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Little Town Making Big Headlines

July 2, 2014, 6:08 PM by Kevin Woster

Little Town Making Big Headlines

The tiny unincorporated town of Swett in southwest South Dakota has made national and international news this week, since word spread that it was up for sale.

And that made life a little crazy for Rapid City realtor Stacie Montgomery, who has listed the property for about $400,000.

It's not often that one of her real-estate listings attracts interest from China and Australia, or captures the attention of network news, NPR and the Los Angeles Times.

But then, she doesn't sell that many towns.

"I spoke with Coldwell Banker's headquarters this morning and they were telling me that this listing is the most famous listing in the world right now, and that it rivals when the Home Alone home sold and also the Versace Mansion in Miami," Montgomery says.

The flood of calls and emails and Facebook contacts began after a Sunday news report on the listing. Along with national and international news media, potential buyers are reaching out from everywhere.

“I've had several inquiries from China. It just hit their papers this morning,” Montgomery says. “I've already had four requests for information and two of them want to come over here and see Swett more toward the middle of the month."

There's not all that much to see, really. Swett, population 2 -- if you don't count the dog -- was home to several dozen people decades ago. But these days it's a tavern, old store front with adjoining house, workshop, a small car lot and a few trailers out back on about 6 acres along Highway 18.

Going east on Highway 18, it’s 10 miles toward Martin. Go southwest and it’s eight miles to Batesland. And it’s just a little over two hours northwest to Rapid City.

About an 80-minute drive from Swett, near Badlands National Park, is another unincorporated town that sold three years ago. A Filipino church group bought Scenic for $700,000. Little work has been done there, although a convenience store has since opened.

Montgomery says she expects Swett owner Lance Benson to succeed in selling his tiny town.

“With the amount of interest and exposure internationally and all of the phone calls and emails I’ve been receiving and the fact that it’s a quirky and fun listing, and that some people just want to own their own town, I can see it being sold relatively soon,” she said.

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