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Winning a free house proves to be more of a hassle than a windfall for Colorado woman

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The Denver housing market has been gradually improving of late. But back east, the situation is considerably different, as Karen McHale has learned over the past year.

According to the Washington Post, McHale won a $1.2 million home in Edgewater, Maryland in a January raffle. A week later, she lost her job as a chemical engineer, but she still wanted to stay in Colorado -- and if she didn't unload the place by year's end, she'd be stuck paying $300,000 in taxes.

What to do? Discount, discount, discount. But even that didn't work.

In March, the Post says, McHale listed the property for $799,000. No bites -- so she dropped the price to $749,000. Some looky-loos, but zero offers. And while a couple of buyers showed interest after McHale's husband did some touch-ups in June, neither of the possible deals happened.

Eventually, McHale found a way to get rid of her prize, selling it to an area church for $650,000 -- although the actual price was less than that, since she donated another $200,000 back to the buyer to reduce the taxes she'd owe.

McHale hopes to make about $200,000 from the house once all is said and done -- a nice chunk of change, to be sure, but a far cry from the $1.2 million she thought would be coming her way.

Moral: Be careful when you enter a raffle -- because you might just win.

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