Winning an extravagant luxury home should be most Britons’ dream scenario right now in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
Being given the keys to a huge house, as well as extra financial help to get started, all without any mortgage hanging over their heads, sounds like it should be a perfect outcome.
Then why have some so-called lucky winners decided to sell up almost immediately after securing a home in the Omaze Million Pound House Draw?
US fundraising company Omaze partners with a different charity for each of its draws, which cost £10 a ticket and offer one winner the home of a lifetime.
But how many of the past winners have chosen to live in it for that long?
Yahoo News UK looks at whether Omaze winners have decided to sell, rent or stay in their new homes.
The £1m Cheshire House 2020
Winner: Ian Garrick from Lincolnshire
Money raised for charity: £250,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust
What they said: The father-of-three lost his wife Julie to breast cancer about five years before he won the four-bedroom home in Cheadle Hulme. He paid £10 to purchase 15 entries to the draw. He said: “I’m completely overwhelmed. I can’t get my head around it. It will take some time to sink in. Things like this just don’t happen. I’m in shock. I’m still taking it all in at the moment.”
What they did: Garrick announced his plan to sell the house immediately after winning and did so a year later in May 2021.
The £3m Fulham House 2020
Winner: Marilyn Pratt from Greater London
Money raised for charity: £100,000 for British Heart Foundation
What they said: Pratt bought a £10 ticket on the second last day of the draw in an effort to win a house for her daughter. She said: “It hasn’t sunk in at all. It makes me feel so happy that even though this has come at a later stage of my life, I know that my children are always going to be secure and that’s a really nice feeling. It’s very strange to think that I’m an instant multi-millionaire, it’s only just starting to sink in.”
What they did: At the time, Pratt said she intended to sell the house in order to support her daughters. The house was sold in April 2021.
The £2.5m Cotswolds House 2021
Winner: Darren Wordon from Bath
Money raised for charity: £500,000 for the Prince’s Trust
What they said: “‘This is life changing, thank you very very much. I can’t even begin to tell you how big this is for us.”
What they did: Within seven months of winning, Wordon had put the Willowbrook House mansion in Oxfordshire back on the market, over concerns that it was prone to flooding. Omaze has since confirmed it’s been sold.
The £3m Devon House 2021
Winner: Glen Elmy from Walsall
Money raised for charity: £1m for NSPCC
What they said: Elmy won the luxurious Stealth House five-bedroom home in Combe Martin Bay. He said: “This is a grand prize beyond anybody’s wildest dreams. I can’t quite get my head around it. I think I’m still dreaming. I’m over the moon.”
What they did: However, just three days after winning the house, he handed back the keys, over fears that it could collapse into the sea below. He has never moved into the property.
Outcome: DIDN’T MOVE IN
The £3.5m Wimbledon House 2021
Winner: Heekyoung Jin from Wallington, south London
Money raised for charity: £500,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
What they said: Jin entered the draw to win the four-bedroom house in south west London to support Great Ormond Street Hospital, where her son had been treated since he was three months old after a tumour was found on his chest. She said: “It’s surreal! I can’t believe it could happen to us. We’re super excited for our family’s future. It’s life-changing.”
What they did: Jin and her husband, Tom Hall, have not sold the property.
The £3.5m Ascot House 2021
Winner: Becca Pott from Leyton, east London
Money raised for charity: £500,000 for Cancer Research UK
What they said: Pott bought a £10 ticket for the draw when her husband Ben forgot to enter. She said: “It’s going to change our family’s life in a way we never thought would be possible.”
What they did: Pott and her husband Ben decided to keep the house.
The £3m Lake District House 2021
Winner: Catherine Carwardine from Telford
Money raised for charity: £1m for Alzheimer’s Research UK
What they said: “At first, we didn’t believe it as it was April’s Fools’ Day. We thought the kids were playing a prank on us. Still cannot believe we have won and are in shock and probably will be for a while.”
What they did: After her win, Carwardine said she planned to rent out the Post Knott Lodge in Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District, Cumbria.
The £3.5m Cotswolds House 2022
Winner: Susan Havenhand from Taunton
Money raised for charity: £1m for the RSPCA
What they said: “We thought people never actually win these things, and even though we’re at the house now, it still feels like we’re dreaming, we keep waiting to wake up. It just goes to show you’ve got to be in it to win it.”
What they did: Neighbours said Havenhand and her family never moved into the property and it was sold a while later.
The £3m Cornwall House 2022
Winner: Uttam Parmar from Leicestershire
Money raised for charity: £1m for Blood Cancer UK
What they said: “I’ve always considered myself a lucky person, firstly because of my wonderful family – but I’ve also won a few bits such as a TV and coffee table – which I was pretty happy with to be honest – I never dreamed I’d win anything as extravagant as a £3m house.”
What they did: Parmar decided to sell the house because of the high cost of the upkeep and it was put on the market. Omaze have since confirmed that it’s been sold.
The £2.5m Kent House 2022
Winner: Jade from the Midlands
Money raised for charity: £750,000 for Global’s Make Some Noise
What they said: “There will never be quite enough words to describe how this whole experience has felt to me and my family. We are still overwhelmed but we know that this will hopefully help our family for a very long time to come.”
What they did: She put the house on the market shortly after winning it.
Outcome: PUT UP FOR SALE
The £2m Marbella House 2022
Winner: Mark from Wigan
Money raised for charity: £800,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust
What they said: “Still in shock, you enter not really expecting to win. Having had a sleepless night, the enormity of winning such a prize is both exhilarating and daunting, my head is spinning with the realisation of the financial security this prize now bring to my family.”
What they did: He sold the property shortly after winning the prize.
The £2.5m Lake District House 2022
Winner: Grant Carson from Glasgow
Money raised for charity: £850,000 for Dogs Trust.
What they said: “When the Omaze team rang my doorbell I couldn’t quite believe it at first, it’s not your average Friday night that someone comes to your door and tells you that you’ve won a £2.5m house! I’ve never really won anything before this, but now I might be one of the luckiest men in Scotland!”
What they did: Carson put the property up for sale six months later.
The £3m London II House 2022
Winner: Kevin Johnson from east London
Money raised for charity: £2m for the British Heart Foundation
What they said: “My knees almost gave way and my chest felt like it was on fire – I was gobsmacked! I’m just a regular hard-working guy who gets up early for work in the morning, comes home in the evening, and spends time with my family. Things like this just do not happen to normal guys like myself.”
What they did: Johnson and his wife, Dee, have decided to remain in the property.
The £4.5m Cornwall House 2023
Winner: June Smith from Essex
Money raised for charity: £2.1m for Marie Curie
What they said: “Never in my wildest dreams would I expect to win anything like this. It will have enough room for all my family to holiday together.”
What they did: Smith, a grandmother of six, put the house overlooking the Fowey Estuary up for sale almost immediately.
The most recent winners of Omaze houses this year are Oceanne Belle from Barking; Jon from Berkshire; Simon Williams from West Sussex; Daren Bell from Bournemouth; Eliza Yahioglu from London and Will Satherley from Cardiff.
A spokesperson for Omaze told Yahoo News UK: “Omaze Grand Prize winners receive £100,000 in cash to help them settle in and maintain their new property.
“Estimated costs for each house are available for entrants to view on the Omaze website.
“Winners can decide to either live in the house, rent it out for a supplementary income or sell it to become a cash multi-millionaire.
“They are free to put the house on the market and bank the cash as soon as they get the keys, it’s totally up to the winner what they want to do with their life changing prize.
“Omaze is delighted to have created 20 millionaires whilst also raising £25m for good causes in the UK since it launched here.”