February 12, 2009 Issue


One citizen's idea to save the housing market

Dear Editor:

I, like so many others, invested in the housing market three years ago, and am now finding myself in a financial situation that looks completely bleak. So I have been thinking of possible solutions that would work, not only for me, but for all parties involved, and have come up with an idea.

Idea: Create a website to raffle off properties. This website would include all necessary information - everything on the MLX forms, photos, seller’s disclosure statement, deed, appraisal, home and wood infestation inspections, etc.

Each seller would determine the price (or cap) of their property. It could be an amount the property was worth or expected to sell at three years ago. This could be based on an appraisal from that time, or a maximum percentage could be added to a current appraisal. Each seller would also determine the limited number of tickets to be sold, the amount for each ticket, and the date of the raffle. Raffle tickets would be purchased on the website through credit cards, and a running tab of the number of tickets sold would be posted. If the limited amount of tickets was not sold by the date of the raffle, it would be at the seller’s discretion to draw a winner or refund everyone’s money.

The winner (the new owner) would then be encouraged to put the property back on the market at a price that would sell in the current market. The encouragement could be in the form of a tax break on the capital gains on that sale (as an example).

This, of course, would not apply if the winner’s intention was to move into and live in the new property.

Example A: My circumstances (I built two town homes and put them on the market two and a half years ago).

Property Listing - Landmark Historic District in Savannah.

Reconstructed two story 1890’s town home. Three bedrooms, two and a half baths, eat-in kitchen with maple cabinetry, granite countertops, new appliances and laundry area. New bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, gas fireplace and hardwood floors throughout. Lots of closets and cable-ready. Spacious layout! $325,000.

Three years ago, this property would have closed within 3 months. For that to happen now, the price would have to drop to $275,000, but since I, the Seller, have over $265,000 invested into it, I cannot drop the price to that amount. Not only would I not make any money, I would have to bring money to the table. If the property does not sell soon, foreclosure/bankruptcy will be inevitable. This is a no/win situation for everyone.

Example B : My idea

Raffle - $25 per ticket - Limited # of tickets 15,000

If 15,000 people bought a ticket, the Seller would make enough profit to pay off the mortgage, get out of debt, and start investing again.

The Winner would put the property back on the market for $275,000 (which would sell), and would probably clear $250,000. Not bad for a $25 investment.

Each sale would generate opportunities for Realtors, appraisers, home inspectors, mortgages companies, contractors, home remodeling, retail sales, etc., and more importantly, a possibility of a housing economic recovery. This is a win/win situation for everyone.

I know that raffles/lotteries are illegal if operated by an individual, but they are not illegal if they are operated by a State, which is why I also sent a copy to Margaret R. DeFrancisco, President and CEO, Georgia Lottery Corporation. I believe if this program is operated under the umbrella of the GA Lottery Commission, it would first, resolve legal issues, and second, be a phenomenal marketing tool.

The Game : My idea could be promoted as a “game”, a “game” that could generate enthusiasm, optimism, and patriotism.

The game could be called “PROJECT: HOME RUN” (as an example).

All Americans love Baseball and Baseball hits home for all Americans.

The “game” could be:

You get to 1st Base by buying a raffle ticket. You get to 2nd Base by winning. You get to 3rd Base by putting the property back on the market. You get a Home Run by selling the property.

The more Home Runs one makes, the greater the tax incentive could be, etc. This could become very popular, very quickly. I can even envision virtual teams being created and a virtual World Series being played. Americans love games and causes, and I’m sure every American would “pitch in” and spend $10, $15, $25, etc. to help our housing economy get back on its feet again.

I’m sure you have creative people on your staff that could expand on my idea, or use it to be inspired to come up with something entirely new. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m just trying to come up with a way to help myself and the millions of other Americans in my situation. This country is in a mess. We’ve got to do something, and we’ve got to do it now!


Elaine Berk



D'Antignac responds to McDermott

Dear Editor:

Dan, the Democracts are going to do something the Republicans wouldn’t do for the (8+) eight plus years they were in power. You would think that with all of the reaching out that President Obama is doing, they would try and meet him half way. But no, like you, they are still stuck with tax cuts for the rich. Has it not dawned on them and you, that what they did in the last eight years or more didn’t work and the American people voted for change. You are so stuck on Muslims and illegals, you can’t or don’t want to see the big picture.

There are thousands of men and women being laid off, some jobs are closing their doors, and others are leaving this country for cheap labor, just to keep their pockets fat. And the sad part of it all, they in turn send their cheap labor products back to this country, to sell to us poor unemployed Americans that they left.

As for the illegal aliens, ask yourself what would you do if you couldn’t make a decent wage in your country, and you know that miles to the north you could make more than you could at home. Would you go north, and wait, and wait, for all of the paper work to clear while your family needs are worsening? Am I condoning it, no. But as a family man with children, and I was in that position, I would go north. I would take my chances and apply for citizenship, later, and so would you. Like some Muslims, some illegals aren’t bad, they are good and decent people, looking for a better life for themselves and their families. I won't blame them for that.

If we try and work together, we can go back to being the most powerful and prosperous country in the world. It will take time and all of us, to make this country what it once was. The American people spoke at the ballot box, and it was loud and clear. Dan, if you don’t want to be a part of this change, stand back and let the people who do, get past you.

Future Resident of Wadley
Clyde D’Antignac

McDermott sees government's attempts as comical and dangerous

Dear Editor:

Watching congress and the president act out their daily kabuki theatre, America begins to understand that the inmates are running the asylum. Competence, leadership and common sense are nowhere to be found in this Keystone cops comedy. They can’t even identify the problem, let alone fix it. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic and dangerous. Bernie Madoff watches in awe and wonder as the greatest Ponzi scheme in history is perpetrated on the U.S. Treasury.

Dan McDermott


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