Raffle To Win a House…3/12/2008 UPDATE

I’m re-posting this story yet again because I think it’s brilliant and it’s a success…so far.   Check out the comments section below though as more is revealed about the history of this home.

From WBALTV.com in my home town of Baltimore comes this incredibly creative and ingenious marketing strategy for selling your home in a down market.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Frustrated by a nationwide housing slump, a western Maryland couple is selling raffle tickets for their $390,000 house and hoping they’ll sell enough $100 tickets to get the farmhouse off their hands. (3900 tickets and they get their price!)

Dennis Kelly and Karen Crawford put the four-bedroom house for sale for $425,000 a year and a half ago. But they say the housing slowdown means they haven’t had any takers. The house is now valued at $390,000.

The real beauty in what Mr. Kelly and Ms. Crawford are doing is that all of the proceeds above and beyond the $390,000 will go to benefit the San Mar Children’s Home.  This seems like a win, win, win (yes three wins) to me.  At $100 per raffle ticket, it’s highly likely that more than 3900 tickets will be sold.  The sellers get their price, San Mar will likely make a considerable amount of money, and one lucky winner will get a $390,000 house for $100!  With additional donations from local businesses the raffle offers a total of five prizes.

The four-bedroom house will go to the grand-prize winner. Second prize is a 2008 Toyota Camry, third prize is a Persian rug, the fourth is furniture and the fifth prize is $1,000 cash — all offered to raffle organizers by a local car dealership and furniture store.

The raffle has been approved by Maryland gaming authorities.  Assuming 5000 raffle tickets are sold, the odds are not bad and knowing that the excess $110,000 goes to a worthwhile charity makes the $100 ticket price that much more palatable.

In Manhattan, we would only have to sell about 15,000 raffle tickets at $100 a pop to sell the average priced apartment.  So will 2008 be the year of the housing raffle?  It seems that in some markets across the country, we are going to see some very creative marketing strategies.  Here on the home front, creativity hasn’t yet become a necessity.

Here’s the complete listing for the house.

There is still time to buy a ticket.  CLICK HERE to purchase online with a credit card or download a pdf and pay by check.

UPDATE:  They have sold well over the minumim of 5000 raffle tickets making this a win-win for the homeowners and SanMar.  The raffle is being held tomorrow, Thursday March 13!  I will post winners on Friday.

For tips and advice on conducting your own house raffle, check out How To Raffle Your House.

This entry was posted in A Broker's Job, House Raffles, Tips & Advice. Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Raffle To Win a House…3/12/2008 UPDATE

  1. avatar Kristi Gollick says:

    Please send me pictures of the house and can you tell me when the drawing is?

  2. I added links Kristi for listing and ticket purchase…good luck.

  3. avatar Susan says:

    I’ve actually purchased a ticket. I agree it’s for a great cause. However, there are certain “Buyer Beware” items that should be noted – specifically the fact that the winner could be liable for as much as $150,000 in taxes for the first year!
    There used to be a “counter” on the site that told you how many tickets had been sold. This has been removed (I think tickets were selling a little slowly at first).

  4. 150k in taxes is a steal for this house. I think the winner, if out of state, should sell the house at auction or keep as an investment property.
    The counter is back up now because sales are moving more swiftly.

  5. avatar Stacey says:

    We bought a ticket too. It would help us get out of Colorado and back East. We could Home Equity the tax, lower the price of the house we are trying to sell for 2 years and GET out of Colorado! The biggest prize of all. We would probably live in the house. It is lovely.

  6. I haven’t bought a ticket but since I am the CEO of the charity that benefits it might be deemed a conflict! Thanks to everyone who has supported the project. We are at just under 4700 right now (3.7.08). It looks like a go! Actually, I took the counter down originally due to us getting so backlogged with on line tickets, mail ins and walk ins that the numbers posted were not correct. We needed to devise a method of posting true numbers. Truthfully, we were so overwhelmed with response we didn’t know the true numbers. That has been corrected. Stay tuned. Next week will tell…

  7. avatar ken says:

    Great Auction. Great Idea. Susan (above): Could you explain your comment about owing possibly $150,000 in taxes the first year?
    Also, updates on the House. I read in the local newspaper of the area the house is in that there was a flurry of paperwork and application and inspection re-dos going on before the auction takes place. Since the appraisal was done awhile back, it is being re-appraised, so that the charity which the house was donated to will only pay the donors any changed appraisal (possibly down.) Deed still has to be transfered to Charity, I understand.
    And a little note: In reading through the “paperwork” link on the raffle site, I see that the inspection has “yes” checked for basement wetness or moisture. All other stuff looks good.

  8. avatar ken says:

    Here is the link from Coldwell Banker Realty in PDF form of the papers on the raffled house:
    Here is a link to an article dealing with the questioned appraisal of the house:
    What one gets is a sense of the difficulty in selling this house, attributed by the owners to the falling market.
    But while the raffle mentions the wonderful 3.2 acreage plus its desireable proximity to 1,500 acres, it doesn’t mention that these 1,500 acres are owned by the Western Maryland Hunt Club. PLUS, in the paperwork for the house, it is mentioned there is an easement or right-of-way/right away (as SP ?) to the hunt club “to left of house”.
    So.. nothing against hunting, but does this mean the owners of the property are subject to a steady barrage of gunshots nextdoor not to mention a constant in and out of vehicles to and from this club?
    Could a quote from the donating owners in the article linked above provide a clue as to why this property has had such diffculty selling even when constantly dropping its price and opening to offers even while comparable properties in the area have sold?:
    “Built in 1929, the house was sold as a fixer-upper in 2005 for $185,000 to a company that remodeled it and sold it to Karen Crawford and her husband, Dennis Kelly, for $375,000 in April 2006.
    Wanting to retire, the couple realized too late that the two-story house *wasn’t for them*.
    So the very next month, they put it back on the market for $384,900, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., which tracks real estate deals.”
    You drop $375,000 on a house and a Month Later you decide it isn’t for you? OK, but WHY?
    I thought this was worth posting and considering.

  9. avatar Susan says:

    Ken (above): Here is the link to the article about the potential tax liability on the house. However, there are lots of ways to ease that pain, as Doug has mentioned above.
    I’m still hoping I win!

  10. avatar ken says:

    Thanks Susan, I just read the article you linked to. Very comprehensive.
    I full disclosure, I have bought a ticket, too and then- in my usual curious and research-oriented state- I went trolling for info and satellite views of this property.
    I just found it interesting that even with the owners explanation of market woes as the reason for not being able to sell her house for over a year, other similar properties in her area Had sold. And she couldn’t sell after repeatedly lowering the price below what she paid.
    I felt several answers to this could be offered up:
    a) She paid too much in the first place. (Remember, as recently as 2005 $185K was paid for it, then it was renovated and resold to her for $375K. That’s a 190K renovation in a very desolate area.
    Too much maybe for a house of this type/size?
    If after reno, of course, the $375K was an appropriate assessment of increased value, and the reno was quality and kept the historic feel of the place relatively intact, then what other factors may have figured into this particular property not selling?
    b) The dropping market. BUT, other similarly valued properties in her area Were selling.
    c) Something undisclosed or unexpected. Without having visited the property, I can only wonder if being adjacent to a Hunt Club plus having a right of way on your property that leads there could be quite the uunexpected break in the idea of solitude that one is expecting when buying and moving into a property and location such as this.
    Other than the reported wetness in the basement, I can come up with no other idea.

  11. avatar maria rizzuto says:

    I am interested in selling my home as well how can we arrange this????

  12. Maria,
    Where is your home located? Let’s go from there and see if we can’t get you in touch with the appropriate people.

  13. avatar Interest Party 2 says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea and sounds very tempting. I would also like information on how to do something like this. I live in Long Island, NY, Suffolk county.
    Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated.

  14. Maria and Interest Party 2,
    I’m getting ready to post a blog entry today about another person doing the exact same thing. It should be up in 30 minutes or so.

  15. avatar Barbara says:

    I would like some information on this as well. I live in south Texas and have a home I need to sell. Please send me in the right direction.

  16. avatar Candice says:

    This was a great home and a fabulous opportunity to own for just $100. I am also holding a raffle for a beautiful townhome in Richmond, VA. It is valued at over $200,000 and tickets are $20. Raffle ends August 31, 2008. Visit http://www.myspace.com/houseraffle20

  17. avatar gayle says:

    I would be interested since I live in Md what resources and contacts or procedure to follow this couple has used and am thinking this over for my home on an island on the shore with a specific amount going to a charity event sponsored by the big give.

  18. avatar jim says:

    interested in holding raffle for my house ? how do i get info on this?

  19. Quite a bit of interest. I think people should reach out to SanMar for guidance. This seems to be gaining popularity!

  20. avatar Bobbi says:

    I am also interested in doing this. what if you don’t get enough raffle tickets? how could you recover from that?

  21. Bobbi,
    In the above instance, the owners had arranged to return all monies if they didn’t reach the goal of 5000. They had to get approval from the Maryland Gaming Authority. This is a fail safe solution in any way. It’s a risk. But as witnessed above, if you do your homework and maybe find a local agent willing to work for charity as these people did, you just may be able to get out from under that mortgage.

  22. avatar mary thalacker says:

    i live in washington state, i’d like some info on this to.

  23. avatar Ralph says:

    I see what you guys are doing and was woundering about doing this too. If you could help me out with this it would be a blessing.

  24. avatar z says:

    I think its a shame that everything in this country is taxed. The government has to always have its hands in the pot. Why they have to benefit from you winning a house is appalling.

  25. avatar Brian says:

    Here is a raffle for a Green Home for half a million dollars. Pretty neat if you want a Energy efficent Home.

  26. avatar Shannon says:

    I would love to raffle my house in sc… does anyone know exactly how can it be done legally? email me: mommy22babies@yahoo.com

  27. avatar DEBORAH says:

    I also have a house in tenn. and i would like to raffle it and give anything over to charity. How do i do this? And it be legall.

  28. It’s great to get a personal residence this way, but after servicing real estate investors, we realized that to win investment properties would be even better.
    So we’ve launched a “Win an Investment Property” contest at http://www.distanceinvesting.com
    It is a skills based contest where contestants play a word scramble game and are entered to win a fully rented 2 unit generating $900 in monthly rents. You’re actually getting an income producing asset for just a $100 entry fee.
    Winning these types of investments provide the type of positive cash flow that we’re all seeking to gain better control over our ability to generate income in today‚Äôs economy.
    So visit http://www.distanceinvesting.com and participate in a contest that provides the same win/win situation for the seller and the winner, but even better gives not only equity to the winner but cash flow that can be used to pay actual bills.
    And the current contest’s property value is just $55,000 so the concerns of high taxes to pay on the contest winning are nominal compared to these other contests.
    Who wouldn’t want to win an asset? Now that’s something you can take to the bank! For further details on the benefits, be sure to visit http://www.distanceinvesting.com

  29. avatar Franciska Davey says:

    hey Doug,
    please allow me to jump on the “pick-your-brain train”……I have been researching this concept. My Sec of State sent me to the Dep. of Commerce who sent me to Div of real Estate who told me I can do the raffle myself with no regulations. The Ohio Lottery office told me I do not do anything with them. My local county office has no idea what ‚Äúpermit‚Äù I need. I am running into dead ends and no nonprofit in this area has ever done one of these. You would think I am talking Chinese. Please help me‚Ķ Where do I get direction? Does San Mar have all the answers? Is there a step-by-step guide out there? HELP.
    I would love to raffle our home and get out of dept and support our local Habitat for Humanity program.
    I want the win-win-win!

  30. Hi Franciska,
    Try email Bruce at SanMar. he may be able to provide further insight. You may also want to reach out directly to Habitat for Humanity as they may be helpful when they realize how much money they may gain.
    Good luck to you. I wish i had time to write a how to guide becuase there is obviously a need for one. I’m just not qualified to because I have never run a house raffle.

  31. avatar Rich says:

    I live in Ohio. I also am interested in doing a house raffle. Does anyone have any idea how to get started or who I would need to contact?

  32. avatar Norma Webster says:


  33. avatar Craig says:

    Does anyone have an update on how everything turned out? What were the taxes to the house winner? Does anyone have a contact for Maryland Gaming Authority?
    Thanks for your help!

  34. avatar Jackie Daly says:

    Do you know anything about the house raffle in Thornton, Colorado? Any info. on how to purchase tickets in Colorado would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks so much, Jackie Daly

  35. avatar Annette W says:

    Does the winner of the raffle have to pay taxes on the appraised value of the house that they won. For instance your purchase the $100 raffle ticket, you win. The appraised value of the home is $290,000. Do you have to pay taxes on the $290,000?

  36. avatar Crystal says:

    I think the house raffle idea is great, but it looks like this San Mar house raffle is the only one that was successful in Maryland this year?
    Others house raffles, like the one held by Food Link in Annapolis, didn’t make their ticket quota and had to give all the money back.
    And yep, you definitely have to pay the taxes on the “winnings”, but at least some house raffles cover all the closing costs and pay the property taxes up to date…

  37. avatar Crystal says:

    For everyone asking if house raffles are legal in their state, here’s a list of where RAFFLES (in general) are legal or not legal.
    Note that some towns and cities have stricter laws than their state, and also that some raffle rules/regulations would make a house raffle difficult or at least undesirable.
    For example, it looks like in Florida raffles cannot have a minimum number of tickets sold and cannot be canceled.
    Also, Kansas and Hawaii do not allow a set, required ticket price for raffle tickets. Raffle holders can only accept donations for whatever amount the ticket buyer wants to pay, and payment is optional.

  38. avatar Annette W says:

    I am trying to find a charitable that would work with me to do a house raffle in Illinois. Can anyone recommend some charitables that might be interested?

  39. avatar Tatyana Ordogne says:

    Having been affeted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, my family and I have relocated to my home town in Baton Rouge, La. We still have the property that has been restored in Slidell, La (20 min out side of New Orleans). We would like to raffle that home (2 story 3bd 2 1/2 bath) and our current home in BR. Need much help and info. The Baton Rouge Home is 2yrs old and valued at approx. $315,000.
    we would like to donate a percentage of anything over this amount to a local charity. (maybe Habitat of Humanity)

  40. Hi Doug-
    I am in a difficult mortgage (in Maryland) and find this could be a solution to my dilemma. Can you contact me through email so that I might get your guidance in setting up a raffle? This could be a life saver.
    Thanks very much-

  41. avatar Lindy says:

    I live in Oregon and I am also interested in selling tickets for my home. Could you tell me where I could go to find out more information. Did you have an Open House?
    Thank You

  42. avatar anthony says:

    my house appraised for 400,000
    is their a limit on how many ticket
    that i can sell @ $300.00 per ticket?

  43. avatar LARRY says:

    who can I contact in Colorado to get started in raffling my house.

  44. avatar bernard says:

    Hello. I was wondering how Dennis Kelly and Karen Crawford’s raffle went in the end. Did it all work out for all the win, win and win parties? We have developed some very nice holiday homes in Crete, Greece. The property market is sluggish here too. I had been considering raffling one (or more) of our apartments and found this story as part of my search.

  45. avatar Amy McNamara says:

    Hello my mother is getting ready to lose her home in a few months, I would like someone to contact me to help her.. she has over 70K in equity so a raffle sounds GREAT.. just need help… please contact me..

  46. avatar Jim_London says:

    I live in London and have seen a number of similar house competitions and sweepstakes being organised. I think the law could be different than in the US there and there are a few people trying to sell their home this way.
    One couple even sold 46000 tickets this way (I think the winner hasn’t been picked yet)!:
    cheers, Jim
    London, UK

  47. avatar Brain says:

    I havea house in upstate NY and would be willing to raffle it off and give 35% of the profits over the value of the house to a charity like HOSPES.
    Can you help me!

  48. avatar Rick Wallace says:

    Sandy, just in case you have any additional questions, there is a book written about home raffles that includes a sample business plan that may be of assistance called ‘The Home Raffle Book’ @ http://www.thehomerafflebook.com. I am also looking to raffle my home and wish you the best of luck!

  49. avatar Dee says:

    Is this type of raffle legal in TX? If so, does ayone have any ideas on who I can contact.

  50. avatar Jackie says:

    I am not sure if you are still reviewing posts on this website. I would like to entertain putting my house up for a raffle but would have no clue how to do it. Please contact me to discuss how you started. Thanks.

  51. avatar Bert Rankin says:

    Maryland Public Television added a new twist on this unique fundraising strategy. MPT is raffling off a $1,880,000 Solar Green Home in Clarksville, MD that is a fully furnished new construction model house. The builder has generously donated the LEED Certified Solar powered house to MPT at his construction cost.
    The builder benefits from the marketing about his new line of “Near Zero” Energy Effecient homes that use 60-80% less energy than a standard build home, saving $100k+ in 15 years; Maryland Public Television (MPT)is selling raffle tickets at $100 a piece for any of 25 prizes with odds of winning of 1 in 680 if 17,000 tickets are sold.
    Other great prizes include a brand new Honda Insight Hybrid, an 8 day insider’s guided tour of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and much more! http://www.mptgreenhomeraffle.com

  52. avatar Mel Holden says:

    Well, okay I can see there’s a win/win/win – if enough tickets are sold.
    But where’s the mention of the
    lose/lose/lose/lose/lose/lose/lose ….. (number of people who lose $100 on this)?
    And what if only 1000 had bought tickets? Do they get full amount refunded?

  53. avatar Harry Toole says:

    Are you still doing raffle for 100$? How can I join?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *