WICKER PARK — If affording a single-family home in one of the city's hottest neighborhoods has been a pipe dream, listen up: A $150 raffle ticket could have you living in a 5,000-square-foot Wicker Park home.
If enough tickets are sold, some lucky person with a raffle ticket may win a $1.75 million Chicago dream home, or $1.5 million in cash, in the Chicago Dream House Raffle.
The fourth annual raffle, which starts Feb. 19, is an effort to raise cash for the Hope Institute for Children and Families, a nonprofit that works to provide services for people ages 5 to 21 affected by developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders.
Located in Wicker Park, the six-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot home includes five bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen, a master suite with a fireplace, wine cellar and hardwood floors, among other draws.
Mark Schmidt, a spokesman for the Institute, said the home's owner is prepared to sell the home to the Institute should the winner decide to choose the home rather than the cash.
Because the winner must pay income taxes on the $1.75 million prize home, Schmidt said he is anticipating that the winner would take the cash rather than the home.
Much the same way in which lottery prizes are structured, the grand prize winner will receive a 20-year annuity or a cash lump sum.
"Our experience, in looking at a number of such raffles conducted across the nation, is that the vast majority of winners take the cash prize rather than the home, because of the tax considerations. However, the home allows entrants to visualize how they might spend the money that they win," Schmidt said.
Last year's drawing fell short of selling enough tickets for the grand prize winner to snag a Bucktown home, but there were more than 500 prizes awarded; see the full list of 2014 winners.
Schmidt said that the group must sell at least 40,000 tickets before May 22 in order to award the home as a grand prize. If they do not reach the 40,000-ticket sales goal, all prizes are awarded, with the exception of the home.
Other prizes include cars (Mini Cooper, Toyota Prius, Ford Mustang), vacations (Paris, France, Italy and Hawaii) and electronics.
The June 6 grand prize drawing will take place in Springfield, though winners do not need to attend to claim a prize. Deadlines to win early bird prizes are on Feb. 20, March 20 and April 17.
Those who want to buy tickets can visit the website or call 800-697-7734. Note: The IRS does not consider raffle tickets to be tax deductible purchases. Ticket buyers must be 18 years or older. View rules and restrictions here.
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