A London-based property consultant has launched a company that helps people to shift their homes via a raffle process.
Lara Buckler, 28, is starting the business with the sale of her own flat in Nunhead, South London.
Raffle entrants pay £2 for a ticket and when all the tickets have been sold the winner will pick up the deeds.
Buckler will use the same method to sell other people’s properties via her company houseagogo, which she launched with her property developer husband Chris.
Buckler bought the Nunhead flat at auction in 2014, paying £190,000.
After a refurbishment, she planned to sell it for a profit, but despite its modern look and Nunhead’s rising appeal, it proved difficult to shift.
“I put it on the market for £300,000 and had a lot of interest but no offers, so I dropped the price to £275,000 but it still wouldn’t sell,” she told the Daily Mail.
“So I was stuck in a situation where we couldn’t get the money out and didn’t want to rent it.”
She decided to sell the flat through a prize competition.
There are several rules governing raffle-style competitions, but Buckler, who has a law degree, spent six months with a solicitor’s firm that specialises in the field to figure out how it would work.
She said the main rule is there has to be an element of skill, so participants have to answer a question for their entry to have a chance of winning.
Through houseagogo vendors get a valuation and a free property survey. The vendor takes the property off the market and signs a contract stipulating they won’t try to sell it again during the four months while the competition tickets are sold.
The company uses some advertising, social media and word of mouth to sell the tickets.
For her own property, Buckler needs to sell 200,000 tickets and no one is allowed to buy more than 500. This will raise £400,000, of which she, as the owner, will pocket £300,000.
Three-quarters of the remaining £100,000 will pay for the winner’s stamp duty, council tax and six months of building insurance, plus a fee to cover the handling of tickets sales online.
Of the remaining £25,000, 10% will go to a local council project and 10% to a mental health charity.
The rest of the proceeds will be spent on marketing the next property on houseagogo’s list.
“It offers a far better chance than you get in the National Lottery,” claimed Buckler. “And for the seller, there are no estate agent or legal fees and no chance of gazumping.”
If all the tickets don’t sell, there will be a draw and the winner will get all the money raised.
DealMakerz thinks it’s an interesting idea, but there is a big risk of sellers losing out if the price is not correct.
It’s an essentially a form of gambling and a worrying sign of how difficult it is becoming to sell a property, even in desirable parts of the capital.
But we applaud Buckler’s entrepreneurial spirit and reckon there could be a fair few Londoners who will be attracted by the unique offer – not to mention the absence of hefty estate agent and legal fees.