SAN ANTONIO – Someone in Italy placed the winning bid of $3.8 million on Friday for an unpopulated, one-house Texas town auctioned online.
No one lives permanently in the 13-acre town of Albert, about 60 miles north of San Antonio, but the tavern created from the frame of the old general store is open on weekends.
The town also includes a pavilion, an 85-year-old dance hall, a tractor shed, a three-bedroom house, plus peach and pecan orchards.
But before town owner Bobby Cave signs the deed over, he must ensure the eBay bid is legitimate. Cave said that unlike the usual items bought through eBay, there are no contractual obligations when it comes to real estate.
"There's just not any way to insist that a guy from Italy write me a check for three million," said Cave, 47, an Austin real estate agent.
The reserve price for the town was $2.5 million. Even if the deal doesn't go through, Cave said he has about five other prospective buyers genuinely interested in the town.
Bridgeville, in northern California, was the first town ever put on the eBay auction block. The 83 acres were twice sold on the site, in 2002 (that deal fell through) and again last year.