A couple have decided to raffle off their £250,000 home and car for £2 a ticket to fund their dream of starting a new life in Australia.
Gemma and Anthony Reid are offering one lucky winner the chance to get a house for less than the price of a coffee.
A lucky winner could bag a swanky three-bedroom home and a 2010 VW Polo car worth around £5,000.
And if Gemma and Anthony’s plans work out they also stand to hit the jackpot – by making nearly £100,000 over the asking price for the property.
But it is an emotional journey for Gemma, 37, who was made redundant from her retail job in August 2020, and joiner Anthony, 38, an only child, as they moved into the house – which was co-owned with his mum, Winifred – in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 2018 after she passed from lung cancer, aged 63.
Still the couple, who have a son, Max, four, believe selling it will fund a better life in Brisbane, Queensland, near Gemma’s older brother, Mark, 50, who emigrated to Australia with his family several years ago.
Now awaiting approval for their visas, Gemma said: “Lockdown halted all house sales and when the restrictions were lifted, although there was interest in our property, there were also some silly offers made, including one for just £100,000 and the only serious buyer pulled out at the last minute.
“Then, when we used a company called The Down Under Group to help us with our visa applications, we saw that some families had successfully raffled their homes, so they could make the move.”
She added: “One family who live close to us here sold their house by raffling it in just six weeks, so we just looked at each other and thought, ‘Why not?”
When the couple, who had been living in rented accommodation, first moved into the quasi-semi detached house – which is one of four, with the centre two joined by a passage to the back garden – it was valued at just £140,000 and bringing it up to date was a labour of love.
Spending £30,000 on renovations, most of which Anthony did himself – although Gemma painted the interior while Max watched – they increased its value to £250,000.
Gemma, who hopes they will move early next year, said: “It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to emigrate to Australia and Anthony wants to move there, too.
‘We’ve been over several times and have travelled around, so we know we want to live in Brisbane, which is about a 2hr 20min flight away from my brother in Victoria.
“It’s a really vibrant place and sunnier than Victoria, so we really would be living the dream of a better life, although when we first get there we’ll stay with my brother for a month or so while we find our feet.”
With their visas in the pipeline, all they need now is to find a winner for their house which, for legal reasons, has to be raffled as the Grand Prize of a draw.
Participants can buy as many tickets as they like, but to enter, they have to answer the basic question – which animal comes from Australia?
The draw, which went live on September 7 and runs until January 31 2021, opened with a total of 200,000 tickets for sale and by the start of November, 34,054 had already been snapped up.
To make it possible, the couple first registered with a company called Raffall which is running the draw by taking the ticket money and generating the winner at the end.
If all the tickets sell it will generate £400,000 from which Raffall takes 10 per cent – or £40,000 – and the winner will be revealed during a Facebook Live event hosted by Gemma and Anthony.
The couple will then receive the rest of the money, some of which they will use to cover the winner’s house-buying legal fees.
But if tickets sales have reached 170,000, generating £340,000 but falling short of the target £400,000, then Gemma says they will still let the house go and accept reduced profits.
And if ticket sales are below 170,000, the winner will receive 75 per cent of the money generated, with the remaining 25 per cent being taken by Raffall. So, if only 100,000 tickets sold, the winner would get £150,000 and Raffall would take £50,000, with Gemma and Anthony keeping the house.
You can buy tickets here raffall.com/oakhouseraffle or on Facebook and Instagram @oakhouseraffle
“It was really scary when we went live,” continued Gemma, who has received mixed reactions to the raffle from family and friends.
She said: “Everyone’s been really supportive, but some people, including my brother, think we’re a bit bonkers for raffling our home.
“We think for the sake of buying a £2 ticket this is a proper win, win situation!
Now working full-time with two other people to promote ticket sales, in a bid to meet their targets, she is determined that they will hit the jackpot.
She said: “We are working really hard for every ticket sold, so we are really just hoping we can smash all these ticket sales, get a winner for this house and start our new lives in Australia.
“And it’s all thanks to Winifred, whose generous legacy is making it all possible.”