$2.5 million estate being raffled off by nonprofit

$150 tickets benefit Alternatives for Better Living
2013-10-28T15:40:00Z 2013-10-30T12:54:58Z $2.5 million estate being raffled off by nonprofitJENNIFER HUFFMAN Napa Valley Register
October 28, 2013 3:40 pm  • 

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a million-dollar Napa Valley home, Alternatives for Better Living might have just the ticket for you. The winning ticket, that is.

Beginning sometime during the first week of November, the Napa nonprofit, which provides anger management, parenting and substance abuse education and counseling for both adults and adolescents, will host the first annual “Napa Valley Destination Dream Home Raffle.”

Ticket buyers have a chance to win a number of prizes, from cars to vacations. But the grand prize is a luxury Napa Valley estate, worth $2.5 million dollars, said raffle director Dixie Jones.

The property, which includes two guest houses, is located between Napa and Yountville. To prevent visitors at the property, the exact address is not being revealed, Jones said.

Jones, who is a board member at Alternatives for Better Living, said that she thought of the raffle idea after hearing about dream home raffles in San Francisco, Marin and other cities.

“I thought gosh, if San Francisco and Marin were doing this, why not Napa?” After all, “Who wouldn’t want to win a home in Napa Valley?” she said.

Approximately 40,000 tickets for the dream home raffle will be sold, priced at $150 each, explained Jones. If all 40,000 tickets are sold, the nonprofit would raise $6 million. The nonprofit would use that money to buy “early bird” prizes like Mercedes sedans and vacations and finally the house.

Alternatives for Better Living would receive the remainder of the money collected, estimated to be as much as $3.5 million.

Jones said that the idea is relatively simple. “You buy a ticket, the money goes to a nonprofit. And you might win a house or early bird prizes.”

As with other home raffles, if enough tickets aren’t sold, cash prizes may be substituted. The grand prize raffle winner can also elect a cash prize, instead of the home itself, she explained. The raffle runs from November to May, said Jones.

Other rules, including tax obligations for winners, can be found on the raffle’s website. Dream home raffles are regulated by the state attorney general’s office.

Tickets will be sold starting the first week in November, both at the nonprofit’s office on School Street, by calling a toll-free number or by printing an order form found on the raffle website. Regulations prevent tickets being sold online.

Jones said that a similar raffle in Silicon Valley usually sells 85,000 tickets and a Marin dream home raffle typically sells about 40,000 tickets. Because of the cache of the Napa Valley, “We don’t feel like 40,000 is too many for our first year,” she said.

“It’s a huge fundraiser,” Jones said.

Jennifer Merrell, acting executive director of Alternatives for Better Living, said that the most money the 15-year-old nonprofit has made from fundraisers in the past was about $5,000.

A financial windfall from the dream home raffle would be a huge step forward for the program, said Merrell.

“It’s very exciting and scary at the same time. What if it doesn’t work? We will continue on but you don’t want to expect a million and not get it,” she said.

If the hoped-for millions are raised, “having a little bit of a nest egg … would take a lot of stress off of the organization,” she said. As it is now, the nonprofit relies on funding from the city, county and state. With a new source of revenue, the organization could greatly expand its programs, in particular within local high schools, Merrell said.

“This is so exciting for us to have the ability to branch out more into the community and help more people,” Merrell said.

“The nicest thing about this raffle is not only can somebody win something wonderful for themselves, they can do something for the community,” said Jones. “If $150 seems pricey, find a friend and split the ticket. If you didn’t want to split the house, you could split the money.”

“It’s such a win-win,” said Jones.

“Buy a ticket,” said Merrell. With only 40,000 tickets sold, “the odds are better than the lottery.”

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(7) Comments

  1. napaOG
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    napaOG - October 29, 2013 8:47 am
    This idea is nice but not realistic. So someone wins the house for instance someone who doesn't make a hole lot of money a year. Who in the world is going to be able to keep up the property tax alone on a 2-3.5 million dollar home. I feel this is another case of Opra giving away brand new cars but hold on i just need 3 thousand dollars and you can take it home. I am all for giving to people who need better things in life but watching them keep and enjoy them is the greatest reward.
  2. napaOG
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    napaOG - October 29, 2013 9:07 am
    This is not realistic. Yes it is great to be raffling off a home most of us dream of but how is anyone going to be able to pay the property tax a year on it alone. I am entitled to my own opinion and my first comment didn't make it up. I'm not trying to be a downer but feel if something is given away for free it should be completely free. So what is it now a days 30 percent of what your house is worth or something. Well good luck keeping it every year, going to get the whole family to move in?
  3. angela14
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    angela14 - October 29, 2013 11:15 am
    If I miraculously won the house, I would take it and list it, price it lower than the appraised value so it sells quickly and enjoy the cash. It would still be more than their cash prize (usually 1 million for these raffles).
  4. Papa
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    Papa - October 29, 2013 8:13 pm
    Property tax is 1% of homes appraised value
  5. TeamJRz
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    TeamJRz - October 29, 2013 10:20 pm
    No to be an upper...but I've been doing some research, most of the entrants make between $150-$300K per year and could afford the property tax, if they did not have the cash to cover the sales tax, any good Realtor could finance the sales tax and move a family/individual in with no problem. The great part about Destination Dream Home Raffle - Napa Valley is that it has rentals on the property, so not only will you get the home of your dream, but you will get an income property to boot! BANG, BAM, BOOM! Never been done like this before.
  6. tfytmp
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    tfytmp - October 30, 2013 5:34 pm
    Went to the website to see the details; I COULD NOT FIND THE RAFFLE LISTED.
  7. ValleySwag
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    ValleySwag - November 01, 2013 12:50 am
    The website isn't even half complete. It appears they've re-purposed a wordpress template without completely editing it. Half the website is about some rock concert in San Jose and a quarter is lorum ipsum. I was thinking about entering but that is pretty sketchy looking.
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