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Want to Buy a House? Buy a Ticket

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raffle_7_15_consumerRISMEDIA, July 15, 2009-(MCT)-With a housing market sinking to lows seldom seen in this country’s history, some people are resorting to seldom-used practices to sell their houses.

Don and Karen Carroll count themselves among that group. With plans to move to Painesville Township, the Eastlake couple is trying to sell their home of five years but to this point haven’t had much luck.

“Our house has been on the market for almost a month and a half, but only one person has come to look at it,” said Don, 40. “That being the case, we’re kind of worried.”

So, they’ve come up with a Plan B.

“I was sitting in the living room last week, and I said to my husband, ‘What if we tried to raffle this house?’ ” said Karen, 50. “Somebody in this big world had to have done it before.”

In fact, someone has. Last year, a Maryland couple raffled off their four-bedroom farmhouse — which was appraised at $390,000 when it was first put on the market — by selling 6,289 tickets at a price of $100 each.

The entire process took about two and a half months and the raffle even raised about $225,000 for a charity of that couple’s choice.

The Carrolls first hoped to do exactly the same but have since learned that Ohio law prevents them from doing so, Don said.

However, another entity — like a nonprofit organization — can conduct such a raffle, Don said, explaining that led the Carrolls to approach the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland in hopes of working something out.

“My mother just passed away last month from diabetes,” said Karen, explaining why the couple chose the Beachwood-based nonprofit.

However, such a raffle would have to be approved by the association’s board of directors and there are still a number of legal questions that must be answered, said Lori Izeman, director of development and communication.

“We’re interested in looking at new streams of revenue, and this may be an exciting opportunity,” she said. “We’re thrilled they’re thinking locally, because the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland is the only local nonprofit dedicated to diabetes. We’re not part of a national organization.”

Should things not work with the association, Don said he and his wife would look for other nonprofits in hopes of arranging a raffle.

“In my heart, I think this could be a successful thing for whichever organization was willing to do it,” he said.
In the meantime, the three-bedroom, one-bathroom raised-ranch house at 1259 E. 362nd St. is still up for sale. It’s been appraised at $115,000, Don said.

Realtor Daryl Poe, who along with wife Georgia is the Keller Williams Realty agent for the house, said the couple would likely sell their home before any raffle if a buyer stepped forward.

Still, he gives the Carrolls credit for deciding to raffle the house.

“As a Realtor, it didn’t bother me,” Poe said. “You got people thinking outside the box.”

Copyright (c) 2009, The News-Herald, Willoughby, Ohio
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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