A couple in the US state of Virginia is offering their 35-acre picturesque farm valued at $600,000 for just $200 and a 1,000-word flawless essay, spelling out how the contestant will take care of the farm.
Essays for the farm must be postmarked by October 1. After reviewing them, the couple — Randy Silvers and Carolyn Berry — will select 25 finalists and pass the essays along to a panel of three judges — an educator, a hobby farmer and a horse enthusiast — who will select a winner on November 26.
They are hoping to receive 5,000 essays, for a total of $1 million.
“The opening paragraph has to grab you,” Berry said. “It has to say ‘read me.’ No spelling, writing, grammar mistakes. And they have to spell out how they’ll take care of the farm.”
If the couple does not receive the anticipated number of essays (or something close to it), the couple will list the property, valued at $600,000. “In that case, we would return all the money,” Berry was quoted as saying by Washington Post.
Silvers has called the horse farm, a two-hour drive south of Washington, home for nearly 20 years. It dates to the 18th century. It boasts a three-story, four-bedroom home, a two- bedroom cottage, a five-stall barn and an air-conditioned woodworking shop. That is in addition to horse trails, acres of loamy soil and mature hardwood trees bordered by natural streams.
Meanwhile, a few people have raised questions about the legality of giving away homes through a raffle.
Under Virginia law, the essay contest for Rock Spring Farm, does not qualify as charitable gaming, said Michael Menefee, program manager of the state Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs.