British couple Ian and Bernadette Weyde are selling Les Vieux Chais as a competition prize and have just dropped the entry fee from £25 to £5.
The couple had hoped to notch up 60,000 entries, to cover costs and the estimated house value of €1.2million- €1.5m. However, Mrs Weyde said they had not hit the target yet.
“Interest has been good but we cannot close and offer the property: which is the whole point. We need to return to the UK and be nearer our mothers as Ian’s now has Alzheimer’s and mine is registered partially sighted.
“We are willing to accept quite a substantial drop on the full house value, but if we give it as the prize we need to have enough to clear our mortgage and start over again.
“We will keep the competition open for Christmas and New Year and try to get as much as we can. Then that will be it and the winner will either get the property or the money from the pot.”
People who paid £25 are being given four extra tickets, plus another five as a gesture of goodwill.
The property, which was run as a gîte and chambre d’hôtes business, was built in 1840 by Hennessey, for storage and blending of Cognac and eau de vie. Sited around a quadrangle, it includes six double bedrooms, three kitchens, six bath/shower rooms, four reception rooms (one of which is 170m2) and three acres of land. There is planning permission for residential conversion of another 300m2, plus a further 960m2 of unmodernised chais [spirit stocking halls].
“The chais is so big, subject to planning you could have garaging, kennels, an art gallery, a spa… there’s space for about five five-a-side football pitches!”
Mrs Weyde said the idea came after they heard of a similar contest in the UK. Entrants play “spot the boule” online. It is being run as a UK competition, in pounds, but the sale will pass through a French notaire.
The Weydes tried selling through estate agents for 18 months before turning to the competition. “It was a way of taking charge,” Mrs Weyde said.
You can get more details from the website www.hotpropertyfrance.com