Washington Town Sells for $360K -- Lock, Stock and Post Office

"Why buy a house when you can buy a town?" said the eBay listing for Wauconda, Wash., by its owner, 42-year-old Daphne Fletcher.

The formerly homeless Fletcher bought the four-acre town in 2007 for $180,000. With money borrowed from her mother she did numerous upgrades to the property that includes a gas station, a restaurant, a hundred-year-old house and a post office with its own zip code.

Summer is the busy season for the town, but a staff is required in the winter, too.

"It takes an adventurous spirit," Fletcher told The Seattle Times.
On March 3, Fletcher posted the property on eBay and the bidding began. The non-binding nature of bidding meant some crazy offers came in. There were many anxious nights for Fletcher when, after a month, there was still no serious taker.

On April 2, the bidding closed with no buyer. Then there was love. Or, rather, the Loves.

Maddie and Neal Love rode through the town on their Harleys years before and were charmed. The Seattle Times reported that Maddie, 48, referred to the area as "God's Country." Like many people these days the Loves were looking for a new beginning after losing their jobs in the past two years. Wauconda, on the market for $360,000, seemed like the thing.

So the Loves of Bothell, Wash. sold everything they owned to pay the five percent earnest down payment on the property. Maddie says that Neal, 50, almost threw up after signing the papers. If you think buying a house is stressful, try buying a town.

Wauconda had been listed for as high as $1.1 million in 2008, but the price dropped by more than half a year later to $495,000, still a good $135K shy of the price it eventually fetched.

While many people are losing big in real estate, Daphne Fletcher estimates that after subtracting the cost of improvements, she'll walk away with a $40,000 profit for flipping her town. Not bad for real estate sale these days.

See homes for sale in Washington state at AOLReal Estate.
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