WHITE LAKE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It could be the real estate opportunity of a lifetime — acres of land, and a luxurious home on a private lake could be all yours for $149.
As CBS2’s Lou Young explained, there’s a catch.
High in a knotty pine paradise, Kelly Lavorgna took CBS2’s cameras through the vacation home being offered as a prize in a contest.
“We eat here, every meal, we play games. The view is magnificent,” she said.
The cozy, well appointed two bedroom retreat overlooks an expansive fish filled lake.
“The lake is just awesome; we love boating, we take the kayaks out, do some fly fishing down here as well,” Andrew Bares said.
“You can’t help but relax here,” Lavorgna added.
It’s a Catskill dream home a short distance from the famous Woodstock concert site in the nearby Bethel.
Lavorgna said she and her husband no longer have the time to enjoy the home.
“We feel like it’s wasted on us. We love the place, but we want other people to enjoy it just like we did,” she said.
The contest requires an investment of $149 and a written explanation of why the contestant wants to own it.
The couple has tried twice to sell it, and decided on this tactic as their only chance of getting back some of the investment they made at the height of the 2008 housing bubble.
“We’re going to take a loss, but you know, prices are different now. The second home market never recovered from the crash,” Andrew said.
The math indicates that they need 5,500 applicants to make the deal work, but that leaves at least 5,499 potential sore losers, and just over $819,000.
For that reason, they’re not judging the contest themselves, but hiring a panel of outside experts.
“We have 10 judges that we’ve very carefully hired and vetted. We have no say at all,” Kelly said.
Grammar, originality, and creativity are all factors.
Since it takes time — an additional investment — real estate experts said the contest is not an approach most home sellers should consider.
“This is a limited option for people of means,” Nancy Elsas said.
If the sellers don’t get the minimum number of contestants, they’ll refund everyone $100 and apply the remaining $49 to administrative costs.
The winner would owe taxes for the assessed value of the home and be liable for property taxes and homeowner association fees — about $11,000 a year.
“You have $149 and you’re going to lose $49 of it, and you want to write an essay because this house looks intriguing and you know that — maybe you’re looking for a house in the area? Absolutely do it,” Elsas said.
The contest runs through the end of April, and while it is in part about money, with a home there’s always an underlying risk.
“We really hope that the house goes to somebody who wants it and deserves it,” Lavorgna said.
Perhaps that’s you.
To enter the contest, click here.