Steamboat Springs For $200 and a good story, you can pick up a nice home in Steamboat Springs.
Sound like a scam?
Nope, it's the real thing, says homeowner Michael O'Carroll.
"It's not a scam, we're just trying to get the house sold so we can move closer to our family," O'Carroll said.
O'Carroll and his wife, Mara, are holding an essay contest. For $200, you can submit an essay with 100 words or less on why you deserve to win the home located in one of Steamboat's nicer neighborhoods.
"We're looking for creativity and originality. It doesn't necessarily have to be a sob story," O'Carroll said.
O'Carroll and his wife say it will take 2,200 entries to make the contest worth their while.
"We need to at least get the market value of the house," Mara O'Carroll said. "If we don't get 2,200 entries, we'll return the money."
A Denver-area Internet firm has developed a contest Web site for the O'Carrolls.
"(The house) was appraised at $500,000, and homes in their neighborhood are selling for a lot more than that," said Ryan McAnally, president of RMAC Enterprises, the Web site designers.
"We did a lot of research with lawyers to make sure doing this sort of contest selling a house for $200 was legal," McAnally said.
For information about the essay contest or to see the house, go to: www.steamboathome...
or send in your entry to: Steamboat Home Contest, PMB 178 1625 Midvalley Drive #1 Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 Include your name, city, state, zip code and phone number. Essays must be 100 words or less.
The O'Carrolls said they thought it would be interesting to sell the house through this contest. But more important, it was a great opportunity for working-class people such as themselves.
"With the rising prices of the market in Steamboat, it's so hard for a family to afford a home," Mara O'Carroll said. "We thought it would give one person an inexpensive way to get a home in Steamboat."
Mara O'Carroll has worked at the ski resort for 10 years, while her husband has driven for Alpine Taxi and painted homes during the summer.
"We both have aging parents in Louisiana and our daughter is in Alabama," Michael said. "Our children are grown, and we have more room than we need," his wife added.
The O'Carrolls built their 3,100-square-foot home in 1998. The home is the second half of a duplex at 1850 Bear Drive and is just minutes from the ski base.
As for the contest, the O'Carrolls and McAnally assure folks that an independent panel will be judging.
"It will be very discreet," McAnally said. "No one will know who's writing the essays."
They hope to recruit a teacher and members of the clergy to judge the contest.
The contest requires a certified check or money order along with the entry, but no checks will be cashed until there are enough entries.
"If enough entries aren't received by Oct. 23, we can extend the contest or cancel it," McAnally said.
It's still up in the air if the O'Carrolls will have enough contestants. McAnally's company has just started marketing the contest.
"We need people to know it's not a scam. Everything's legal about it," McAnally said. "Whoever writes the best essay can purchase the home for $200."
"It's really affordable housing," Mara said.
To reach Frances Hohl call 871-4208