Agent Offers Home to Essay Contest Winner

May 20, 2015

The pen may just be mightier than the offer.

Real estate professional Michael Wachs has an unusual marketing plan for his Houston bungalow: Write a 200-word essay explaining why he should sell you the home, and the winning entry will get his two-bedroom, one-bath, 1,056-square-foot house — for free. Well, not entirely free: Applicants must pay $150 to enter the contest, and the winner will also be responsible for closing costs.

If Wachs has at least 3,000 applicants who pay the $150 entry free, he'll have made about $450,000 — near the market value of his home.

"This is the only method that we can think of that we could get our money back and also give a chance to someone to start a new life or build a home right in the city," Wachs told Houston's KTRK-TV.

Wachs created a website for the home and the essay contest at His website crashed soon after launching last Thursday due to the high level of interest. But he was able to get it back up and running shortly after.

Wachs says that if he doesn't get the 3,000 essays he needs by mid-June, he will have to list the house the traditional way.

Source: “Want to Buy a House for $150? Hope You Aced Essay Writing in High School,”® (May 19, 2015) and “Houston Heights Home for Sale for Just $150 – and an Essay,” KTRK-TV (Houston) (May 14, 2015)