Gaming for Homes

Perfect Place ContestDonna Kalman, president of the Perfect Place, wants to change the way homes are sold — by “giving” them away. Her company has been providing short-term furnished apartments to clients in South Florida for 20 years, and at the beginning of September, it began its first give-away contest, through the Perfect Place Contest, 

In a down market, instead of struggling to sell a home to one buyer, she hopes to get back the cost properties through the contests, by charging an entry fee of $1-$25 depending on the home . Homes are not given away until the cost or appraised property value of each home is reached through fees paid by contestants, thereby giving homeowners the base value of their homes.

The tremendous interest to list homes of homeowners, from every every state, has resulted in an improved and upgraded website, preparing  to be launched. will now categorize states and properties, parcels of land and businesses. Players will be able to use the website almost as if it were a multiple listing real estate site. The properties may be listed by a Realtor or the home owner. The players will have a huge varied choice of what prize they wish to play for.

The competitions were set to end 30 days after the September 1st start-date, but Kalman has extended the contests to because the property values weren’t reached through the entries. She said she also lowered the contest entry fees in response to feedback from players, who wanted more opportunities to play.

Eric Weldon of Menu Realty, whose client owns the Q Club property, said that if owners attempted to sell a property through a bank, it could likely sell the property at a loss. The contest is an effort for owners to gain the full value for their homes.

“It’s not about the sellers making a profit in a down market. It’s about breaking even. They need to sell for x-amount of money to pay off a mortgage,” said Weldon.

If the homes are not given away in the given time period, the top three competitors will win American Express Gift Cards  depending on the number of entries. The owners will then be free to sell the homes traditionally, but Kalman seems willing to extend the contests further, as she expects it to take at least a few months before homes are successfully given away.

This isn’t the first home giveaway contest that has taken place.

A New York Times article described the growing popularity of real estate games, where homes are raffled off and given away. Setting up such contests of chance can be difficult, because many state regulations do not allow the use of raffles unless the owner is partnered with a non-profit organization, in addition to owners not making more than the appraised value of their homes.

Because the Perfect Place Contest chooses winners based on skill, it has greater leeway. The Office of the Florida Attorney General stated that according to Florida’s gambling laws, contests of skill are legal as long as all rules are disclosed.

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