Today an AP article on CNN totes the sale of a small 13-acre hill country town named Albert to an un-named Italian Buyer for $3.8 million. Look out Realtors of America. E-Bay is coming!!! I have some inside information on this deal because I know the seller. He has owned Albert, Texas for quite some time and has been an opportunistic seller for some time now, maintaining the attitude that he loves Albert, Texas but would sell it for the right price. It’s been listed on the Austin Board of Realtors Multiple Listing’s Service for months if not years with no takers (at a significantly lower price). The second it hit eBay it became a national phenomenon. He was interviewed by several local and national TV stations and has appeared on CNN.com twice, that I have seen.
There are two things I would like to point out here.
- This may seem like a lot to pay for 13-acres in the Texas Hill Country, but it’s not. Gruene, Texas and Luckenbach, Texas were purchased in similar condition as Albert, Texas (although not on eBay) and have since become legendary tourist attractions. Gruene, Texas is home of Gruene Hall the Grismill Steak House and a major destination for tubing in the summer time. Albert, Texas was founded by Albert Luckenbach, the same person who founded Luckenbach, Texas, which was home of the Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic for over 20 years.
- Selling real estate on eBay has major implications and obstacles for the future of real estate. Traditionally, real estate marketing has been dominated by local brokers because it is an inherently geocentric commodity. However, this example clearly illustrates that local knowledge won’t necessarily get you the best price for your property. The challenge comes when you try to close the transaction at the end of the auction. In the words of Bobby Cave, “There’s just not any way to insist that a guy from Italy write me a check for three million.”