We’ve all seen the enticing adverts on social media – amazing central London apartments or gorgeous rural retreats for the modest cost of a raffle ticket. Property raffles, which offer the chance to win a home worth millions of pounds for a small investment, sound too good to be true. That’s probably because they are, according to a report in Property Investor Today, whose interview with a home raffle insider lifts the lid on how these competitions work.

There are currently 62 property raffles running in the UK. Last year saw 92 similar contests with the chance to win homes worth up to £3.2 million for as little as £10. However, analysis has revealed that only 25 of these contests resulted in a property win.

This is explained in the small print, which states that a minimum number of ticket sales must be achieved in order for the house to be gifted. If the target isn’t reached, winners receive a cash prize based on tickets sold, minus costs. These can include pricey social media and TV advertising campaigns to hook in punters, as well as donations to charities, in some cases.

Need a Property Valuation?

Looking to Sell or Let Your Property? Book Your Free Property Valuation

Marc Gershon, the founder of property raffle website Winmydreamhome.com explained why many draws fail to give away a house: “To be profitable, the draws need to reach the target at which point the property is awarded and should they fail to do so, this is when many raffles will make heavy withdrawals from the ticket sale pot to cover their backs. Because they don’t reveal the number of tickets sold, there’s no way of knowing just how much they are taking and what percentage is awarded to the winner.”

As well as reading the small print, anyone who fancies a gamble should look carefully at the property they have a chance of winning and consider its running costs. The report gives the example of a £2.5 million Cotswold property, up for grabs, which on closer inspection was prone to flooding and likely to require expensive repairs.