Florida guy tries to raffle off his house, learns a finance lesson

State lotteries make me sad. It makes me sad to see people buying lotto tickets every day. We all know the odds, but there’s a (supposedly) rational reason behind the impulse to purchase: low risk. $1 will not be missed either way, so lotto players say “why not.” We buy the right to dream about how many hammocks we’d buy, and more importantly how quickly we’d quit our jobs. It’s as much a social phenomenon as a personal one; every time the powerball gets big, co-workers love to talk about how quickly they’d quit their jobs and in what manner they’d announce to the boss the wise words of Johnny Paycheck: “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t workin’ here no more.” But if those lotto tickets cost, say, $30 each, I don’t think the system would function: too much is being put at risk. The Sun Sentinel reports on a Florida man learned that lesson when he tried to raffle his house.

Brannan, an investor, bought the house four years ago for $2.35 million and said because of the economic downturn, he is struggling to maintain it.

Now he’s stuck with it. “I have no idea what we’re going to do next,” he said Monday. “I just don’t know.”

Labarga said the charity started selling raffle tickets for $10 apiece. When sales slowed, to raise more money, the ticket price was raised to $30. But only about 20,000 buyers came forward — at least one from as far away as London — to buy between 63,000 and 65,000 tickets.

On Saturday the charity sent out an e-mail about extending the drawing to March. But when ticket holders protested that they didn’t want to wait, the idea was scrapped in favor of the 50/50 split, Labarga said.

“We said since the numbers were not there, let’s go to the 50/50 and get it over with,” Labarga said. “A lot of people are saying will you do a new raffle? We want the house and we want it re-raffled. People are funny.”

He needed about 300,000 tickets sold to make that work, and I’m surprised he even got the 63-65,000 tickets sold. $30 for the chance to pay property taxes on a condo that obviously couldn’t sell the normal way is not the same as $1 for the opportunity to dream about never working 9-to-5 again.

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One Response to “Florida guy tries to raffle off his house, learns a finance lesson”

  1. Janet Clower Says:

    interesting idea for a raffle but you need enough number of fools to carry it off!

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