Oh sure, some might say that now’s a lousy time to make an investment in real estate. But what if you had a shot at turning a $150 raffle ticket into a $2,400,000 house? That’s just what the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is hoping you’ll do with its intriguing Dream House Raffle. It’s exactly what it sounds like: they are raffling off a house. A HOUSE. Proceeds benefit YBCA, and artsy-craftsy organization down by the Metreon. A HOUSE! Good grief.

On its face, this deal might sound too crazy to actually be true; but it’s for reals. According to RedFin, the property sold in 2004 for a little under a million. After a tear-down and rebuild, up went a charming little mansion in 2008 that RealEstate.com prices out at $1.8 million. No takers, though, and after a couple of empty, lonely months, the house is going to raffle with a stated value of $2.4 million, which is close to what Curbed’s readers guessed the value to be. Sure, winning it’s a long shot, but still better than the lotto: they’ll sell a maximum of 37,000 tickets, and there’s other smaller cash prizes along the way. At $150 a pop, that works out to a five-and-a-half million take for YBCA — not too shabby. The internets, as usual, are beside themselves.

So: the property owner gets a non-selling house off of his hands; the YBCA gets a nice chunk of change; and some lucky patron of the arts gets “sophisticated granite banister stairs.” It’s a win for everyone! Of course, the new homeowner would have to take out a mortgage just to pay taxes, but hey, what’s that — a couple hundred thousand for a house in the two-million neighborhood? WIN NEVERTHELESS.

And if you win, you also have the option of taking $1.8 million in cash (oh, not $2.4 million? How odd.) instead of the house. That’s what happened in Marin earlier this month,, when a newly-unemployed family won a house raffle up there. Wait, just how many raffles are going on? As it turns out, lots — there’s a whole mini-industry going up around these little ventures. And they don’t always go well: a raffle in Orlando was cancelled after it raised less than $100.

So what happens if the house doesn’t wind up changing hands? In that case, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Longpre, “the home goes back to the homeowners, who can do with the home as they see fit.” Our suggestion? Make it a habitat for our newest obsession: pangolins. Have you seen these things? They. Are. AMAAAAAAZING.

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