Who wants to settle for a home when you can buy an entire town for the same price? A couple recently purchased the town of Wauconda, Wash., on eBay for $360,000. For that price, they not only get a four-bedroom home, but a post office, gas station and saloon.
Wauconda was first put on eBay on March 3 with the following posting: "Why buy a house when you can OWN YOUR OWN TOWN! Own the Post Office, OWN YOUR OWN ZIP CODE ... Single owner is tired and ready to retire ... VERY LOW RESERVE PRICE OF $359,000 ... Please bid only if you will honor it. ... "
There were more than 100 bids over the following month, but many proved to be fake offers. According to The Seattle Times, the current owner of the town, Daphne Fletcher, received bids as high as $370,000, but then the person backed out. Even this bid represented a big drop in her asking price. She first offered up the town in 2008 for $1.1 million and by 2009 had reduced the price to $495,000, but still had no serious takers.
The first question you probably have right now is “what kind of person sells a town” followed right after by “what kind of person buys one?” The Seattle Times reports that Fletcher already owned property near Wauconda and decided to buy the town back in 2007 (for $180,810) because she passed through it frequently working for a local candy and tobacco distribution company.
Unfortunately, it can be stressful to run your own town, if you want to do it right. Over the last century, Wauconda has gone from a modest town of 335 residents to a one-woman show, but people still pass through frequently. “Locals stop by to pick up mail — the post office leases space and has one full-time employee — and to gas up, shop at the small store, maybe have coffee or on Fridays the all-you-can-eat $9.99 spaghetti and meatballs,” The Seattle Times reports. That means someone has to manage all that activity, and Fletcher apparently had enough.
As for the people who bought the town, that would be Maddie and Neal Love. Both are unemployed, but they decided it would be wise to sell off all their possessions in order to purchase the town. It may sound crazy (correction: it is absolutely crazy), but all the passersby pump money into the town, which may funnel down to the Loves.
Meanwhile, Monse, another town in the state, was on the auction block for years and could not find a buyer, so it was sold off block by block. For more examples of people buying entire towns, check out our feature on Urban Land Grabs.
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