A southern Alberta woman who has been having trouble finding a buyer for her luxury home with a panoramic mountain view has turned to the power of the written word to help find a new owner. Alla Wagner has lived in her $1.7-million rural property in Millarville, just south of Calgary, ever since it was built in 2011.
Earlier this year, Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value.
After five months of no reasonable offers, she came up with the idea of offering her home as a prize in an essay writing contest.
For a $25 entry fee, 68,000 entrants can write a short piece on why they feel they would be the best new owner.
Wagner says under her contest rules, if a solid offer is made on the home before the end of January, the contest will be cancelled and all the entry money will be refunded.
If the contest does move ahead, Wagner plans to donate five per cent of the net profit from the entries to the Calgary Women’s Shelter.
“Just that one family that will end up in this house and make it into a home for themselves and be happy here, as happy as I have been, I know it’s going to be a beautiful story in the end,” she said.
Wagner said the idea for the essay contest came from a similar story in the United States that her daughter told her about in 2015.
“It was a historic inn. I did some research on it and that was (very) successful.”
Wagner suffered a fall in June 2018 that damaged some of her vertebrae. The accident left her in a lot of pain which did not go away.
Home-care nurses suggested upgrades to the house to make it easier for her to get around, but Wagner said she didn’t want to take anything away from its character and initially opted to list it.
“I view this home as a work of art and I don’t want to compromise it’s look and the value and craftsmanship that’s in this home.”
Contest entrants vying for a shot at the two-storey Georgian country-style home located near a pond must put their creative writing skills to the test, as they’re limited to just one page and 350 words.
Wagner admits reading more than 60,000 essay submissions is going to be difficult but adds she has “nothing to lose.”
“It would be a beautiful way for someone not giving up hope. I’m not going to give up hope. I believe that when this contest works, I know it’s going to be well worthwhile.”
Wagner’s contest can be found online at Write a Letter, Win a House.