St. Jude at halfway mark for dream home tickets

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

BUY YOUR TICKET
You can buy tickets until June 27 at the house at 113 Midway Drive, by phone at (800) 456-8351 or online at www.stjudedreamhome.org. Last-minute buyers will be able to get tickets if they are available on Sunday by calling the phone hotline.

By Carlie Kollath
Daily Journal
TUPELO – The fundraisers for the St. Jude Dream Home are preparing for a last-minute push to hit their ticket sales goal before the June 28 giveaway.
Scott Hinshelwood, associate director for the fundraising arm of St. Jude, said sales of the 7,500 tickets are slower than he’d like.
“We’ve sold not quite half, but that makes the odds amazing,” said Hinshelwood, who also is a former St. Jude patient. “But whether they win the house or not, they are still helping St. Jude kids fight cancer.”
The $100 tickets buy a chance to win a $402,000 home in the Fairpark District in downtown Tupelo along with several other donated prizes. The money funds St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, which treats 200-250 children a day.
The house is open for free tours this weekend from noon to 5 p.m. Starting Monday, the hours are extended from noon to 9 p.m. until Saturday. People who tour the house can register for a $10,000 shopping spree at Room to Room Furniture.
Hinshelwood said about 2,000 people have toured the home so far, a lower figure than usual.
“Definitely the economy is affecting us a little,” he said. “But our point of view is the economy doesn’t stop cancer. Our Tupelo homes have always done well. I think people are waiting until the last minute to buy tickets.”
He said it’s not unusual to sell 2,000-4,000 tickets the week of the giveaway.
The winner of the house is responsible for paying taxes on it. The Lee County Tax Assessor’s office said the first year the property will be taxed as an unimproved lot, but the second year, city, county and school taxes will be about $5,000.
Sue Ellen Babb, a certified public accountant with Eaton, Babb and Smith in Ripley, said the amount of income tax will vary depending on the winner’s tax bracket and marital status.
Since the house value will be taxed as income, she estimated federal and state taxes will be 30 percent to 35 percent, or $120,000 to $140,000. She said if the winner doesn’t have cash to pay the taxes, he or she could get a mortgage to pay it.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.