This could be the most important 350 words you’ll ever write.
Well, that’s actually the maximum word count, so you could write even less, or you might even choose to write up a quick poem — either way, the letter you pen to Millarville, Alberta’s Alla Wagner could land you her $1.7 million house.
According to the Facebook page titled “Write a Letter, Win a House” that she set up in early January, Wagner realized that she would need to sell her home after an accident left her having a difficult time navigating the building’s stairs.
“We love our home and would never consider putting it on the market, especially in the current turmoil that Alberta is experiencing,” she wrote in the Facebook page’s About section.
“We had to list our house because of my poor health, which has been especially bad the last six months or so. Being confined to only one (upper) floor is becoming unbearable and it is taking a toll on my work and life in too many ways.”
She decided that, instead of selling it on the market, she would give her house away to the winner of a letter-writing contest.
Wagner was inspired by a 2015 contest that saw an inn in Maine being given away to the writer of a winning essay, as well as the movie The Spitfire Grill, a 1996 film wherein a young woman holds an essay contest to find a new owner for the titular restaurant.
“This contest has its challenges, yet it is, in my opinion, a most incredible way to find a truly exceptional reason to bestow your treasured home (not just for $$$ but for sentimental reasons) upon someone that can skillfully and creatively convey to me and a panel of judges how this spectacular home would change or improve his/her and their family’s life,” she wrote.
Entry to the contest is actually pretty straightforward. All Wagner wants you to do is send your story along with $25 to her at either her mailing address of PO BOX 74 MILLARVILLE AB, CANADA T0L 1K0, or online to her email at [email protected].
“You may choose the format — letter, essay, or simply a few paragraphs,” Wagner said in the contest’s description.
“The story should be about you and why you should win this contest.”
The money can be sent as an enclosed Canadian bank cheque, money order, bank draft, or an E-transfer to the trust account email address listed above.
Obviously, some people might be a little wary of sending their hard-earned $25 to a contest they read about online, but Wagner has stated that everyone will get their money back if a winner is not found, or if certain conditions are not met.
The conditions include there being enough entrances to reach a minimum amount of $1.7 million (the listing price of the house) — and at $25 per entry, that means that at least 68,000 people have to enter for the contest to move forward.
The contest will run for three months (ending April 5, 2019), though there will be a possible three-month extension if the number of entries is close to reaching 68,000.
It is also noted in the terms and conditions that the contest will be cancelled if the house is sold, the owners die, there are not enough entries, or any other force majeure — aka an “unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract,” according to Webster’s.
Wagner also asks that people to refrain from driving by the property, as it is a small community. There are more photos of the place on the Facebook page for those hoping to get a look at (what could be) their future home.
Only one entry is allowed per person or household, applicants must be over 18-years-old, Alla Wagner’s immediate or distant family is not allowed to enter, and the contest is not to be considered a lottery or promotion.
Compelling stories will be advanced to the semi-final stage, where a social media vote will determine 500 finalists.
Those finalists’ letters will be reviewed by a panel of judges who will ultimately choose and announce the new winner.
All entrants will need to provide their legal name and contact information in the event that they are the winner, or for their entrance fee to be returned to them if the contest is cancelled.
And no, you don’t have to be an Albertan to enter — though your country of residence may impact the type of taxes you’ll have to pay on the prize.
Best of luck!