House Raffle: $10 For A $3 Million Home

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Have you bought your $10 raffle ticket for this $3 million home?

While listing your house with a real estate agent is the traditional way to sell, in some hard-hit housing markets, it’s not working as houses languish on the market for months…even years. Which has some homeowners trying something much less traditional: a housing raffle.

“We did a lot of work to the house. Added a movie theater. We put it on the market, tried to sell it… it’s just not working out.”
-Miles Brannan, Home Raffler

For months the Bransons tried to sell their 3 million dollar, 6000 square foot home the traditional way: by listing it with a broker. But it just wasn’t happening.

In hard hit housing markets like those in California and Florida, it’s a common problem. But this Fort Lauderdale family is trying an uncommon solution.

“We’re doing a drawing for the house. We’re selling tickets for $10 a piece… we’ve set a cap on how many we’re going to sell.”
-Miles Brannan, Home Raffler

So far about 80,000 $10 raffle tickets have been sold. Once that number reaches three hundred thousand… 3 million dollars worth… the house is transferred to the lucky winner. A portion of the proceeds also goes to a local charity.

Sound like a great way to buy or sell a house? Maybe. But keep in mind if you’re the lucky winner, you’ll owe income taxes on your 3 million dollar house: at least a million in cash. And if you’re thinking this is a simple way to sell your house?

“It’s a lot of work. A lot of work. And a lot of stress. And if we don’t sell all the tickets…and arrive at the point where we do a cash drawing instead of selling the house… which I don’t want to happen. We still end up with the house and we didn’t get anywhere.”
-Miles Brannan, Home Raffler

Why is selling your home through a raffle “a lot of work?” One reason is that in order to sell enough tickets to make it feasible, you have to get the word out. And setting up a website is only the tip of the iceberg.  Once you’ve got a website, you need to get people to see it. And that means publicity, publicity and more publicity.  Without it, you’ll never attract enough people to sell the volume of tickets necessary. Consider the Brannan’s.  When it comes to publicity, they’ve worked hard and been very successful.  In addition to stories in local newspapers and TV news, they’ve also been mentioned on several national outlets, including CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Fox news and, of course, Money Talks. You can’t expect to do much better than that. And yet, even after this level of awareness, when we spoke to them a couple of weeks ago, they were still far short of the sales they need for a successful raffle.

Then there’s the legal angle. In general, a raffle is considered gambling and thus illegal in most states, at least by individuals.  So setting up a legal raffle may not even be possible where you live and if it is, it means paying an attorney early and often.  It will also most likely require working through a legitimate non-profit organization: one that will actually benefit substantially should the house actually sell. So you’ll almost certainly be parting with a substantial amount of the sale proceeds.

Bottom line? Selling your house with something like a raffle may sound fun, but it’s way more difficult than it looks. Over the last 15 years, we’ve covered variations of this story three different  times with three different owners in three different parts of the country and thus far have yet to see a successful sale this way.  Hopefully the Brannan’s will be the first… we’ll see in a few months.  But win, lose or draw, the Brennan’s story is still testament to the fact that when the going gets tough, the tough get creative.

To check out this home raffle yourself, head to

Stacy’s Note (January, 2010): This house, despite all the publicity mentioned above, ultimately wasn’t raffled off.  They needed to sell 300,000 tickets and by December 31st, 2009 had sold only 70,000. (You’ll note that in the story above, which was written in July of 2009, we were told 80,000 had already been sold. Maybe we got it wrong.)

The $700,000 that was raised was divided between one lucky winner and the charity they were supporting.  And other than good karma, the homeowners have little to show for a very long, stressful and expensive experience.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Lookin’ Good! How to Get a Killer Deal on Eyeglasses

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,935 more deals!