Ranch for Sale: $725 Million

A Look at the Nearly 800-Square-Mile W.T. Waggoner Estate Ranch

Ranch for Sale: $725 Million
August 20, 2015

Do you have an extra $725 million burning a hole in your pocket? You can use it to buy a ranch in Texas that is approximately two-thirds of the size of Rhode Island. Start your own state and secede from the Union! That's a popular sentiment down Texas way.

In all seriousness, the asking price for the 798-square-mile ranch of the W.T. Waggoner estate is currently $725 million. The ranch, located in North Texas west of Wichita Falls and near the Oklahoma border, has been in limbo for two decades. Its fate has been mired in squabbles between branches of the Waggoner family who could not agree on splitting up the property or liquidating it. Since 1989, two descendants have been co-directors of the ranch's operations while barely speaking to each other.

The massive ranch covers parts of six counties and contains four lakes and approximately 30,000 acres of cropland. It is well known for its quarter horses and approximately 500 of them are included in the sale, along with 6,800 head of cattle. Oil and gas operations are a significant part of the empire, with over 1,000 oil wells leased out to various operators — and around 90% of the property is unexplored for energy uses. Its iconic reverse-triple-D cattle brand has been in continuous use since 1849.

Buyers certainly will not lack for housing options. There are two main compounds that include a total of 58 houses. The Santa Rosa compound was the home of Electra Waggoner Biggs, a noted sculptor, socialite, and the namesake of the General Motors Buick Electra from 1959. She was also known as Electra II, to distinguish her from W.T. Waggoner's daughter, Electra Waggoner Wharton.

The listing of included items covers 183 pages and includes things ranging from an IBM selector typewriter (look them up, kids) and pink poodle and horse head lamps to a 1973 fire truck, a road grader, a Bell 206B-3 JetRanger II helicopter, and a two-story art-deco marble office building in the nearby town of Vernon, Texas.

Not only does the property include a painting of Waggoner's most famous stallion, Poco Bueno, who sired over 400 foals, it also contains many descendants of Poco Bueno — as well as Poco Bueno himself, who was buried standing up beneath a 4-ton memorial granite slab.

The 120 employees of the ranch have been through the wringer over the years. Multiple threats to sell off the ranch at auction have failed to materialize, and they hope that a buyer will keep the ranch intact instead of splitting it up and selling the assets. That is going to take someone of incredible net worth, as well as someone who is willing to invest in multiple industries, from farming to cattle to quarter horses to oil.

If you want to get your bid in, you had better act quickly. Co-brokers Sam Middleton of Chas S. Middleton & Son in Lubbock and Bernard Uechtritz of Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty in Dallas have fielded some serious inquiries since taking over as brokers — along with others of Texas-sized ambitions but "more hat than cattle," as the old saying goes.

How can you tell if you are getting a good deal for $725 million? It is hard to properly assess such a large real estate transaction. The nearest current listing is less than a tenth of the value ($64.5 million for a Montana ranch) and the largest known amount paid for a U.S. ranch is $175 million in Colorado in 2007. Business records on the oil and gas business and geological maps for future reference are available for review, once you prove you have enough funding to show that you are a serious buyer.

Based on pure acreage, the ranch is selling below the going rate for pastureland according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are also plenty of energy development opportunities, including lots of space useful for wind and solar installations. Investors could make a sizeable return if they proceed wisely.

If you're "more cattle than hat" and are up for the opportunities that the Waggoner ranch provides — and you have $725 million to invest — give it a look.

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Daniel Dohlstrom | 08.20.15 @ 16:49
All i can say is wow. That is a ton of money but sounds like could be possibly worth more with all included there. Can we all chip in?
Christina | 08.20.15 @ 16:51
If anyone could buy this, it would make a huge real estate investment. Think of all the possibilities using this much land.
Elaine | 08.20.15 @ 16:55
Wow that is a lot of money. I can't even fathom spending that much on a ranch. Since I don't have that kind of money, it's hard to think about if it is really worth such an huge asking amount. I'm sure someone out there will lasso this ranch up and make it their home in no time.
Victor | 08.20.15 @ 16:57
This is a lot of money, and for such a long time they have not been able to come into a conclusion, i think they should make the best of the situation.
Apryl | 08.20.15 @ 16:58
Ha! Yeah I think this one is a 'tad' outside the budget! ;-)
Sara | 08.20.15 @ 17:04
That is a lot of land and a lot of money. But so many possibilities with this land.
Christina | 08.20.15 @ 17:06
Everything's bigger in Texas ;). This would be a great investment for someone - things are booming down here!
trish | 08.20.15 @ 17:09
Great opportunity for a select few that are in the market for a large investment. Me? I'm more in the $7.25 range of investment...
Jackie | 08.20.15 @ 17:11
Love that expression 'more cattle than hat'. It would be great for someone to be able to buy it and bring it back to it's potential.
Rindy | 08.20.15 @ 17:15
It sounds like an incredible opportunity to me if you have the know how in all the different areas of income possibility. I wish I had the money and the expertise. Great article!
Nancy | 08.20.15 @ 17:18
I am speechless. My brain just cannot wrap around a sale (or property) of this size. it is amazing what one family can accumulate and grow with hard work and a little bit of oil on their land.
Sarah | 08.20.15 @ 17:23
I would love it... if only I could afford it. That's it, I need to get adopted by a wealthy family who wants to spoil some adopted grandkids. Okay, not possible, I know. Hopefully someone decent coughs up the money and does right by the land.
Erin | 08.20.15 @ 17:27
I think they'll have to find a different buyer. That's a little too rich for me. Plus, you know, it's in Texas...
Kaila | 08.20.15 @ 17:30
I dont know how one would decide if it was worth that much, I mean my brain cant even comprehend paying that much money.. However I hope who ever buys it lets those employees keep working there.
Zanna | 08.20.15 @ 17:30
A bargain at less than $1 per square mile. I'd consider it, if I had that money.
Bobbie | 08.20.15 @ 17:34
That in an insane amount of land an money. I can't comprehend owning that much land.
Beverly | 08.20.15 @ 17:43
If only I had $725 million lying around. You are getting a lot of bang for your buck, but just trying to wrap your head around it is almost impossible. But the possibilities for this property are almost endless, so many things you could do. It would be nice if it could be kept as a working farm/ranch/etc., but in this day and age I don't see that happening.
Katie Greene | 08.20.15 @ 17:57
Well, if you and 58 of your closest friends went in on it, it would "only" cost you 12.and a half million a piece. Yeah, sure, me and all my friends carry that pocket change all the time. *if you can't tell the sarcasm is just dripping*
Britt | 08.20.15 @ 18:02
That is both a lot of land and a lot of money. However, I think if someone had that kind of money to throw around, this would be a very wise investment.
Vaughn | 08.20.15 @ 18:12
I can't even imagine that much money or that much land. Craziness.
Steffanie | 08.20.15 @ 18:17
Would be amazing to own, but I cannot get over 58 houses! I mean, besides the asking price, that is.
Heather | 08.20.15 @ 19:17
That is a lot of money. It's too bad the family can't get along to make the most of this property and keep it in the family.
Irene | 08.20.15 @ 19:59
I'd love to buy it but it's just a smidge over my budget!
Andrea | 08.20.15 @ 20:33
I would love to be to have the money to buy it. The possibilities to help so many would be endless.
Donnie | 08.20.15 @ 20:46
Wow. That would be awesome to do.
Chelsey | 08.20.15 @ 21:43
Holy wow, now that is a piece of land. A piece of history. This is a thing of dreams for many of us!
Carla Truett | 08.20.15 @ 22:04
Wow! That is a lot of money to put out on an investment but I'm sure whoever buys this has done all the research needed to know if it is a good investment.
gracie | 08.20.15 @ 22:39
I can't even wrap my brain around having enough money in my life that this would be a reasonable purchase?! Although a girl can dream! Who would not love to live on their own private "oasis". This sounds like the dream for a wealthy cattle rancher.
Leah Gardner | 08.20.15 @ 22:44
If i had that much money i wouldn't buy land. Thats way more than i need. Im sure its gorgeous though
Ron | 08.21.15 @ 00:08
Get the mineral and water rights to the land. Prospect and get your purchase price back.
Alec | 08.21.15 @ 00:31
If I had the money, I'd buy it! Lease out a couple hundred acres for solar panels or a wind farm as stated. Oil, cattle and horses are never out of demand. Between everything included and the open land, it would probably pay for itself in no time at all. Auction off a couple antiques. Add a small, exclusive resort... That would be so much fun to undertake.
Joni | 08.21.15 @ 01:01
Way out of my price range but someone will buy it all up and make the best out of it,
Stokes | 08.21.15 @ 01:01
Well I wasn't in the market but a state-sized ranch for only $7.25 million seems like a steal.
Angie | 08.21.15 @ 02:34
I've never heard of a piece of land so large before that it was measured in square miles rather than in acres - I can't even fathom a piece of land that size! I'm really surprised that some of these famous moguls haven't snatched it up!
Meredith L | 08.21.15 @ 03:10
You know, I've always wanted some land. Even dreamed of a family compound but this is a bit much, Even with all the development opportunities and investment potential... that's just a wee bit too much responsibility for me.
Kamie | 08.21.15 @ 04:31
Hmm to own my own "state" I would actually have it as a communal type village. Be nice if I had that just lying around, though if I had that lying around, I probably would not be here reading about it.
Wanda Langley | 08.21.15 @ 14:18
I can not imagine having that kind of money to buy a ranch. It would be a great investment I think for the right person or persons if they could get along with one another.
Crystal | 08.21.15 @ 14:31
They're not making more land. This would be a great investment for someone!
Casey | 08.21.15 @ 19:22
I wish I had the funds to purchase this. It has always been my dream to own a spread like this.
connie | 08.22.15 @ 03:17
It would be interesting to see an appraisal for this property and all of its assets. I would also be interested in seeing what it costs just to keep it up and running. I would imagine even the savviest investor would proceed with caution.
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