When a southern Alberta woman found that her million-dollar home wasn’t garnering the interest she was looking for, she thought a different approach might do the trick.

Alla Wagner has lived in her rural property in Millarville ever since it was built in 2011. Earlier this year, she ran into some health problems and forced her to sell the 5,000 square foot estate.

“In June 2018, I bought myself a new office chair. I wanted one that was more solid. I sat on it and it flipped on me.”

Wagner says she fell and even though it wasn’t very hard, she ended up damaging some of her vertebrae.

The accident left her with a lot of pain and she hoped that it would get better, but it didn’t.

“When the home care nurses came here, they suggested that I make a few changes to the house, like upgrades, so I can fit it to my disability, but I don’t want to believe that this is it.”

She also didn’t want to take away from the character of the home either.

“I view this home as a work of art and I don’t want to make changes to it that’s going to compromise it’s look and the value and craftsmanship that’s in this home.”

Rather than change it, Wagner put the house up for sale. She first listed at market value, but as the months passed, she had to lower the price tag over and over again.

After about five months of no reasonable offers, Wagner came up with the idea of offering her home as a prize in an essay-writing contest.

Now, for a $25 entry fee, 68,000 entrants can write a short piece on why they would be the best new owner of Wagner’s home.

It’s an idea that she says her daughter told her about years earlier.

“In 2015, my daughter brought to my attention [of a similar story] in the United States, it was a historic inn. I did some research on it and that was [very] successful.”

Wagner hopes that with social media, her home will get the attention it needs and find the right owner.

“Just that one family that will end up in this home, in this house and make it into a home for themselves and be happy here, as happy as I have been, I know it’s going to be a beautiful story in the end.”

She admits the process of reading over 60,000 submissions is going to be difficult but she says she has “nothing to lose”.

“It would be a beautiful way for someone not giving up hope. I’m not going to give up hope. I believe that when this contest works, I know it’s going to be well worthwhile.”

The terms of the contest state that if a worth offer is made on the home before the end of January, then Wagner says the contest will be cancelled and all the entry money will be refunded.

If the contest does move ahead, Wagner plans to donate five percent of the net profit from the entries to the Calgary Women’s Shelter.

You can learn more about Wagner’s Write a Letter, Win a House contest online.

(With files from Stephanie Wiebe)