The internet has made buying auction homes in New York super convenient. I mean, who doesn’t love shopping for investment properties in their pajamas? But, bidding on houses from the comfort of your own home isn’t all fuzzy slippers and hot cocoa. It’s a tough gig.

To find auction homes in Rochester, NY, you not only have to know which websites offer the best deals, but you also have to get your bids in fast. I should know—I used to spend hours a day hunting for properties on auction sites. I’d even set my alarm just so I could get last-second bids in right before the auctions closed. It was practically a full-time job.

But, I found a better solution. I stopped chaining myself to my keyboard and got promising leads to come to me instead. Let me tell you how to do the same.

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Where Can You Find Auction Homes in Rochester, NY?

Let’s say you want to find a two or three-bedroom house in a good neighborhood like Homestead Heights. Now, you could canvas the neighborhood, keeping your eyes peeled for distressed homes. But, in my opinion, this is a waste of time and gas. Online auction websites are easier to navigate and you’ll get a bird’s eye view of many auction homes in Rochester, NY, not just the houses in the neighborhoods you visit.

The problem is that there are tons of auction websites to choose from. Which website has the best deals? Are there auction fees? If the website is popular, how many other investors do you have to compete with? These are all essential questions to ask yourself before you start looking for auction homes in Rochester, NY—or any city for that matter.

If you’re looking for homes to rehab in Rochester, specifically, there are four websites you can use to find deals:

City of Rochester Division of Real Estate

This website showcases city-owned or city-utilized real estate assets. If the city has surplus property, this website oversees the sale of this property for private homeownership or other uses.

Pros Cons
Lots to choose from, including surplus properties and foreclosures May require an application and development proposal
Properties are usually in decent condition since they were managed by the city Auctions happen infrequently—be ready
Competition is high

⇨ Bottom line: If you can apply fast and create a really detailed and compelling development proposal on properties that require it, then this is a good option. But, the competition for homes on this website is just way too high for my taste.


This nationwide search tool can show foreclosures in your area, even in Rochester. The listings include auctions hosted by banks, trustees, or even the homeowners themselves.

Pros Cons
Search by zip code or neighborhood Must pay for a membership to see home addresses
Filter by the opening bid price or home type Non-foreclosure auctions are hard to find
See the auction status, including start and end dates The website can be difficult to navigate for first-time users
Compare prices between homes with one click You have to check it frequently
Save properties you’re interested in It’s a popular tool, so competition is high
See information about liens, foreclosures, and other useful context

⇨ Bottom line: If you prefer to invest in foreclosed homes and pre-foreclosures, this may be the tool for you. But, be prepared to waste a lot of time searching. It’s easy to spend hours saving or bookmarking properties only to have all those deals fall through when you’re outbid by someone with a faster internet connection and more money to play with.

Here’s a popular search tool for finding auction homes in Rochester, NY—or any other city for that matter. Registering for the site gives you access to all of the auctions so you can place bids right away.

Pros Cons
Search by zip code Photos aren’t always very detailed, so there’s no telling what you’re buying into
Filter by asset type, buying type, condition, opening bid or reserve price, and more Bids creep up awfully high in a short amount of time
A clean interface that is easy to navigate Winning bids still have to go through to the owner or bank for approval
Lists the address as well as other useful info like liens and vacancy status Buying process from start to finish is very time-consuming—it could be many months before you get to see the home for the first time in-person

⇨ Bottom line: If you’re a savvy investor with plenty of cash to spend and endless free time on your hands, this may be a solid choice. Beginners should beware, though. It’s easy to get in over your head before you even realize that you’ve made a mistake.


This online search tool connects investors to home auctions, land auctions, and traditional property sales.

Pros Cons
The website is easy to navigate and you can filter by city Does not include information on liens. Other information on the website is not 100% reliable either
Easy to see if the reserve price has already been met so you can start bidding immediately There may be different fees for different auctions
You can choose to “end auction now” by bidding a high price that you think the seller will accept Bids can be rejected for any number of reasons
Closing usually takes less than 45 days If the highest bid is rejected, the property can be immediately relisted at a higher, “buy it now” price or get put through another auction round

⇨ Bottom line: If you have a lot of patience and don’t mind going through round after round of auctions and re-auctions, this is an option for you. Personally, I find the process frustrating and cryptic, so I usually avoid it.

Before you bookmark any of these websites, you should also think carefully about whether online auctions are right for you in the first place.

The Dark Side of Online Auctions 

No auction website is perfect. Some days, you might find unbelievably good deals and manage to outbid your competition without going over budget. Other days, it’s not so easy. You might find some promising homes in Highland or Genesee Valley Park only for someone else to swoop in with the winning bid milliseconds before the hard close. That’s just the nature of online auctions: no matter how good the website is, the auctions themselves are still a crapshoot.

The other downside of online auctions is that you can’t kick the tires before you buy. You usually just have a few photos of the exterior to help value the property and, if you’re lucky, some decent photos of the inside, too. But, you won’t always see repair problems like black mold under the sink or the early stages of a termite infestation in these photos.

There could also be a nasty surprise waiting for you on the financial side. For example, not all auction websites list liens against the property or state whether the home is currently occupied. You might have to pay a backlog of property taxes. Or, if the current occupants refuse to leave, you could have a messy and costly legal battle in store for you. You’ll also have to clean the property up after they leave—a process that could be a major headache depending on the condition they left it in.

Why gamble with your time and investments? This is why I stopped searching auction websites and started generating my own leads.

A Simpler Solution: Getting Leads to Come to You

While you can find auction homes in Rochester, NY using one of the many auction websites out there, I recommend a totally different approach. I’ve discovered a way to get around the competition by getting motivated home sellers to come directly to me.

When I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, I started getting qualified leads on some of the best-distressed houses in Rochester’s up-and-coming neighborhoods. The nationally-known and trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” ad campaign has connected distressed sellers to eager investors like me since 1996.

If you’re ready to avoid the auction trap and get serious about buying property in Rochester, contact HomeVestors® to find out about limited franchise opportunities today.


Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.




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