Mary Peterson said her family built their dream house in 2001 but moved to Montana to take a better job shortly after the house was completed. She said she tried to sell the house, but the deals didn't pan out. Then, the real estate market collapsed.
"(We had) no showings, no anything," said Peterson, who then hatched the idea of raffling off the property.
"It just gets the debt off the house, and then somebody owns it outright," she said. "It's just a matter of getting out from under the mortgage (and) moving on with my life and my children's lives."
Since announcing the raffle, Peterson said, she seems to be perpetually hosting an open house.
"It's been a parade through my driveway every day, even during the week," she said. "I would love to see somebody – a family – that would love it like we did."
Peterson said she has sold about 600 tickets so far, and she said she needs to sell 20,000 of them to break even. Any proceeds beyond that would go to the Grizzly Wolf Discovery Center in Montana.
Under North Carolina law, a nonprofit venture can raffle off real estate up to $500,000 in value. Peterson said she would hire an independent audit firm to conduct the raffle according to law.
The deadline for purchasing raffle tickets is Dec. 31, but Peterson said she might extend the deadline into next year if she's close to her target. On the other hand, she would cancel the raffle altogether if she doesn't sell the minimum number of tickets.
If the raffle is canceled, ticket-buyers would get a $19 refund, with Peterson keeping the extra $1 as a processing fee.
"It's the cost of the stamp and writing the check because you have to write checks back to everybody out of the (nonprofit) account," she said.