Now's the time to put the writing skills you learned in English class to good use. A Canadian woman from Millarville, Alberta has put her house on the market, and instead of asking for its $1.3 million value, she's holding an essay contest to find a new owner, the BBC reports.
While Alla Wagner describes the three-bedroom mansion as her "dream home" and a "writer's or artist's paradise" in a Facebook post, she writes that she's giving it up due to her declining health. She initially tried to sell the property the conventional way, and when that didn't work, she came up with a more creative plan.
For an entry fee of $19, anyone can submit an essay for a chance to win the house. The letter should answer the question "Why would moving to this lakefront dream home change your life?" and be 350 words or less. After submissions are narrowed down to the most compelling stories, they will be posted on social media where the public will pick the last 500 finalists. Finally, this pool will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges tasked with deciding a winner.
The prize is a deed to the 5000-square-foot house, which has a library, wine cellar, and a wraparound porch with views of the surrounding lake and mountains. The once-in-a-lifetime deal does come with a small catch: Wagner will only move forward with the contest if she receives enough entry fees to match the $1.3 million value of the home. If she doesn't raise that money by the time submissions are set to close in April, she will extend the submission window by up to three months, and if the money still hasn't been raised in that time, she will cancel the contest and refund essayists back their $19.
Wagner says her search for the right owner is inspired by a similar essay competition held by the owner of the Center Lovell Inn in Maine in 2015. That contest, however, required a submission fee that was five times what Wagner is asking for and it was to win a property valued at $400,000 less.