Since ‘Win A Country House’ launched in February 2017, around 30 other home competitions have opened and concluded. A further 20 are ongoing! Despite the number of competitions, only one – the first one – has actually given away a house between 2017/18. Since our last round-up there’s been a few more noteworthy events in the world of house raffles, so here are our observations.
Raffle My House Refunds
Raffle My House were offering a £315,000 extended three bedroom, detached, bungalow in Halesowen as their prize. This competition concluded at the end of July but insufficient tickets were sold. Usually at this point a cash prize winner is announced, but RMH have taken a different approach. They’re refunding tickets because they are “not being able to offer a cash prize because the ASA recently found a similar competition which gave away a cash prize breached the Cap Code Edition 12 8.2 & 8.15.1”.
We believe RMH are referring to the ruling upheld against Homeraffler.com. Having scanned through this ruling it would seem that all home competitions that dish out a cash alternative are in breach of these rules. Anyway, if you bought tickets for Raffle My House then you may already have been refunded. However, there are contact details on the website should you need to chase them up.
Rightmove Of Home Competitions
This week we spotted an article about a new property portal that lists home competitions all in one place. We have no issues with that, but were bemused by a line suggesting “nothing like this has ever been done before”. It’s just not true! Loquax started listing win a house competitions in October 2008. We still have references to all the competitions that took place at that time. However, we didn’t own that space – a site called winahouse.net actually had a dedicated portal to the genre of comps – and they featured home competitions from around the world.
Sadly winahouse.net closed down when the trend passed. Now we like the idea of a dedicated site, but do question whether interested participants will really search for possible competitions based on number of bedrooms ala an estate agent! At the moment we’re not convinced that The UK is keen on house raffles and judging by recent events, some operators probably aren’t either!
Win A Property
A home in the Isle of Man was the prize in the Win A Property Competition. It closed at the end of May and a cash prize was awarded. However, a few weeks after we received an invitiation to a private Facebook group that was discussing the competition. Apparently some people weren’t happy with the result because the winner wasn’t drawn as described in the terms and conditions.
The admin of that FB group turned down our request to join. Given some of the comments and attitudes demonstrated in our own comments section (here) that wasn’t a loss. Thankfully some folk were reasonable and put their views across in an adult manner.
We took the time to contact the owner of the property and found her to be more than willing to answer and explain things from her side. In conclusion we felt that the issue was down to one or two with some serious sour grapes. They wanted to pick elements of the terms and conditions that were appropriate to their argument but ignore the ones that negated their points.
Win A Georgian Home
This competition ended on the 25th July and didn’t reach it’s desired conclusion. However, the competition did pull in almost £100,000 in ticket sales. This saw donations of £9500 going to two charities and a £50,000 cash prize being awarded to Anne from Plymouth. Some entrants felt the winner picking was questionable as was the location of the winner. However, some were also interested in where the remaining cash went.
All home competitions carry a clause which sees a portion of the prize fund (if a cash prize is awarded) going to admin costs. The owner very kindly, and very transparently, listed where the money went. If you’re considering running a house raffle – read this thread first.
Amongst the costs are £18,000 on ticket admin fees! Other costs include photographers, videographer, website design, social media management and newsletter hosting. Some of these costs could potentially be reduced (e.g. do your own photos, build your own site, charge admin fees on top of the ticket price), but the owner has ended up with a reported £3500 loss.
Good News For Home Competitions
It’s not all doom and gloom for home competitions. Raffle House launched in April 2018 and has a flat in Brixton as their prize. We’re not sure how far along they are with respect to selling tickets, but they have been successful with crowd funding. A recent Seedr campaign has seen Raffle House raise almost £270,000 for 10% equity. Based on that they’re probably now the most successful win a house company ever!
Raffle House aim to be the first “single property prize competition company to award a property as a prize”. Sorry guys, but we can tell you that Win A London Pad did that back in 2009. They were trying to offload £8million of serviced apartments in London. We believe they gave away just the one.
Despite the results of other competitions and the social media sagas that have followed, there are still home owners who believe that running a competition is the best way to sell their home. Dancers Hill House hit the house raffle spotlight following the sad death of Barry Chuckle. The home that’s the prize featured as Chuckle Manor in the brothers’ TV series! Dancers Hill is joined by Burton Hall in Cheshire. Not to be outdone, this property has been seen in The Forsthye Saga!
Missing In Action
Out of all the house competitions we’ve featured since 2017, only one has gone ‘missing in action’ and that’s Reves House. The prize was a New England style property worth £3.5million based in Caversham. Tickets cost £25 and the closing date was March 2018. Since then though the websites and social media pages have been closed. Details about the competition are limited.
The only information we had was from their Facebook page. Apparently there was a family emergency and this was taking up their time. The owners did appear in a Metro article saying they’d not sold enough tickets and that “they will instead hand out a cash prize amounting to three quarters of the proceeds”. If anyone can shed any light on the final result that’d be great.
A Mixed Bag
This round up is a mixed bag for home competitions. There’s obviously interest from investors in the model but that’s no good if the customers aren’t interested. To date, since 2017 only one win a house competition has completed. As far as we’re aware, only three competitions since 2008 have completed. Those kind of stats obviously don’t raise a red flag in some quarters. Yes, the cash prizes are nice but surely the aim is to give the property as a prize?
If the lack of completed competitions doesn’t worry folk, then the outcomes of Raffle My House and Win A Georgian Home should do. We’re not sure what ASA could do to enforce refunds over a cash prize. Mind it wouldn’t come as a surprise if The UKGC put in clauses that “if no property prize then all funds must be given back”. If that did occur then that would probably put an end to these competitions. The last thing organisers want is to be spending money to promote a competition where they then have to give all the money back. That could leave bigger debts than if they concluded like Win A Georgian Home.
Loquax first started following win a house competitions in 2008. We collated information on all competitions and were the first site to do so. In 2017, we started the process again but provided more details for visitors. This included locations, costs, and relevant social media links. We also checked out the terms and highlighted any issues. To date we’ve featured over 80 such competitions and of those just 3 have completed. Listings are free, although we will affiliate if the opportunity arises.
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