If you have a way with words but no desire to own an inn in Maine (or if you just missed that deadline), we’re here to tell you about another write-your-way-to-real-estate contest in the works. But this one also requires an affinity for goats.
Leslie and Paul Spell’s Humble Heart Farm in Elkmont, Ala., is thriving. But the couple has plans to move to Costa Rica and help missionaries there start their own goat farms. Before they go, they need to find someone with the right stuff to take over their 20-acre property, which comes with 85 goats.
Initially, they listed their farm for $350,000. The Spells received a few offers, but most of the people who were interested couldn’t afford the down payment.
"Debt is one of the worst things you can have as a farmer," Paul Spell told WAAY-TV.
Inspired by the Maine bed and breakfast mentioned above, the Spells decided to host a contest of their own to find the next residents of Humble Heart Farm.
"We are actually really excited about it, we're looking forward to seeing the amount of people who would be interested," Leslie Spell said.
As was the case in Maine, the Spells will, ideally, still receive their asking price by spreading the cost of the property out over many applicants. Each entry costs $150. If they get their expected 2,500 entries—any fewer and all fees will be returned—the total they earn will not only cover the remainder of the mortgage but also provide the winner with $20,000 to help cover startup costs. After all, the Spells aren't just looking to unload their property—they're looking for someone to inherit the business and help it prosper. (For what it's worth, they also plan to teach the winner how to make their secret goat cheese recipe, which already has a loyal following.)
"They can pick it up and start running and I am so excited to see where they take it," Leslie says.
If you're interested (and are 19 years of age or older), you have from now until October 1 to send a check for $150 and 200 words on the topic of "Why I, or my organization, is the perfect fit to continue the farmstead goat cheese tradition." The Spells will then select their 20 favorite essays to hand over to a panel of three independent judges. After that, you'd better be ready to run a goat farm.
A winner will be announced by October 15, 2015. Ownership will be transferred by November 1 and training for how to run the farm and make the cheese will take place over the following two weeks. "No training will be provided after November 15, 2015, due to the milking schedule of the goats," the contest rules explain.
You can read the full rules and download an entry form here.