Start Your Urban Homestead for One Dollar

The Lyth Cottage in Buffalo, purchased for $1. Photo: Buffalo Rising.

The Lyth Cottage in Buffalo, purchased for $1. Photo: Buffalo Rising.

Want to move to Buffalo, New York? If so the city has an Urban Homestead Program where you can get a house for a $1 plus closing costs. The rules–you’ve got to:

  • Fix code violations.
  • Live in the house for at least three years.
  • Have $5,000 in the bank for repairs.

Too cold a climate for me, but you can read more about the program and see some success stories at Buffalo Rising.

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  1. We also have larger-scale farms here, right in the city. The Powers That Be were very resistant to the first one but I think they are coming around to this sort of development as a *much* better alternative than the blocks and blocks of vacant lots and falling-down houses on the city’s East Side. There are at least three farms I can think of offhand (although it’s still spring, so it’s entirely possible that a few more have sprung up that I’m not yet aware of).

    The Buffalo Green Code ( has completely revamped our city’s zoning laws to allow for all sorts of agricultural activity within city limits. It’s pretty exciting to be a part of it.

  2. All things considered, Buffalo’s being in a Zone 6 isn’t that cold in the winter. Sure, it’s not Southern California, but it’s about as good as it’s going to get in Upstate or Western NY.

    • Ha! I knew Erik’s remark was going to get attention. No offense to Buffalo. Keep in mind he’s a very spoiled Southern California native, born of a long line of people who decided to forget that cold even exists. During the “winter” here it will sometimes drop beneath 60 (yes, I mean 60F), and Erik will shiver and complain, and I’ll say, “Can you see your breath? Is your nose running? Do your ears hurt? No? Then it’s not cold.”

    • Hahaha, I was born and raised in Rochester, so I’m used to upstate temps. I can understand thinking that it’s too cold here though, I have the same reaction when I go someplace warm, my body is used to the cold and I can’t handle heat. Visiting LA was like going on vacation to Hell. Felt like my skin was melting and my brain was mush! Life is what we’re used to, eh?

  3. What!?! We live in Rochester, just an hour away from Buffalo, and I had no idea this was going on. Crazy. Too bad our jobs aren’t moveable or I’d be packing my bags right now!

  4. There’s a similar program in Richmond, VA, but probably not with the more lenient allowances for agriculture.

    The Buffalo Green Code makes this much more appealing to me, since hubs and I would like a farm, but can’t see buying property and getting “stuck” somewhere if we couldn’t do the farm things due to rules.

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