Prizes worth winning abound out there. Take all of the contests that offer you a prime piece of real estate valued at a million dollars or more. These contests offer you the chance to take the real estate as your own, taxes paid for the first year, or a cash lump sum that is usually equal to or less than the total value of the real estate offered in the contest. Which would you choose? Do you know how to make the right choice here? If you were to win such a contest, here is some expert advice on whether to take the real estate or take the money and run. 

Ask to Tour the Property First 

All of those pictures posted in the contest listing are often the best shots of the property and house. If you are notified that you are the winner of this contest, insist on seeing the property and touring the house first before you make the final decision. Those sponsoring the contest should have no reason to balk at the request, since it would be unacceptable to insist on you making a choice with the property sight-unseen. 

Ask the Real Estate Agent or Property Manager Lots of Important Questions

Winning a very big prize like this should come with sensible questions and answers. Whoever provides you with the tour of the property and house should be able to answer your questions. 

Some questions you definitely should ask are the following:

  1. What are the annual taxes on the property? If you take the house, what can you expect to pay on taxes in the coming years? This is vital to whether or not you can afford to keep the prize you have won. 
  2. How recently was the septic system or plumbing maintained? If the property has a septic system, you will want to know if you have to empty/clean or replace the tank soon. 
  3. If the property was used as a vacation rental, when was the last renter there? This speaks to the need to clean the place, sweep for bed bugs, and so on. 

If anything seems off or you see a very big bill in the future for any of the above, you might want to consider whether claiming the real estate is worth it. On the other hand, real estate only grows in value, so if you can hang on to the house and property, it will be the wisest investment in your future, especially considering that you technically got the property for free in a contest! For more information, reach out to real estate agents near you.