to closing.  It is up to you, the applicant, to inform the URA when violations/delinquencies have been corrected and proof such as receipts/printouts, etc., must be provided to the URA. You must provide evidence to show that you have the funds to:

  • Purchase the Property
  • Improve the Property - the funds necessary to make the improvements that you listed in your Redevelopment Proposal on page two of the application.
  • Pay applicable liens and judgments.
  • If you do not show adequate funds for all the above your offer will be rejected
  • The URA Board has the option to reject any or all offers on a property.


Note: If any of the property owned by the purchaser comes back with a delinquency or a code violation the application is automatically rejected.


What happens if there is more than one offer on the property?

  • Acceptance of an offer is based on the best proposed use of the property – not the highest price.


When a property has received more than 1(one) offer, and it is first discussed at an URA Meeting, it may go to auction at the next public meeting of the URA Board. All qualified applicants will be advised of this at the meeting.

The URA will continue to market the property until the next meeting and other offers may be considered for approval. At the auction you will only be able to bid up to the amount of money that your financial statement reflects. (Ex. Offer $10,000.00, estimated repairs and closing costs, $10,000.00, a total of $20,000.00 needs to be shown). It is better to have a financial "cushion" when submitting an application. If you show that you have $30,000.00 you will be allowed to increase your offer only by $10,000.00, the difference between offer plus repairs and closing costs minus total you have shown.


Does the City provide grants to purchase a property?

No. The City does not have a program in place for the purchase or rehab of the property. You must provide evidence to show that you have the funds available to purchase and rehab the property. The City does not provide mortgages or payment plans.

We recommend you investigate what programs and services may be available through other agencies and/or your financial institution, prior to submitting an application


What type of Deed do I receive?

All properties sold are conveyed via a Quit Claim Deed, in an as-is condition without warranty express or implied as of the day of closing. It is the responsibility of the potential buyer to check the public records for any assignments, delinquent water, solid waste charges, judgments, mortgages and liens in the preparation of the application in order to assist in determining the finances required for the contemplated purchase.

The phone numbers of relevant entities are on page 5 of the application.

What are my responsibilities after I purchase the property?

Post Purchase Responsibilities

  • Applicants will close on a property within 60 days of notice of the Common Council’s approval. Subject to the following:
    • As a general rule, Applicants will close on a property within 60 days of the notice of approval by the Common Council. In most situations involving the sale of an existing residential structure or a vacant lot that is to remain so (with only fencing, landscaping, paving but no structure), this time line will not be difficult to achieve.
    • In the event that closing is not attained in the said time period, and an extension is not obtained after a written request to the Agency and approval by the Board of Directors, the Developer will forfeit the developer’s fee that had been paid.
    • In commercial, or more complex proposed developments, e.g., those involving outside financing such as:
      • a building loan and then permanent financing,
      • applications for grant funds with deferred submission and/or award dates months in the future,
      • the need for preparing substantial and extensive building plans,
      • title and zoning issues to be reviewed and cleared, and,
      • environmental questions that require testing and then DEC involvement. Such as a Phase I or Phase II investigation.
      • Therefore the processing of each such complex development will be regulated on an ad hoc basis without regard to a “Red Line Time Standard”.
    • Applicants are responsible for all delinquent County taxes, delinquent water charges, assignments of City taxes, delinquent waste charges, governmental and private liens and encumbrances, if applicable, and any other taxes that become due from taking title of the property.
    • Applicants must inquire at the appropriate offices to determine the amounts of the delinquent taxes, water charges, waste charges and other applicable items.
    • Once you close on a property you are responsible for all fees, costs and taxes associated with the property as noted above.
    • Applicants will receive a Quitclaim Deed to the property purchased and are responsible for any recording and filing fees upon closing of a sale with the Urban Renewal Agency.
    • Once you close on a property a new deed will need to be filed and then recorded. The City Assessor’s fee to file the deed is $30.00. The Oneida County Clerk fees for recording the Land Disposition Agreement and the new deed will range from $350 to $475 depending on the price of the parcel and whether it is a vacant, commercial and/or improved parcel.