“Omaze Winners’ Properties: From ‘Win:Win’ to ‘Win:Sell’ – The Fate of 14 Dream Mansions Revealed”
In 2020, Omaze introduced a groundbreaking prize draw in the UK, offering the chance to win luxurious mansions while raising funds for charities. However, a recent investigation by MailOnline has uncovered that the reality of these prize-winning properties often diverges from the initial promise.
MailOnline’s in-depth exploration of the mansions won through Omaze’s raffles reveals that out of the 14 grand properties awarded, only three are currently inhabited by the original winners. Surprisingly, most of these impressive residences remain unoccupied. Some owners have chosen to sell their newly acquired properties, while others have listed them for sale. In an intriguing twist, one mansion is retained by its winners but is rented out to affluent Airbnb clientele.
The investigation delves into various scenarios faced by the winners. For instance, one fortunate recipient of a £3 million mansion was forced to leave the property just three days after moving in due to the dangerous cliffside location. This mansion, named Stealth House, was ultimately handed back to Omaze, and the winner reportedly negotiated a cash settlement. Interestingly, Omaze’s ownership of the property remained unresolved at the time of the winner’s occupancy.
As a result of MailOnline’s visit, it was evident that several of these opulent mansions stand vacant, and in some cases, metal gates and an unanswered intercom indicated their lack of occupancy. The fate of these dream homes demonstrates the complexities and unexpected turns that can emerge when winning a lavish prize.
This report provides insight into the intricate outcomes of Omaze’s mansion giveaways, shedding light on the diverse experiences and decisions of the fortunate winners.
An unnamed neighbor remarked, “I haven’t seen any activity at the house since the win. There’s speculation that it might be tough to insure due to its close proximity to the sea and cliff edge. Coastal erosion is a concern along this coastline, with warning signs about falling rocks on the beach. There were rumors that the initial builder was cautioned about its proximity to the edge, potentially affecting mortgage and insurance eligibility. When I moved in five years ago, it was listed for £2.5 million, but no one was interested. During the competition, we noticed cars coming and going, but that stopped after the winner was announced.”
Another neighbor shared their thoughts, saying, “I have a suspicion that there’s something amiss with this house. Just before the competition, there was a landslide. I remember hearing rumbling, and the next morning at the beach, we saw evidence of a landslide. In June 2021, while the competition was running, locals expressed similar worries about the house’s closeness to the cliff edge, which could erode over time, potentially making it unsafe. Someone on Devon Live’s Facebook page wrote, ‘Great sea views, but in 5 to 10 years, it’ll be in the sea – a lot of money to lose.’ Another said, ‘It’ll probably look more interesting in 20 years when half of it has fallen off the cliff due to erosion.’ This property, situated near Ilfracombe, was designed by acclaimed architect Guy Greenfield and features five bedrooms, six bathrooms, two living areas, and 0.9 acres of land.”
The house initially entered the market through Knight Frank in 2018 with an asking price of £2.5 million. In the neighboring Cornwall town of Rock, winners of another lavish home with stunning sea views chose to sell their Omaze mansion just eight weeks after winning, reducing the asking price by over £500,000 after nearly a year without finding a buyer. Uttam Parmar, 58, from Leicestershire, won the house with Camel Estuary views on August 12 last year. They initially listed it for £4 million in October, hoping for a profit of £3,999,975 after deducting the £25 ticket cost. The four-bedroom property, featuring four bathrooms, is now listed for £3.5 million.
Mr. Parmar shared, “It’s a wonderful house in a beautiful Cornish location, but its cost extends to maintenance, which we can’t afford. We’re selling it instead of using it as a vacation home. If we could afford it, we would keep it. It’s lovely. But we’re looking into purchasing land or a smaller property.” A neighbor joked, “I can’t believe they wanted £4 million, given how prices are dropping. They’d be fortunate to get half that. I don’t know much about the winners, but the house used to be a regular bungalow owned by a local farmer, and it was entirely rebuilt. It’s been largely vacant since then.”
The four-bedroom home was built with meticulous attention to detail and boasts panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Situated near the village of Rock on the coast, it features an “eco-friendly” design with recycled newspaper insulation and a green roof adorned with grasses, moss, and flowers that help with water reuse, support wildlife, and enhance air quality. The property spans 5.3 acres of rolling land that slopes down to the River Camel.
The generous prize package also featured £50,000 for the family, and the home came with no mortgage burden, covering stamp duty and legal fees as well. Conversations at a nearby pub revealed a consensus that the future purchaser of the house would likely not be a local resident. A customer expressed, “It won’t be someone like us buying it; none of us here have that kind of money. It’s a pity, really, because it’s a magnificent house. The previous owner, before the renovation, lived there for years. Given the declining property values in the area, they might struggle to fetch the amount they’re aiming for.”
In the nearby town of Bodinnick, it’s rumored that the winner of a recent Omaze house draw listed the property for sale immediately after receiving the keys. June Smith, 74, won the £4.5 million property overlooking Fowey Estuary in May of this year. The house, which was mortgage-free and had all expenses covered, is possibly the largest-ever house prize awarded in a UK draw. Despite Ms. Smith’s initial intention to “definitely keep it for a while” and utilize its built-in yoga studio, it’s alleged that she promptly listed the property for sale after gaining ownership.
Locals in Bodinnick recall Ms. Smith and Omaze representatives visiting the area. A pub staff member mentioned, “They completed the paperwork and got the keys a few weeks ago, which marked the official handover, but the very next day, it was up for sale. We noticed vans coming to retrieve rented furniture within two days of news articles. Since then, there’s been no sign of activity.” This house was initially on the market for several years before Omaze owned it, and it was transformed from a regular bungalow by the previous owner. The house was listed for £1.7 million during that period.
Ms. Smith stated her intention to sell the property to assist her children and grandchildren in their future endeavors, after the family shared a memorable summer holiday there. Despite the mortgage-free status and the £100,000 cash prize, the potential annual maintenance costs of around £30,000 could rapidly diminish the winnings.
Across the country in Kingstown near Deal, Kent, another cliff-top home was reportedly abandoned by its winners shortly after their £2.5 million property win. The stunning coastal village residence was obtained by a couple from the West Midlands, including a cash prize of £50,000. Interviews initially described the win as “life-changing.” However, just months later, the property was back on the market at the same price. Local speculation suggested that a celebrity purchaser might have made an offer, intending to shield the house with strategically planted trees.
Estate agents Strutt & Parker confirmed that the celebrity sale fell through a few months ago, leading to the property being relisted for sale. The house, known as the Gunnery, is positioned 90 feet from the cliff edge and was formerly a Second World War gun battery site. Owned by an American buyer, it underwent a modern transformation in 2015, complete with an underground corridor accessible by lift. The property features sleek interiors, a cinema room, hot tubs, and a James Bond-esque glass lift, captivating both the inside and the outside.
“It’s a show home,” said a local resident, who shared that the stunning property was previously used as a holiday home by Hollywood actor Tom Hardy before Omaze acquired it. The property’s appeal to celebrities lies in its privacy and hidden location, making it an attractive retreat for families. However, the maintenance manager understood the decision of Jade and her partner to sell the house due to the significant costs associated with its upkeep. “It costs a lot of money to run, and I don’t think they could afford it,” he commented. The manager pointed out that running costs and high council taxes would contribute to the financial burden.
In the story, a neighbor from the Zetland Arms pub noted that the couple who won the house had never visited the local shop. This individual, who had also entered the prize draw, expressed the sentiment that if they had won, they too would have chosen to sell the property due to limited access and high council taxes.
In contrast, another story highlighted the winner of an Omaze draw who decided to keep their luxury home. The individual, a construction worker and avid Arsenal fan, found the location perfect due to its proximity to the Premier League club’s stadium. While other winners chose to sell their homes, this winner appreciated the unique advantages of their prize.
In the Lake District, a story mentioned that the winner of the Omaze draw had listed their £3 million mansion as an Airbnb rental. This led to traffic and congestion concerns from local residents due to the increased number of visitors to the area.
Other winners, such as those in Wimbledon, Ascot, and the Cotswolds, decided to move into their dream homes and enjoy the luxurious living experience. The allure of living in lavish properties and enjoying breathtaking views prompted some winners to stay put and embrace the new lifestyle.
Overall, the stories highlighted various perspectives and decisions made by winners of Omaze house draws, ranging from selling immediately to enjoying the luxury and uniqueness of their new homes.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn