(CBS) — How would you like to have somebody else make your mortgage payments for a year?

Almost 400 Chicago area homeowners have signed up for a chance to make it happen. CBS 2’s Mike Parker says you may be surprised when you learn what you’d have to do to collect.

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Jaime McRae is a single mom, a police radio dispatcher at the 911 center and an avid motorcyclist. Now she’s hoping for some good news.

Her two-story greystone in the West Side’s Lawndale neighborhood may become a wildly colored billboard for a west coast ad firm.  If her house in chosen, she’ll hit the mortgage jackpot.

“My mortgage is really high,” she says, “and I’ve tried refinancing, loan modifications, to no avail, so Brainiacs is my last resort.

Months ago, the company Brainiacs from Mars spotted a Buena Park California house with a foreclosure sign.

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“The light bulb just went off. We buy ads as a company all the time, so why don’t we pay this guy’s mortgage if he lets us paint ads on his house?” CEO Romeo Mendoza says.

The deal was cut, and then word got out. More than 40,000 U.S. homeowners said they wanted a similar deal, even if it means their homes will likely be painted in garish tones of orange and green, festooned with Brainiacs’ company logos.

Jaime is, of course, one of those thousands.

“I have my fingers crossed, so hopefully I get picked,” she says. “I’m praying that I get picked.”

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Mendoza, who is actually from Orange County, Calif., says his company plans to start considering applicants and making their decisions in January. The goal is to repaint 3,000 more houses with their ads and those zany colors.