Over the last couple of weeks we’ve noticed an uplift in interest in “win a house” competitions. The reason for this comes down to a guy called Marco Robinson who is giving away a £120,000 fully-furnished and mortgage-free three-bedroom apartment to a suitable individual or family. First up, this particular offer has closed (ended 2nd February) but you can read more about it at My Free Property.
Marco – who is now a millionaire – used to to sleep rough on park benches, according to reports, but now wants to give others a lucky break, which we think is a fantastic gesture. The process will be filmed to create a documentary for Channel 4. Over six weeks the eligible candidates will be wittled down before – hopefully – one lucky individual or family gets a brand new apartment. We’ll be keeping an eye on the TV series with interest.
However, whilst researching Marco’s venture, we were surprised to stumble across a brand new “Win A House” competition. The Westmorland Gazette report that Dustan Low has resorted to “organising an internet competition after failing to attract a buyer” – but where have we heard that before?
We actually heard it numerous times when compiling our Win a House Watch section several years ago. Back in 2008, a Devon propery, Oldborough Retreat, kick started the popularity of these competitions. Desperate sellers hoped that a competition would generate them more cash and more importantly “sell” their property. As was, not many of the competitions were successful – with The Gambling Commission stepping in a few times to close down some competitions and the rest just getting nowhere near enough interest or ticket sales. Whilst many failed, The Oldborough Retreat one did make it’s quota of entries.
Can Mr Low succeed, where so many have failed with his house competition, some nine years after Oldborough Retreat? Details of his competition can be found at Win A Country House! The entry fee is £2 which is pretty reasonable for the chance to win six-bedroomed Melling Manor near Kirkby Lonsdale, valued at over £800,000. The catch is that 500,000 tickets need to be sold before a buyer is found as the property is still being marketed by estate agents.
To keep onside with The Gambling Commission there’s a free entry route for this competition, but we’re wondering how free entries may skew the draw. Basically if you purchase a ticket you’re expecting odds of 500,000-1 to win, but if there are loads of free entries then your chances of winning are going to be reduced. Furthermore, it must be feasible for a free entry to win the house?
We suspect, given the track record of win a house competitions that these issues won’t effect Mr Low and that he will have to rely on more traditional selling methods. But we do wish him all the best though because we did enjoy keeping tabs of all the “me too” competitions that emerged back in 2008. If Mr Low is successful with Melling Manor then we could see the return of win a house competitions again.