An £845,000 manor house in Lancashire that was being raffled for £2 a ticket has a new owner.
Dunstan Low had failed to sell the six-bedroom Georgian manor house on the open market and so decided to raffle it off instead, in a last ditch attempt to avoid repossession.
Finance worker Marie Segar from Warrington, an hour and a half drive from Melling Manor, won the home after buying £40-worth of tickets.
“I don’t have a plan, I entered and I never thought for a moment…you know I haven’t even told anybody! Thank you so much!” Ms Segar said to Mr Low, on being informed that she had won the house, according to the Blackpool Gazette. She also asked “Is this a wind up?”
Ms Segar also wins the title of Lady Melling, donated by charity St John’s Hospice, who previously owned the title, after Mr Low announced his intention to donate £30,000 of the raffle money to the charity.
The draw was decided on Tuesday, August 15 by random number generator on an independent mobile phone and was overseen by solicitors and an independent adjudicator.
Mr Low’s goal was to sell 500,000 £2 tickets in order to cover the cost of the house and other costs.
He has raised £890,000 in paid for entries so far, as well as racking up 12,000 free entries, with people entering from as far away as New Zealand.
Mr Low bought the former hotel in the east wing of Georgian Melling Manor for £435,000 in 2011 as a family home for him, his wife Natasha and their two sons, Dylan, 16 and Ozzy, five. After spending £150,000 on renovations the family ran into financial difficulties.
Three years later, the couple put the house on the market for £800,000, but didn’t attract a single offer in six months and rented out the property.
In December 2016, Mr Low tried to sell the house again, this time for £845,000, but again there was little interest from buyers, even when he dropped the asking price to £500,000.
Mr Low initially kept the house on the market alongside the raffle but took it down in mid-February following a surge in raffle ticket sales. “Selling by traditional means would have felt like a disservice to our entrants at that point and certainly not the best outcome,” he says.
This was not the first attempt to shift a hard to sell property via a competition in an uncertain market. After the 2008 property crash there was a spate of property raffles and several homeowners have attempted to get rid of hard to sell properties since Mr Low’s project hit the headlines.
A woman in Blackheath is raffling her £1.25 million home after struggling to pay the mortgage. Greenwich council halted the raffle briefly when they feared it may breach Gambling Commission rules but it has since been reinstated.
A £1 million Knightsbridge flat is also up for grabs in a £5-a-ticket raffle and a hatmaker is selling her four-bedroom cottage near Bristol, which has been on the market for a year through a £2-a-ticket raffle.
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