No, actually it’s a raffle!! The ‘raffling’ of homes has hit the headlines again following a recent case in Northern Ireland where a great deal of publicity was gained for an Irish club as they jumped on the Mrs Brown bandwagon by suggesting that participants could “win a feckin house”. 
Not our style at all, but it seems that there is a bit of a resurgence of this method of selling as there are currently 15 or so such raffles taking place across the UK. What’s more, there have been murmurings of a few hitherto traditional estate agents considering the addition of the raffle option to their choice for vendors. 
 
But what chance do those vendors have of achieving a successful price at the end of the event when the costs have been deducted? Well, there have been 30 raffles over the last few years and of these only one managed to run to a successful conclusion. Pretty amazing for the winner who is believed to have bought 20 of the £2 tickets and ended up with a property prize worth around £800,000 (and a title to boot), and reportedly successful enough to have provided a satisfactory price for the person actually selling the house. 
 
The remaining 29 raffles either had to close due to insufficient interest, were deemed to fall foul of gambling rules, or continued to the closing date with nowhere close to the minimum property asking price. In these latter cases, participants were offered a cash prize instead which amount to the takings minus expenses. In our opinion a whole lot of time and effort for no gain whatsoever, and still of course leaving the task of selling to be handled by more traditional means. 
 
The Gambling Commission have confirmed that, whilst raffling a property is feasible, it is something which must be understood right from the very beginning of the process. There are essentially just 2 options for a prize of such value – firstly a purely ‘luck of he draw’ type of event which would require an appropriate gambling licence and usually requires the organiser to own the property outright (mortgage free). Officially in such cases the raffle cannot be run for private gain and the prize should be worth less than £200,000 so quite limiting on many counts! Alternatively, a skill-based competition can be organised but here too there are restrictions on what can be said and done. 
 
So, with gambling regulations to keep within (if you want to avoid a fine or even a prison sentence), a fairly complicated and stressful set up – not to mention a nerve-racking wait to see if the target is reached - we think that raffling will not be appearing on the Strawberry menu of services in the foreseeable future!! 
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