Honey, I gave up the prize home
They’re the ultimate dream homes — won off the back of $5 tickets — but two in every five prize home winners won’t end up staying in them.
RSL Art Union figures show around 34 of the 84 prize home draws won in the past decade were sold off by winners.
Luke Driver was 27, “down on luck”, broke, unemployed for eight months due to a sporting injury, and about to move in with the in-laws when he was told he’d won over a year ago.
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Mr Driver had won a multimillion-dollar six bedroom, three bathroom Yandina Creek home on the Sunshine Coast — where he just happened to be moving for work within days.
“We were in the middle of an argument, me and the old boy, nothing serious — I wanted to go to Bunnings to get PVC pipes to put my fishing rods in, while he said you’re trying to save money, just wrap it in a towel. Then the phone rang.”
He was in disbelief when told by an RSL Art Union staff member. “I was shaking. I asked my father dad ‘is this real?’. He snatched the phone off me because of the look of shock on my face, he thought something had happened to one of the kids.”
It took the officials two hours to convince the pair that it was indeed real.
Even his wife — who was at work — did not believe him: “I said Krissy we just won the RSL home, and she just said ‘it’s 10 o’clock Luke, are you drinking already?’ And she hung up,” he laughs.
“We literally packed our bags with clothes and stuff and drove to Krissy’s mum and dad’s house, spent the night there and 10a, I found all the paperwork and the house was ours. It was a bit surreal.”
Mr Driver said there was never any likelihood that the young family would keep the home though — they needed the cash.
“I had to ask dad to buy some beers to celebrate,” he said.
“We were always going to sell it. We only had two kids at the time and they were still young, one was one and half, learning to walk, the other was three and there were 87 stairs in the whole house. It was great to live in it (for three months), a beautiful, beautiful house.”
They put it on the market for $1.45m and thought they would be waiting for a while for a buyer “because not everyone has $1.45m”, but “we got the phone call that first afternoon”.
“$1.45m for a $20 ticket. We got a bit more because we also got $90,000 worth of gold bullion.”
They bought their dream home outright in Pomona, in the Noosa shire.
“When we went to the real estate agency, the lady was like ‘have you got your finances sorted?’ We said ‘oh we’re just going to buy it with cash’ and she was just looking at us like ‘what’s going on here’.”
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