Hundreds of people turned out Tuesday in Niagara Falls to try and get their hands on a cheap home, building or vacant lot. The city auctioned off more than 320 pieces of property seized through tax foreclosures.
The auction is part of an effort to get delinquent properties into the hands of owners who will properly take of them. The city tries to hold an auction once every year and this year it was run by Auctions International.
Danielle Pruitt and her family own and operate Buffalo Turnkey Properties, a property management company. For them, these auctions are part of the business. They try to find good prices on homes, fix them up and get them ready to rent.
But, it's not always so easy to find reliable properties. Nobody is allowed to see inside the homes before placing bids.
"That's definitely a risk you have to be willing to take to buy properties," Pruitt said. "You can lose money and you can lose a lot of it if you don't know what you're doing."
These auctions are beneficial to cities like Niagara Falls, according to Pruitt, because it gives people like her the means to make positive change in the community.
"We live in this area and we want to better our community," she said. "These houses are broken down. They're dilapidated...You're getting houses that have not been lived in for 10 years sometimes. They're being sold and these investors are fixing them up and it's bettering the community."