A 37-year-old bachelor plans to give his $80,000 house to the person who does the best job of saying in 25 words or less why he or she wants it. The entry fee for the contest is $100.
Owner Dwight S. Brass says he lost his job as an environmental engineer a month ago, needs money, and the people interested in buying his house haven't been able to get a loan approved.
He read about a Wisconsin homeowner using the contest idea.
Brass said he'll limit the contest to 1,100 entries and if he receives fewer than the 800 needed to produce $80,000, he'll return the entry checks.
Brass said he bought the two-story home last year for $65,000 and has put about $10,000 into it. His hobby is woodworking, he said, "and I've put a lot of work into it."
Meanwhile, in Roanoke, Va., the commonwealth's attorneys for Roanoke and Roanoke County said this week that a raffle on a $130,000 home sponsored by the Roanoke Valley SPCA to raise money for an animal shelter is illegal.
"It may be a good idea, but they're totally in violation of the statutes," Roanoke County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Blaylock said.
Harry Bosen, an SPCA board member and attorney for the board, said the raffle would have to wait until the courts hand down a declaratory judgment on the situation or possibly until the state attorney general's office issues a legal opinion on the matter.
Roanoke City Commonwealth's Attorney Donald Caldwell said he contacted an assistant attorney general, who agreed the raffle would be illegal as the SPCA planned to conduct it.
Under state law, it is illegal for either a homeowner or developer to raffle off a home, Caldwell said. But he said a nonprofit organization may hold a raffle if it owns the home and the proceeds go to charity.
The SPCA had planned to enter into a contract with the builder of the home, Bosen's brother, Ralph Bosen, and then sell 2,000 tickets at $100 apiece.
Ralph Bosen would keep the $130,000 for the house, a Williamsburg colonial brick-frame in Canterbury Park off U.S. 221. The SPCA would take the profits and use them for an animal shelter.