Archive for June, 2011


Are There Any Drawbacks When the Grand Prize Home is Valued Over a Million Dollars?

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Great question—this week I consulted with a homeowner who has a very unique piece of real estate. He owns a beautifully built custom home located in a mountain resort area—the home appraised for $1,200,000. It’s been on the market for over a year, and he hasn’t received one offer. As we all know, this is typical in this down real estate market, and this owner is thinking about raffling the house.

The main consideration, for the homeowner, when you have a high priced home, is that you must find a qualified organization to match. Here’s an example: Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, in 2010, raffled a 1.8 million coastal dream home, and this charity was very successful because it has the strength, the organization, the sponsors, the publicity, and the marketing muscle to pull it off. I think that this charity would want a grand prize home that matches their persona and the number of donors they have.

On the other hand, if you pick a qualified organization with a yearly budget of $50,000, they will probably not have the strength to sell the number of tickets required to pay for a prize valued over $500,000, so this organization will need a grand prize valued in the $200,000 range and a  team of volunteers. The qualified organization running the raffle, and the grand prize, must be a match. Make sense?

To your success!
Diane Giraudo-McDermott

P.S. Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet, and that elephants are the only animals that can’t jump?

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A Solution for a Home Seller

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Last week I spoke to a homeowner who wanted to sell a house through a raffle. He said that he had a fabulous house that would make an excellent grand prize—it had the wow factor, and it was in a great location, but he could not find a nonprofit. After asking a few questions, I learned that he had contacted two performing art centers by phone and both wanted him to donate the house for the raffle. Unfortunately, this was not within his budget.

Here’s the solution—I recommend that the home seller must define at least six organizations to contact. Choose them from different arenas, for example, two 501c3 charities,  two educational organizations, and two religious organizations—that way you have a broader spectrum, and don’t be dismayed if the first or second one you call does not say “yes,” that’s why you pick six. With six on your list, if you get turned down, you are less likely to be discouraged and quickly move to the next one on your list.

Research the organizations before placing them on your list, this will give you a stronger background to create a compelling presentation which emphasizes the three benefits of a house raffle for their organization—they will be interested to learn more. And finally, don’t explain the details on the phone—meet in person with the decision makers to go over the plan.

For more information on help with a house raffle and finding a qualified organization, visit

To your success!
Diane Giraudo-McDermott

P.S. Did you know that American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class?

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The Job of a Real Estate Agent in a House Raffle

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A house raffle is a house sale. A real estate agent can find the buyer or the seller, just like in any sale of real estate and then walk their client through the selling process. One difference is that the buyer is a qualified organization—in most states, a qualified organization is defined as a nonprofit, a religious organization, or an educational organization. Some states require that the organization be in existence for a specific number of years, so check the gaming law in your state. And just like any sale of real estate, the sale is contingent upon the buyer getting funding, however, in a house raffle funding usually comes after the sale of the raffle tickets. Some agents even use the house raffle tool to bring back expired listings and get the house sold.

To your success!
Diane Giraudo-McDermott

P.S. Did you know that Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest?

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What Makes For an Excellent Grand Prize in a House Raffle?

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There are a number of things to keep in mind when evaluating the Grand Prize:

• The home must have a “wow” factor, so that when potential ticket buyers see photos or enter the home, they are wowed. The home does not have to be a million dollar home; but maybe the wow factor is a beautiful fireplace in the living room, a custom kitchen, and mountain views from the patio. And don’t forget that the right staging can increase the “wow” factor.

• Location is crucial so be sure the home is in a desirable neighborhood.

• The home must be in good condition because the ticket buyer wants to feel that this home is worth risking the price of the ticket.

• Unlike a conventional home sale where you need only one buyer, in a house raffle you need thousands of buyers (the number of total tickets). So be sure the home will appeal to the general public—details are important.   

For additional information on the grand prize home and how even a mountain cabin can make for a super grand prize in a house raffle, visit

To your success!
Diane Giraudo-McDermott

P.S. Did you know that The Tokyo Zoo in Japan, closes down for two months every year to give the animals a little break from the people.

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House Raffles and Being Resourceful

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When I was a kid, my Italian grandfather drummed this old saying into our heads “Se non avete una pentola a pis-chare, poi e nechesario salvare ogni chentisimo a fino a fare” What? “If you don’t have a pot to piss in, then you must save every single penny until you do.” So at an early age, I was convinced that it was important to  own real estate. I purchased my first home in 1985, and in 2004, when I struggled to find work after leaving my job in marketing to help take care of my mother, I was drawn again to houses, land, and buildings.

I wanted to be a flipper—take a beat-up house or building and make it into a dream property.

After creating my first dream home—a lovely four bedroom on a third of an acre with mountain views, and even a detached studio, I ran into huge roadblocks trying to get it sold. The real estate market was plummeting all around me and buyers couldn’t qualify for loans, plus, developers were offering buyers incentives that I couldn’t match. I knew that I needed to be resourceful—that’s when I came up with the idea of selling my house in a raffle.

So whatever is motivating you to sell your house through a raffle, don’t let the first, or second obstacle get in your way. House raffle have been done many times, and you can do this too!

To your success!
Diane Giruado-McDermott

P.S. Woody Allen put it like this: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”

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Win a New Mexico Home

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About a month ago, I started working with Desert Academy, a nonprofit school looking to raise scholarship money for families in need of financial aid. This is a great school here in New Mexico for students grades 7-12, an International Baccalaureate World School. Desert Academy chose their prize home  in Albuquerque, near Old Town. Much preparation was done for the opening event on May 1st, but to every one’s surprise, it was snowing with  50 mile an hour winds that day. Yikes!

 Despite the weather, several hundred people showed up to see the beautiful prize home and buy tickets. What did this nonprofit do right?  They created some buzz: They advertised the event, they gave away doorprizes every hour (donated by local businesses), they had a group of business sponsors, they distributed fliers throughout the city, their signs were plentiful, highly visible, and carried the right message, visitors got a Boars Head hot dog and drink just for showing up, Orbit the mascot from a local baseball team, the Isotopes, was there to meet and greet people, and, lastly, this nonprofit  chose a great prize home. 

I think they’ll do well. If you would like to learn more about this particular house raffle, visit

To their success!
Diane Giraudo-McDermott

Desert Academy's Prize Home

Prize Home Kitchen

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Welcome to House Raffle Tips!

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Hello all you rafflers out there!

I created this site to help anyone that is interested in a house raffle, whether it’s a homeowner, Realtor, or a lender tying to get a property sold, or the development director of a nonprofit looking for a fundraiser for their cause.  The neat thing about a house raffle is that it can be an excellent tool to get a home sold in a slow market, and a great way for an organization to raise funds—plus the organization running the raffle gets great exposure and an increase to its database of donors.

Like many homes in this down market, my home wasn’t selling—so I relied on my marketing background and sold my house in a raffle by partnering with a “no-kill” animal shelter. I was fostering three dogs that otherwise would have been euthanized by the city shelter so this was a perfect fit. I got my asking price for the house, and more dogs and cats benefited from the services of this nonprofit.

During the raffle of my home people had so many questions about how to put together a house raffle that I decided to outline the process in a step-by-step method for a win-win solution for everyone—home sellers get their asking price, the charity raises funds for their cause, and the winner gets a great house!

So if you’ve always wanted to be rich enough to help your favorite charity in a big way—this is it—you could help raise over $100,000 for a worthy cause and get your house SOLD!

To your success!

Diane Giraudo-McDermott

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What Others Are Saying:

“The book really does take you through the entire process. I feel like Diane holds your hand from beginning to end from qualifying the grand prize home to what happens after the drawing. I’m a homeowner and I’ve had difficulty selling my beautiful home. Now I know what it takes to sell my home in a raffle. I know exactly what type of nonprofit I need to partner with on my house raffle and what to expect. I’m excited to get started.”

-Karen L. Furguson, Homeowner in Tucson, Arizona

"Consulting with Diane by phone has been invaluable. Her knowledge on the subject of house raffles is enormous, and she has really given us a better understanding of the process as we move forward with our house raffle. She has been more than willing to take the time needed in answering all of our questions. After consulting with Diane, we feel we have a much better chance of putting together a successful house raffle and are excited about making it happen."

Chip Thompson, homeowner in Rehoboth, Delaware

"'I Sold My House in a Raffle' is an excellent example of creative marketing. The best marketers think "out of the box" and Diane shows that you can really sell your house in a raffle!"

-Ali Pervex, International Best Selling Author, 'Get Your Black Belt in Marketing',

“What a great marketing tool! This is a hot new method to get a property sold. My clients love this idea—I already have my first raffle house lined up. I’ll use Diane’s process to get and sell more listings.”

Jack C. Rosemary – California Real Estate Broker, 26 years experience

“I attended Diane’s workshop on February 27th, and she’s got it all together. Not only does she know how to pull off a house raffle but you can tell that she was a teacher because she knows how to convey the information. She broke the process into bite-size pieces and gave us exercises to complete so we were involved. Before anyone attempts a house raffle, they should attend Diane’s workshop–there’s more to it than one could imagine.”

-Ron Thomas, Real Estate Investor for 20 years, Albuquerque, New Mexico