It sounds like a win-win for all involved. Ticket buyers get a chance at a realty gold mine, homeowners unload property in a down market and a charity gets a slice of the pie. But be warned that this little adventure is not for the faint of heart or the ill-prepared.
Why? Because it's not simple or quick for the owner. And for the winner, well -- it's not precisely a $100 house. Closing costs, assessments, property taxes and income taxes: That's on you. And it's not chump change, particularly because the fair-market value of the house is what you'll have to report as taxable income to the feds:
That could bump you into a far higher tax bracket and cost you thousands of dollars come tax time.