If someone told you could own a villa on a Western Cape, South Africa, wine estate for € 99, would you believe it or laugh it off as an obvious scam? This is exactly what is on offer. Realestateweb’s Leoni Kok investigates whether it is too good to be true.
Retired Dutch business owner Peter de Pagter and his wife Arlette live on the idyllic Diemersfontein Wine Estate outside of Wellington and have decided to share their slice of paradise with a lucky raffle ticket holder.
De Pagter has found a rather unique way to market his third property on the estate by harnessing the tourist interest generated by the 2010 Soccer World Cup. He is raffling 5050 tickets at 99 euros apiece to people from around the world and the main prize is a 550m² fully furnished luxury villa with wine valley views.
Realestateweb learned about the raffle from a concerned reader who was convinced it was a scam, so we had a look for ourselves. After a lengthy interview with De Pagter we did some independent checking with Diemersfontein estate agent Dawn Arendse and she confirmed that De Pagter owns three properties on the estate and lives there himself. They were also aware of the raffle.
De Pagter says he decided to market his house in this way “for fun” and because he and his wife fell in love with the country after immigrating and settling at Diemersfontein in 2004. When we pointed out the fact that his raffle would be considered an illegal lottery in South Africa, he replied that the lottery was not being administered in South Africa, but by an attorney in Austria, where it is legal.
The raffle was marketed throughout Europe and, says Peter, “We have had responses from all over the world. I’ve had people buy tickets from Norway, to America, to Israel.” Within a week from the launch in mid-November 20% of the tickets had been sold, but there are still a number available.
Anyone can buy a ticket and the deal includes two economy class return air tickets from Europe to South Africa, or from SA to Europe if the winner is local. Also thrown in are four tickets to 2010 World Cup matches.
We asked Peter what happens if he fails to sell all the lots: “The money is held in escrow by the Austrian attorney and players will be refunded if we fail to sell all the lots by the deadline of March next year.”
The details of the attorney as well as direct contact details for De Pagter are available on the raffle website at www.hausverlosung-suedafrika.com. We didn’t speak directly with the attorney, but we figured if this is an elaborate swindle, she would be highly unlikely to confirm this.
In conclusion the offer seems legit, but take our poll and tell us what you think. The pictures of the property are reprinted with permission of the owner.