It sounds almost too good to be true. Buy a raffle ticket for £10 (or a bundle for £25 -£150) and walk away with a house worth millions, with no stamp duty, mortgage or solicitors fees to pay.
And yet, it seems the Omaze Million Pound House Draw may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
In fact, as the Mail recently pointed out, of the 14 luxury properties that have been won just three are still lived in – 10 of them have been sold on while one is being rented out. But why?
Since Omaze started their ‘win:win’ property draw in 2020, which raises money for charities like Marie Curie and the RNLI, it appears that the winners would rather have the cash, which is indeed an option as stated in the terms and conditions.
One of the properties in question was a seven-bedroom Cornish mansion, won by 74-year-old widower June Smith back in May this year for just £25.
Just three months later she had listed the water-front home for sale to help her children and grandchildren with the ‘next chapter in their lives’.
June was given the freedom to either live in the house, rent it out or sell it, with local estate agents estimating it could achieve £5,000 to £7,000 per month from long-term rentals – and up to £14,000 a week from peak season holiday rentals.
June previously lived in her two-bedroom house detached house in Essex for the last 17 years and last stayed in Cornwall in a caravan with her late husband, Ron.
She said she ‘wanted to enjoy at least one family holiday’ in the property before selling it and she got her wish.
This sentiment was echoed by Omaze winner Marilyn Pratt, 70, who won the property draw in April 2021, bagging herself a £2.9 million Fulham home.
But just eight months later she sold it for £2.8 million, so she could use the cash to support her daughters and grandchildren. She remains in her two-bed home with her husband David where she has lived for the past 40 years.
But funding the lives of their loved ones isn’t the only motivation for abandoning their prize-draw homes. For one winner, Glen Elmy, it was a more fundamental issue.
The foundry worker from Walsall won a James Bond-esq property on the north Devon coast with views across Combe Martin Bay in October 2021 – but it turns out the win wasn’t the miracle Glen first thought.
After just three days Glen handed back the keys of Stealth House to Omaze and demanded a cash pay-out of £3 million.
Why? The five-bedroom home was being threatened by coastal erosion and neighbours even predict the property will succumb to it within the next five to ten years, according to MailOnline.
Other Omaze winners, Darren Wordon, 49, and wife Mandy, 48, won the top prize of a luxury £2.5million property in Radford near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, in 2021, but again there were some issues with the property.
Despite having celebrities like Jeremy Clarkson and the Beckhams as neighbours, other locals said the property was ‘built in a valley that floods every year’.
While the motivations are unknown, the property, known as Willowbrook House, was sold in December 2022.
The thought of losing not only money but also damage to the house was enough to deter Glen and other Omaze winners, while some have had concerns about finances.
Leicestershire winner Uttam Parmar, 58, put the Cornwall Rock property on the market just eight weeks after bagging the home for just £25 in the Omaze draw on August 12, 2022.
Mr Parmar told MailOnline he and wife Raki, 53, had to sell the Cornish home because the upkeep was too expensive for them.
‘We are selling it and not keeping it as a holiday home. If we could afford to keep it we would. It is beautiful. But we are looking to buy some land or a smaller property instead,’ Uttam said.
The property was put on the market for £4 million but was soon £500,000 cheaper after failing to appeal to buyers.
But who wouldn’t want to be neighbours with Gordon Ramsay? We’d sure bag that home if we had the cash!
Another Omaze home near Deal, Kent, called the Gunnery was ditched by the winning couple after they won it in autumn last year.
Jade and her partner (who chose to remain anonymous) described the win as ‘life-changing’ but less than four weeks after bagging the luxury home it was back on the market for a healthy £2.5 million.
But not every single winner wants to ditch their instant life of luxury. Construction worker Kevin Johnson is over the moon with his £3 million Omaze property in Islington.
For what particular reason? Apart from it being a gorgeous four-bed Victorian home, it’s just down the road from 34-year-old Kevin’s favourite football team, Arsenal.
For 33-year-old mum Becca Pott, who won a £3.9million five-bedroom Omaze house in February 2022, it was the lifestyle the win afforded her that made her keep the keys to the home.
She told MailOnline: ‘We always knew we were going to move in and enjoy it for at least that first summer, just to experience living in a place like this as a family.
‘But after a few weeks we realised we didn’t want to leave – so decided we should keep it.’
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