After 18 years in their house, Tim and Maggie Lott are holding an essay contest for their 3,100 square foot 1870’s Victorian home, known as the Summerland Farm Essay Contest.
Under New York State law, selling property in this manner is considered a game of skill. The family consulted with real estate attorneys to assure a fair and legal process.
Maggie said they tried selling their house in the past in a conventional manner, through real estate, but the offers did not work out. The family wanted to give a chance for someone else to make the place their own, mortgage free.
“This is a blank slate for somebody, it’s an income producing property that’s ready to go, it can support them for the rest of their lives if they do it right because they’re coming in debt free,” Maggie said.
Three objective and independent judges will review essay entries. The Lotts will not have access to the essays during the contest.
- Entry fee of $150.
- Essay length of 500 to 1,000 words
- Theme: What owning a five-acre farm property would mean to an applicant and his or her family.
- Deadline: July 1, 2019.
The property value currently sits at about $175,000. The essay contest requires at least 2,500 entries, bringing in about $375,000 for the Lott family to pay for fees related to hosting the contest.
If the number of applicants reaches the threshold, refunds will not be given. But, if they do not meet that minimum, applicants will be reimbursed for their entry fees.
“We’ve been self-employed most of our lives and done what we’ve needed to do to care for our family,” Maggie said. “We don’t have the 401(k)s, we don’t have the retirement, we don’t have the investments, it was all about this place.”
Despite the difficulty of leaving a home where they raised their two children, the Lott family felt it is time to move on.
“It’s my home, it’s the last place that I have memories of my parents, it’s the only home my kids have ever known, this is not easy to let this go,” Maggie said. “But we have outgrown the property, we have dreams, my husband experienced some health issues last year and we want something different and this is the vehicle for it.”
The grand prize consists of the 1870s Victorian house with a mother-in-law suite on the second floor. There is also a horse ready farm with five acres of land. The first place winner will also receive $10,000.
All appliances will stay in the apartment and the main house along with the tractor for the farm.
The second place winner will receive $1,000 and third place will receive $500.
Contest participants, or those considering, are not allowed to knock on the door of the house. Disqualification may ensue due to an unfair benefit.
Maggie will live stream, share in the moment photos and answer questions about the house on a private Facebook group for those contest participants.
In the meantime, questions can be answered through the general Facebook page.
For more details about the house and the contest, click here.
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Video tour of the house.