Local News

Two years later, Roxboro woman calls off house raffle

Posted May 31, 2011 4:03 p.m. EDT
Updated May 31, 2011 6:26 p.m. EDT

— What seemed like a good idea during the stagnant market for existing home sales in 2009 never panned out for Mary Peterson.

The Person County woman has called off a raffle of her 3,900-square-foot house on 11 acres on Cedar Grove Church Road near Roxboro after failing to sell 20,000 raffle tickets at $20 each.

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.

She came up with the raffle idea after the real estate market collapsed. Any proceeds above $400,000 were to go to the Grizzly Wolf Discovery Center in Montana.

She extended the deadline to buy tickets several times but wound up selling only 14,500 tickets. So, she recently canceled the raffle and put the house back on the market.

"It's been a headache, a major headache, a lot of disappointments, a lot of sadness," she said Tuesday.

Peterson is now returning money to all ticket-buyers, keeping $1 back from each as a processing fee.

"Everybody will get a refund. They are getting $19 per ticket purchased. They will get a check in the mail," she said.

She said she hopes to have all refunds made by the end of July, but she has had trouble getting in touch with some buyers who have moved or changed email addresses. She asks that anyone who bought a raffle ticket and didn't get an email from her recently about the cancellation contact her at cedargroverox@hotmail.com.

Peterson said she will likely end up losing about $10,000 on the raffle after factoring in the cost of advertising and running it, as well as the postage to return the money to ticket-buyers.

"This was not a scam by any stretch of the imagination," she said. "I so wanted this raffle to happen and this house to go to a family that would love it and enjoy it, and I would be able to go home and be with my family."