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Startup win-a-house website offers developers ‘third way’ to sell newbuilds

Former property professionals launch business that they say will succeed where other "sob story" prize competitions have failed.

NIgel Lewis


A ‘win-a-house’ competition firm has begun trading that claims to offer developers a ‘third way’ to sell homes in addition to direct sales and estate agents.

Win-Houses.com says it will initially run up to four prize competitions a year and claims they will appeal to renters who’ve given up hope of getting on the property ladder.

Ashford-based former developer Mark Lockhart and fellow director Lucy Summers set up the company in November last year and soft-launched their website six weeks ago.

They are offering those taking part in their first prize competition the chance to win a Turkish villa but they say their second will be a house in the South East of England.

Win-houses is funding the purchase of the first two properties to “get the ball rolling” and then hopes to persuade developers to offer them either off-plan opportunities, or properties that have been taken in part-exchange or are proving difficult to shift.

Lucy says they will not charge developers a commission to ‘sell’ the homes, but instead charge a fee to organise each competition on their behalf.

Sob stories

The model is different from the many other ‘win a house’ competitions that the pair  say are often “sob stories” of people attempting to extract themselves from difficult financial situations.

Lucy says their model is different because they only require between 30,000 and 80,000 people to buy a ticket for £5, which means they can offer better winning odds than previous attempts to crack this market.

Also, other house sale competitions either charge much higher ticket prices, or base their models on considerably larger ticket sales.

Win-homes is based on Australia’s popular and successful home lotteries sector. Websites such as EndavourLotteries.com.au in Oz shift dozens of properties a year this way, but as in the UK must be charities.

Few UK home competitions ever get further than a few thousand tickets sales which Lucy Summers says is because they have poor online payments systems, are badly marketed and are run by people with no property experience.

May 2, 2018

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