First House Lottery in Prince George's County

Gale Horton Gay | 5/9/2012, 11:15 a.m.

Buying a house at a bargain price may be as easy as the luck of a draw for one fortunate individual or family.

The Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) plans to launch its first house lottery, in which one winner and two back-up winners will be drawn from a pool of pre-qualified applicants.

Once a mortgage is obtained, the winner will be able to purchase a home for a substantially reduced price. The 2,000-square-foot, four-plus bedroom, two-bath home is located in Lanham, Md., and is priced at $190,000. However, housing department officials said the appraised value of the residence is $260,000. DHCD is also covering a 5 percent down payment and closing costs.

The lottery is part of DHCD's "Welcome Home! Achieve and Protect Your Dream" housing fair which takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 9 at the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Road in Landover. The winner of the house lottery will be announced at the fair. Applicants must be first-time home buyers and also must be present to win.

Alexis Revis Yeoman, public information officer for DHCD, said the lottery is a way to attract people to the housing fair. The fair had been an annual event for three to four years until 2007 when it was discontinued until this year.

"It's like a one-stop shop ... anything having to do with housing," Yeoman said. "There's something there for everyone."

Workshops and seminars will be a part of the fair with mortgage lenders, bankers, housing counselors, rental property managers, real estate agents and attorneys as well as home developers in attendance. Among topics expected to be covered are:

* Finding affordable housing

* Managing money and credit

* Avoiding housing scams

* Foreclosure prevention

* Financial literacy

The split-level, single family home, which has a basement, rear porch, paved patio and off-street parking, is located near Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Thomas Johnson Middle School and James McHenry Elementary School. It has been "totally and fully renovated," said Yeoman, adding that it is also fenced and landscaped. She also describes it as "totally green" with energy efficient windows, doors and appliances. Utility costs are expected to be less than $200 a month for a family of four.

Yeoman said county officials hope the lottery will entice those in the market for a house to "find out how Prince George's County is such a great place to live, work and visit."

The home is available for a walk-through by appointment beginning June 4.

Should the winner be unable to obtain a mortgage, a back-up winner will be given the opportunity.

To download an application for the lottery or to get more information, visit http://www.princegeorgescountyha.org%20or call 301-883-7321. Application deadline is May 18.