Win a Home for $100

Written by Posted On Sunday, 30 October 2005 16:00

We've all heard of a house for sale, but how about a "house for house." A Southern-California nonprofit charity raffled off a grand prize, a $700,000-plus John Laing home to help raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego earlier this month. Raffles such as this are gaining interest as real estate rises.

"[Housing] prices are higher than ever so to give $200 [for a raffle ticket] to a charity and have a reasonable shot at getting a brand new home that is built by a reputable builder is an incredible opportunity," says Sara Fraunces, President of Outsmart, a marketing firm in San Diego.

The summer-long San Diego house raffle raised more than 1.5 million in proceeds which will help the charity build a new multi-million dollar home to house families of seriously ill children who are being treated at nearby hospitals.

The winner of the home, Robert Hartman from Jamul, California purchased two tickets. Hartman, a San Diego firefighter, can choose between the house and a $620,000 cash option. He decided on the house.

"This is amazing! My wife Laura and I feel truly, truly blessed. I hope the Ronald McDonald House gets everything they need," says Hartman.

In addition to the grand prize, 80 winners were awarded a total of $97,500 in cash prizes including giveaways of $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000. A complete list of prize winners can be found here .

In skyrocketing real estate markets charities are becoming more interested in house raffles because the prize is so enticing.

"Lots of people from around the country are looking at the programs that have been successful in California and modeling after them," says Fraunces.

But John Laing Homes is fairly new to this type of partnership. The San Diego raffle was only the second house raffle the company has done; the first took place in Irvine, California a couple of years ago and was hugely successful.

However, in Illinois, the Naperville Rotary Charities Inc, affiliated with the Rotary Club there, has been holding house raffles for 14 years. Recently the charity upped the ante (in answer to climbing housing prices) from a grand prize give away of a $250,000 home to a one-million dollar home.

"Now you can't even buy a lot for [$250,000], so we had to realize the cost of doing it wasn't realistic," says Rotarian Art Davis.

In this raffle the prize is not a pre-selected home, but a chance to design and get your own dream home built.

"If [the winner] wants the home, it's built anywhere in the country that [the winner] chooses," says Davis.

As with the San Diego raffle, the grand prize winner can choose between the house and, in this case, one-million dollars cash. If the winner chooses the house then Davis says certain rules apply regarding the builder.

"A builder is anybody [the winner] should choose who is hooked up with the National Homebuilder's Association," says Davis.

The house raffles seem to attract participants for several reasons: the prizes, the charity and the odds which vary depending on the particular raffle.

"Some people play the Lottery; the odds are what, one in millions. In this particular case [the San Diego house raffle] the odds were meant to be one in 18,000 but ended up being one in 7,000," say Fraunces.

Fraunces speculates that the hurricanes impacted the number of tickets sold for the San Diego house raffle. However, fewer tickets sold increased the odds of winning.

"The way the raffle was structured is that you had a one in 100 chance at winning a prize valued over $200," says Fraunces. T

Ticket sales for the San Diego raffle, which just closed, were sold for $200. Tickets for the Naperville house raffle are $100 each and, at the time of this writing, are currently still available.

The Rotary Club expects to sell 50,000 tickets before the grand prize drawing for the one-million-dollar home give-away on December 8, 2005. For more details visit .

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or Visit for more information.

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