The $50 House

$50 House

Last week Wall Street titans were called on the carpet and demonized in congressional hearings.

But if you're angry at the economic meltdown and looking to place blame, experts say don't forget the homeowners, people who borrowed money for real estate and later found themselves unable to pay their mortgages.

In an affluent suburb near Annapolis, Md., Tom and Dianne Walters are on the brink. In a "20/20" interview with Elizabeth Vargas, Tom explained that the cost of renovating the house snowballed out of control.

The Walters have poured $1.1 million into their dream home. That's every dime they have, and now they can no longer afford it.

"The sleepless nights. The 'what do we do now' kind of thing. That was definitely there," Tom said.

For Sale SignPlay

"You wake up in the middle of the night thinking about everything," he said. "Thinking about, 'What's it gonna take? Should we have just put this on the market and sold it?' And the flip side being, 'OK, what can we do to stay here?' Everything goes through your mind at 3 o'clock in the morning."

The Walters blame no one but themselves for their situation. Unable to refinance their home and facing the difficulty of selling it at a time when potential buyers can't get credit, the Walters tried something unusual, and desperate; they're holding a raffle. Fifty dollars buys a chance to win the million-dollar house.

The Walters told "20/20" that under Maryland law, they had to work through an established charity to hold the raffle. "We write a contract with a charity for them to actually purchase the home," Tom said.

They hope to sell a minimum of 31,500 tickets, which would allow the Walters to cover the house's appraised value, a $10,000 second prize, and earnings for the charity, We Care and Friends.

More information on the Walters' million-dollar house can be found at