WHY just buy a house when you can buy the house and the town it resides in? Along with being a homeowner, you could become mayor too! Even better, it's in Montana.
The town of Pray, Montana is for sale. The asking price is $1.4 million. For that the buyer gets the five acre townsite including several commercial buildings, a post office and several other outbuildings. Currently there are several hundred people living in the area who have a Pray mailing address.
Making it even better is that the town is located in the heart of Montana's Paradise Valley, alongside the Yellowstone River and just down the road from the historic Chico Hot Springs and resort. Yellowstone Park is not far away and the entire community resides under Montana's Big Sky.
The downside? Well, for starters, the town would be described by some as a "fixer-upper." Pray was founded in 1907 and like many things from the turn of the last century, it could use some updating. Yes, there is electricity and running water. Heck, there is even a paved road. However, there is neither a Starbucks, Gap nor stop light. And the zoo closed decades ago (yes, it once had one).
The property is being offered by Bart Miller, Realtor for Mason & Morse Ranch Co. in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Current owner Barbara Walker figures the community could be a great opportunity for someone. The Paradise Valley is growing and could provide customers for a general store and tourist traffic to Yellowstone could support a roadside coffee shop. A bed and breakfast also could work well, she said.
According to Walker in a recent interview in the Billings Gazette, Pray is absent the hustle and bustle found in many communities and being owner/mayor doesn't really take that much time. "The town is pretty low maintenance," she was quoted as saying. "You collect the rent once a month and water and mow the lawn."
There are reasons Pray is a quiet place. Although people still live in the area and pick up their mail there, according to a 2009 estimate by the US Census Bureau, Pray has a population of 0.
According to TravelMT, businesses near or in Pray include one restaurant, one fly fishing shop, and three outfitters or guides. And that is all. That said, according to many Montanans, the one restaurant in the area at Chico Hot Springs is among the very best restaurants to be found in the state.
All in all, you have to admit, "Mayor" has a nice ring to it.
Grant Sasek works for Real Estate Pipeline, an on-line lead generation service.