The pitch is simple: “This is the opportunity to have the home you always dreamed of – for only €5!” Without hidden charges or fees. A dream house, completely refurbished, with 193 square meters of space. Two bedrooms, a bathroom, a storage room, basement, living room, dining room, kitchen and two terraces. It is in the middle of Alcalà de Xivert in Castellón, and just five minutes from the beach and the mountain. It sits at the foot of the Serra d’Irta natural park and next door to the tourist town Peñìscola.
There are 70,000 raffle tickets and if all are sold the owner of the house will walk away with €350,000
For €5 anyone can have the chance to live in this single-family home. And all thanks to LotoHome, a pioneering business in Spain dedicated to raffling off properties. There are 70,000 raffle tickets and if all are sold the owner of the house Elisabeth Bosh will walk away with €350,000. The name of the winner will be announced in a year on February 14, 2019. In two weeks, 500 tickets have been sold, “the last 75 yesterday in just one night,” Pepe Bolumar, the manager of LotoHome, told EL PAÍS.
It was Bolumar’s own experience that inspired LotoHome. He raffled off his grandmother’s house in Segorbe in Castellón in 2014. “We are a big family and we needed to sell our home and buy a bigger one. But it was tricky because of how the property market was at that time. We thought that raffling it off would be a good formula, as well as being a way to launch this novel business and showing that it can work, that it can be a profitable business.”
They managed to sell 32,000 of the 40,000 raffle tickets at €10 each. People from across Spain bought tickets, as well as punters from Africa, Latin America and countries as far afield as Russia and Canada. The winning number was 42916. But despite reaching out to the winner on various platforms – from Valencian buses to an online media campaign – a year passed and no one claimed the number.
The house remains in the hands of its old owners, who invested the money from the first raffle to start LotoHome.
I know it seems crazy but I’m raffling off my house Home owner Elisabeth Bosch
They had the idea and the tools to get it off the ground: an architect sister who assessed the viability of what projects could be raffled off, and the IT support of their father’s business, which is now run by Bolumar. They lacked administrative support so they began to travel between their home in Valencia and Madrid. A lot of research and multiple meetings with the Housing and Finance ministries were needed to make sure LotoHomes complied with the law. Once “completely legal,” the business set about launching its first raffle for a client in their outer family circle. Now their dream is to get a foot in “important” cities like Madrid and Barcelona “but always carefully, choosing well.”
Elisabeth Bosh bought a ticket to the first raffle of the house in Segorbe. After moving to Pamplona for work three years ago, she realized she didn’t enjoy her beach house like before and wanted to sell it.
“She liked the initiative and the idea of doing something similar to what we promoted in Sergobe had stayed with her,” explains Bolumar. “She put her house up for sale and although there were people interested, the bank asked the buyer for 20% in cash upfront and it was difficult to provide this amount of money. She contacted us and we began to handle it. We conducted a viability study, we saw the location was stupendous, that the house had possibilities and here we are.”
“I know it seems crazy but I’m raffling my house,” said Elisabeth Bosch on the website created for the raffle, which includes detailed information on the house, the area, and the conditions and legal terms of the raffle.
LotoHome charges for designing a project’s personalized website, consultancy services, calculating the tributary costs and managing the communication and publicity of the raffle. The winner takes home the house, and costs associated with changing the name of the deed are covered by the owner.
The raffle of the beach house at the feet of the Serra d’Irta will take place “independently of the tickets sold,” but the team hopes to shift 70,000. It’s a reasonable goal since they’ve polished their strategy and began working with PayPal – meaning anyone can buy a ticket no matter where they are, which was not the case in the Segorbe lotto. The lucky winner will be announced within one year on February 14, 2019 – “ a nice date” to win a house for €5.
English version by Melissa Kitson.