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Gorgeous Properties for $200? WAY Out-of-the-Box, But Ingenious

05/05/2015 06:19 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2016

Being an Out-Of-The-Box woman myself for as long as I can remember (which is a kinder, gentler, more modern way of calling someone the Black Sheep of the Family), I love it when I find people accomplishing the ordinary by extraordinary means. And in this day in age, when so many U.S. real estate markets are still on life support, property owners are finding they must stretch the bounds outside that box almost to the breaking point if they have any hope at all of getting a good price, or even a fair price, for their favorite four walls.

That's why I was delighted to find two properties, completely unrelated, in two different states, and about as dissimilar as they could possibly be, being offered to the public, not as something to be purchased, but as something to be awarded if, with just 200 words -- approximately two paragraphs -- contestants can convince the owners that they are more deserving than the thousands of others who will also be writing 200 words of their own.

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(Left: Hartford apartment building, Right: Maine inn; Both: prizes in Essay Contests)

Probably the only thing the two properties have in common, aside from being the prize in an Essay Contest, is the fact that they are both investment properties. One is a $900,000 vintage county inn idyllically situated in Center Lovell, Maine; the other is a $500,000 historical apartment building located in the bustling New England metropolis of Hartford, Connecticut, just two hours outside of New York City. Each is gloriously beautiful in its own way, but both of them are caught up in our present global economic mess. So why not try something extraordinary?

It's pretty simple, actually. You visit their websites, for the inn in Maine and for the apartment building in Hartford, download the entry form and contest rules, write your 200 word essay on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of white paper, and send it in with your entry fee ($125 for the inn, $200 for the apartment building) and two stamped, self-addressed envelopes, and then wait. What could be simpler?

In a short amount of time, two very lucky winners will own slices of the American Dream ... for essentially what amounts to the price of a used car (the winners being responsible for certain taxes, their attorney fees, and so on).

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(Left: Hartford apartment building, Right: Maine inn)

It will be a LOT of work for the owners, handling and processing all those entries, reading them, judging them, one against the other. Hours upon hours of work, but hopefully with a gratifying light at the end of the tunnel.

So -- will this ingenious idea work? Will the owners get as many contestants as they are hoping for? I guess we won't know until the summer, but I dearly hope so! When so many things in the world around us seem so bleak, it's eminently refreshing to see some genuinely good news. I am crossing my fingers and praying they will both succeed. I can't wait to see deliriously happy press releases from both of the owners!

To read what other people are saying about these inventive contests, check out their Facebook pages: http://tinyurl.com/psrg5sd for the inn, and http://tinyurl.com/lx3fk7c for the apartment building.

Pamela S. K. Glasner is a published author and filmmaker. Learn more about Ms. Glasner at http://www.starjackentertainment.com/ and on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/mfqxebu

Copyright by Pamela S. K. Glasner © 2015, All Rights Reserved
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