Open houses are being held in several boroughs to give prospective buyers the opportunity to look at dozens of properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy that will be up for auction next month. Our Bree Driscoll has the story.

Contractor Frank Geiser has lived and worked on Staten Island for 30 years.    

He bought a couple houses after Hurricane Sandy, fixed them up and rented them out.

Now he's looking for a few more.

"Its self-employed," Geiser said. "So it is kind of my retirement plan.  Just have a couple little houses like this this generating some income."

The home on Moreland Street in Midland Beach is one of 55 houses wrecked by Sandy that are up for auction on Staten Island — six more are in Queens and one in Brooklyn. 

Facing big repairs, the original owners sold them to the state rather than rebuild, under a federally financed program that gave them market or near market value.

Now the state is selling the homes to the highest bidders, hoping to revitalize neighborhoods that have suffered so much since the storm.

"From the state's perspective it is a really phenomenal way to continue to reinvest in these communities in a more resilient fashion," said Barbara Brancaccio with the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery.

Scores of potential buyers have been checking out the properties this week in open houses.

Realtor Neila Nuzzi has been doing some reconnaissance work for prospective clients.

"So far the price seems a bit high but then again we will see when it comes to it," said realtor Neila Nuzzi. "Some of the houses look really good and I can't understand why they walked away. I think the major question for me is going to be the lifting of the house."

The government requires that the homes be elevated to protect them from future storms.

"It is certainly the big ticket cost on all or on most of these houses so perspective bidders should underwrite properly," said Misha Haghani with Paramount Realty USA. "They should take into account the cost of elevation and buy accordingly." 

Geiser says he's beginning to see changes in storm-battered neighborhoods like this one.

"A lot of these smaller bungalows are being ripped down," the contractor said. "Newer townhomes are being put up and the neighborhood is coming back real strong."

Ahead of the auction Interest bidders must examine appraisals and other documents available at They must also bring a certified or cashier's check for $25,000 to the auction on May 10.