Why buy a new house when you can buy a deserted town for the same money?

The median price for a home in this country is $279,500, according to Zillow. But you can spend less right now and live in your own town – all by yourself.

Spring Canyon in Utah is on sale right now for $225,000. For that price, you get more than 150 acres of empty land and buildings. Back in 2013, an abandoned gold mining town called Swansea in California sold for a mere $70,000.

So if you’re a history buff or a paranormal fan – many of these deserted towns are alleged to be haunted – check out these listings. Some are currently for sale. Others were bought recently and might come back on the market soon, but they give you some idea of the going rate to be mayor of Youville…

Learn how to buy a ghost town in 7 steps.

These towns are considered “unincorporated,” meaning they aren’t part of a local government. That means even if the price is good, the unique nature of these places makes buying them more challenging than with most homes.

Getting a loan is harder

Real estate broker Mike Metzger sells the typical standalone family home in Utah for around $150,000. A larger “executive-size” home goes for about double that.

Given the acreage these “ghost town” properties tend to come with, he feels they make an interesting purchase in comparison.

However, lenders aren’t too eager to help buy these kinds of properties. It’s not the same as getting yourself a mortgage. And putting insurance on the property is a challenge, too.

“It is very difficult to get a loan for these types of properties,” Metzger says. “Most times, it’s going to be a private sort of banking, with loans based on the individual and the relationships they have with the bank versus your traditional ‘square box financing.’”

Metzger continues: “Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and FHA are not touching these properties.”

The living is tougher

Finding running water, electricity and other utilities is often a problem for buyers, too. With some of these properties, you need to search miles away for running water and electricity. Many of the structures may be uninhabitable due to years or even decades of neglect.

And the structures often aren’t built to current city safety standards.

“Most of the structures in ghost towns aren’t up to code,” Metzger says. “They were built before the code was invented. They’re probably the reason code was invented, because as they were finished, they were running out of materials.”

Of course, a ghost town isn’t for the faint of heart or the thin of wallet. But to those history buffs and nostalgia seekers, when one of these properties goes up for sale, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime offer to own a huge chunk of land — and maybe even the supernatural.

Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of Debt.com.

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Article last modified on September 18, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Ghost Towns You Can Own: 5 For Sale Right Now, and 5 That Already Sold - AMP.