Raffle winners selling a dream house that just isn't for them


January 15, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Evening Sun Staff

The house is beautiful. The house is a dream come true.

But the dream is being sold.

"It is the most adorable house," said Sharon Gilwee. "It has everything in there. It has new wallpaper, paint, new appliances. The closets have organizers, and so does the garage. A lot of people put a lot of work into making it a great house.

"Whenever I go there, I get excited. Then I get depressed," Gilwee added.

The conflict grows out of a decision by Gilwee and her husband not to move to the $200,000 house that Robert Gilwee won last October in a raffle held to benefit the homeless.

The Gilwees, who took possession of the property last Friday have instead decided to sell the two-story, three-bedroom house.

Gilwee purchased the winning raffle ticket, and nine others, after hearing Louis Grasmick, chairman of the House With A Heart fund-raiser, talk about the plight of the homeless. Then she sold the winning ticket to her husband.

The Gilwees have lived in Phoenix for 10 years. Sharon Gilwee is an assistant principal at nearby Sparks Elementary School. Robert Gilwee has an accounting office in Towson. Neither wants to commute more than an hour from Odenton to their jobs. And their two daughters, ages 5 and 4, are happy in their existing schools.

"We've always wanted a house like this," Sharon Gilwee said. "But we both work in the [Phoenix] area, and we really like it here.

"We'd love to be able to just take the house and move it up here. It's really quite heartbreaking when you think about it," she added.

Instead, the Gilwees are hopeful they will be able use some of the proceeds from the sale of the Odenton property to finally build an addition to their ranch-style home. Perhaps they can incorporate some of the features of the house they won, Gilwee said.

Even the Gilwees' 5-year-old daughter, who initially refused to go look at the house because she was so fearful of moving from Phoenix, has taken a liking to it, Gilwee said. However, she still has no desire to move, Gilwee added.

The family does plan to take sleeping bags and spend one night in their prize.

The house was built by the Ryland Group in the new Seven Oaks development near Fort Meade. The land was donated by the developer of Seven Oaks. Other companies donated landscaping services, appliances, carpeting, and various amenities.

Deciding to sell the house has proven to be challenging, Gilwee said.

"We're so fortunate my husband is a tax consultant," Gilwee said. "Most people don't understand the ramifications of winning something like this. Even though we're not going to keep the house, we still have to pay taxes on it. We still have to pay settlement costs." She did not disclose the costs.

"It has been interesting, though. No one's ever had to do a settlement quite like this," she added.

Even though the Gilwees have decided not to keep their newly won house, Gilwee said just winning has proved to be exciting.

"We have people calling us just to say congratulations," Gilwee said. "Most people don't know anyone who's won anything, especially a house."

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