Loquax has been following win a house competitions - also known as house raffles - since they first launched in 2008. In that time we've seen over 100 different promotions come and go. Some have been successful and created new home winners whilst others have struggled to conclude. Here we give you our definitive Frequent Asked Questions about these kind of promotions.
In short it's a promotion where a property company or home owner decides to give away a house, apartment or villa as a prize. Entrants are required to pay to enter and for the property to be awarded as a prize then a certain number of tickets need to be sold. In some cases, such as Omaze, the prize is guaranteed to be won regardless of ticket sales.
Many of these promotions are set up like raffles. Entrants purchase tickets and there's usually a fixed number of tickets available. However by requiring entrants a "skill question" (the level of skill is in itself questionable) the promotion can be described as a "prize competition". In our view this is a grey area and it wouldn't surprise us to see The UK Gambling Commission revise their rulings on raffles in the future.
We'd like to hope that all promoters go into the process with genuine intentions to giveaway their property. However there have been issues with some competitions that have tarnished their reputation. Win A Mega Home for example took £750,000 in ticket sales but only paid out £110,000 to the winner. The likes of Omaze have helped change public perception of win a house prize draws, but sadly there are still issues. Recently (August 2023) Win My Home in Nottingham paid out just £5000 to their winner. They failed to sell enough tickets to giveaway a £2million home and apparently spent all the ticket revenue on marketing!
In short no they are not. Not in the same way that bingo, casino and sportsbook sites are regulated. The UK Gambling Commission do investigate non-compliant competitions whilst ASA look into deviations from the CAP code. However quite often these won't change things for an entrant that's paid to enter a competition that's broken the rules.
Some house competitions will allow you to enter for free. Details are usually in the terms and conditions. To enter you will normally have to send a postcard with your details. Not all house competitions offer a NPN entry route.
Over the years celebrities have gotten involved with these kind of competitions. Omaze, Raffle House (Sara Damergi), Win My Dream Home (Denise Van Outen) and Dream Home Prize Draw (Amy Hart) have all had celeb endorsements. Eddie Jordan was invloved with the failed Win A Property competition whilst Mr Motivator tried unsuccessfully to raffle his Jamaican Home. Dancers Hill House featured as Chuckle Manor whilst Fred Dibnah's old home was also offered as a prize.
Yes! The success rate though has been quite poor. In fact it's taken until 2020 to see multiple house competitions that have concluded successfully. These competitions were all relatively cheap to enter and concluded within just a few weeks after launching. You can see which properties have been won here
In 2009 Oldborough Retreat was the first win a house competition to complete. The winner was Christoph Jaeger from Hamburg, Germany. When house raffles came back to the fore in 2017, Marie Seager from Warrington became the winner of the six-bedroomed Melling Manor in Lancashire.
If a competition concludes and insufficient tickets have been sold to award the house then usually a cash prize alternative is offered. This amount is typically calculated as the amount of ticket sales minus costs of admin and promotion. Some promotions will also offer a chartiable donation. Several winners have received over £100,000 cash! However in some cases entrants may get refunds.
In June 2020, Dale Tate became the first person to offer a property as a prize on the Raffall platform. Raffall lets users set up their own competitions but they faciliate the sales and legal side of the process. They take a commission based on ticket sales. If the property isn't won then a 75% cash amount is awarded. The promoter gets nothing in this case!
If you're thinking of running your own win a house giveaway then we suggest you read our guide first and then the suggested links. Raffling your property is not a simple process and not one you should enter into lightly. It involves a lot of time, marketing and stress. We strongly advise chatting with other house raffle promoters for their hints and tips.
We have been asked numerous times to run house competitions for people we've never ever met. However running these kind of promotions is something we don't do. We are happy to chat with anyone about house competitions but are unable to offer legal advice or undertake the process for you.