The owners of the stunning 5-acre property in Corning, New York, have put 18 years into renovating their home—and now they want to make sure it goes to the right person.

By Maya Kachroo-Levine
Updated March 19, 2019
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Housing prices got you down? This one might be in your price range: There’s a Victorian farmhouse on the market for $150 and a five-paragraph essay. Oh, and did we mention it comes with $10,000? As if the stunning five-acre property in Corning, New York wasn’t enough of a selling point, there’s also a cash bonus that comes with the house.

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Corning is an hour outside of Ithaca, New York, and about 20 minutes from the Pennsylvania state line. The couple selling their home, Tim and Maggie Lott, have put 18 years of work into the home. Initially a ramshackle property full of potential, they put their heart and souls into creating a rustic Victorian home. As the couple says goodbye to their beloved farm, they decided they’d rather make sure the property is in good hands than try to sell it for top dollar.

That’s why they’ve created a contest to find the next owner of their home. Here are the rules:

1. Submit an essay about what owning the Victorian home on five-acres would mean to you (and your family or whomever would live there with you).

2. The essay has to be 500 to 1,000 words.

3. All entries must be sent in before June 24, 2019.

4. It costs $150 to enter.

Wondering where the submission fees go? The goal is for the contest to reach 2,500 submissions—and if each person entering pays their $150 fee, the contest will bring in $375,000. The Lotts will then use the money to pay off their mortgage and buy a new farm. And they plan to have enough left over to give the winner of the house $10,000 for taxes and additional expenses. The submission fees will also cover the $1,000 prize for the second place winner, and $500 for third place.

A panel of judges will review the submissions and choose a winner by the end of July, 2019. Unfortunately, if the contest does not reach 2,500 entries, then it can’t move forward at all. However, if that’s the case, the Lotts will return $125 of your $150 entry fee (they need to keep $25 for processing fees).

According to, the Lotts have put their house on the market twice, and despite interest from the community, they still haven't found the right buyer. Nonetheless, the five-bedroom, three-bathroom house is valued at $175,000. Those interested in applying can find the entrance form here, and start mulling over this essay prompt provided on their website: “What owning a 5 acre farm property would mean to me, us and/or my family.”

Be sure to do some research on the property and surrounding area before flexing your creative writing muscles. Whether you’d be excited to move to Corning because it’s in the Finger Lakes wine and beer country, or you’re hoping to bring your family’s horses to the farm, there are endless ways to show your connection to the Lott’s farmhouse.