Last week, we posted about a Remodeled Historic Log Home in Edgewater, Maryland being auctioned off for $50 a ticket. Just under 24,000 tickets were sold and on Friday at 5PM in the Westfields Mall in Annapolis, homeowner Tom Walters drew the balls from the hopper that would determine the winner. Karen McHale of Idaho Springs, Colorado, a chemical engineer, volunteer firefighter, and mother of two was the big winner. McHale has no plans to uproot her family, but will visit the house in the next few weeks and decide what to do with it (and decide how to handle the $200,000 – $300,000 tax bill that the federal government will assess just as they would on any lottery winning).
Despite publicity on CNN, ABC, Inside Edition, and in the New York Times, several overseas newspapers, and even in the Historic House Blog, the ticket sales still left Tom Walters just short of breaking even. He had bought the house in 2006 for $425,000 and poured $750,000 into it in renovations and additions. The tickets netted $1,190,000. About $100,000 went to a local charity, $10,000 went to a second prize winner, and thousands also went into arranging for publicity for the raffle.
The Edgewater raffle had much better luck in selling tickets than a recent auction in Edenton, North Carolina. The Circa 1850 Pembroke Hall, described as “one of North Carolina’s landmark Greek Revival-style homes,” had been on the market since 2002, and most recently listed at $1.4 Million. The owners decided on an online auction as a unique way of drumming up interest in the house. Bidding opened at $100,000. By the time the auction concluded on January 6, the auction website had attracted 3000 visitors and seven bids. The highest bid came in at $750,000- respectable but well short of the seller’s reserve.