How’d You Like to Buy an Entire Town? Bidding Starts This Week at $100K

  • Share
  • Read Later
MICHAEL SMITH / WYOMING TRIBUNE EAGLE / AP

Buford resident Don Sammons stands in front of the population sign in a Jan. 1, 2011, photo. He is the town's sole resident and plans to sell it by auction

In the real estate world right now, it’s clearly a buyer’s market. Years of foreclosures and price drops have brought about a sharp rise in investment and vacation home sales, while the market also presents buyers with ample opportunities to pick among properties ranging from city homes under $10,000 to mansions owned by sports superstars, from castles to entire villages in France for under $500,000. If you’re so inclined, you can even buy a small town in the U.S., starting at just $100,000—with the added perk that you get to name the streets whatever you want.

This week, the entire town of Buford, Wyoming, is being auctioned off, with bids starting at $100K. Buford is located just off of I-80, in a windy, high-altitude section (8,000 feet elevation) about halfway between Laramie and Cheyenne.

USA Today reports that interest in the curious case of Buford has been heating up, with people from more than 70 different countries clicking on the real estate listing at Auction Network. The ad promotes Buford as a 10-acre “Income-Producing Town” that includes post office boxes, a Union Wireless cellular tower with a lease, and five buildings:

The town’s five buildings include the Buford Trading Post built in 2004; a 3 bedroom modular home purchased new in 1994; a school house built in 1905 which now serves as an office; a three and a half stall garage built in 1895 and a 1900s cabin which is now used as a tool shed.

(MORE: Last Remaining Resident Puts Wyoming Town Up for Auction)

A plow and three vehicles are also thrown in with the package deal, as is your own zip code: 82052. Bidders on Buford must register with a deposit of $50,000 by Wednesday at noon, Central Time. The actual auction will begin on Thursday, April 5, at noon MT.

The current owner—and sole resident—is 61-year-old Don Sammons, who has lived in Buford since 1980 and owned the entire town since 1992.

USA Today notes that it’s not completely unheard of for towns to be bought and sold. Pray, Montana, a five-acre town north of Yellowstone National Park that is home to eight times as many full-time residents as Buford—Population 8 vs. Population 1—was listed last month for $1.4 million. The Daily reported that owner Barbara Walker is selling because she’s tired of running Pray on her own. In addition to serving as mayor:

“I’m the sheriff and the garbage control and the animal control officer,” Walker said, laughing.

(MORE: Full Real Estate Recovery Not Coming Until 2015)

What could you do with your own town? Giving her best sales pitch, Walker told USA Today the options are limitless:

“This town has no ordinances, no covenants, no restrictions,” says Walker, 52, whose late husband’s family bought Pray in 1953. “You could put a hog farm on it. You could put an artist colony.”

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest