We won the Dream of a Lifetime Lottery in London, Ontario Canada on May 31, 2004 but it took 24 days for the lawyers to close and sign up for the utilities. We had one lawyer; the lottery had 3 lawyers: one for the lottery, one for the house, and one for the lot. The land transfer tax was paid by the hospital lottery, something due on all transfers of real estate in Ontario, Canada. So on Friday June 24, 2004, we got the keys from our lawyer and arrived at the house about 4 pm. It was cool to open the door to a new home fully furnished with some really cool stuff. We picked up a check for $25,000 2 days after the win and a Miata sports cars a week after the win.
About a week before we took possession we decided to move from the old house. We started packing stuff up and getting rid of unwanted stuff. We packed up our prized goldfish and spent our first night in the BIG HOUSE.
Our dream home package did not have a cash option; if it had we would probably NOT have moved into the big dream home. Most winners here now take the cash option. Previously, the tax rule was that you had to own the property a year before selling in order to avoid possible tax implications. That rule was just removed the year before we won. Moving into this dream home got us out of the old neighborhood with major problems.
We were helping Habitat for Humanity with the photographing of one of their house builds and did not want to just abandon them. So we spent the next two months moving stuff between the old house and the new house, and photographing at the Habitat build site. We also started on repairs and painting the old house. Sheila is also a photographer, so I had her drop by the build site to take photos for them daily. I taught her how to work for food. Showing up before lunch, you can get photos of the morning crew, have a FREE lunch and then maybe spend an hour with the afternoon crew. This was great because with her job as a darkroom technician, she never got the opportunity to be a photographer.
So winning the lottery, she was able to leave her job after 20 years, help on the old house, and volunteer as a photographer. The old house was all fixed up and painted, with a new roof, but was not selling. We lowered the price and were thinking of maybe selling the dream home and moving back to the old house. We were taking stock of what would fit and what we would have to sell. Finally, we sold the old house November 2004.
We both knew we did not want to retire in this big house. Sheila wanted to spend 2 years there, while I wanted to live there for 3 years. We both got what we wanted. In the second year there, the properties in North Lambeth were not selling even at reduced prices. We had some good advice from a friend who makes a lot of money in world markets and told us have some fun but get out long before 2010, as the big houses would drop like a rock. So we started in February 2007, fixing anything we could find wrong with the dream house, painting etc. We also spent weeks going through stuff we saved. The spring cleanup that year we had a driveway full of stuff we were getting rid of. We made some calls to some of the charities from the old neighborhood that accepted used furniture or items for resale.
It took until July 10, 2007 until we were ready to list with an agent. It was a hot summer and our electricity/water bill for August 2007 was over $550 – OUCH! We had to keep the pond filled and the large lot watered.
We had the house appraised when we won, and without contents the house would have maybe sold for around the $475,000 to $485,000 mark. In November 2007 we accepted an offer for $555,000 which was 3 years to the day of the closing on Quebec Street in the old neighborhood. Cool. The closing for the dream home was January 4, 2008. We had about 6 weeks to move. We decided to put the whole house into storage. Evey time we did a big move, it was a snow storm all 3 times. On Christmas Eve we had an empty house and decided to clean the carpets ourselves. It was not part of the deal we do this. I wanted to get photos of all rooms empty, shot from the same view with it furnished for a feature book or story. Our friends thought we were nuts, the neighbors were maybe thinking we were broke. For my second book, one customer in Old East London said we went from the ghetto to snob hill, so going homeless would be a cool story to tell.
We sold the house just before the market dropped. I saw nicer houses with one more bedroom and bath going for 80,000 to 100,000+ less. One neighbor who had put about $85,000 more into their house than ours, sold their house for $26,000 less than we sold for later in 2008. Our increase of equity would have been lost if we stayed there a few months. We considered that another $80,000 to $100,000 tax free win. We had a few options where we could stay until we found something on the market. One neighbor who put over $650,000 into her house sold it for $555,000. She would have walked away with abut $522,000, netting about a $130,000 loss. Looking back, we were meant to get out of the downtown neighborhood and the dream home at the right time.
While living in the dream home, we put a lot of money into landscaping. Two neighbors stopped us and asked what landscaping company we were with. They were surprised to hear we were the idiots that won it. We enjoyed the exercise and also wanted the photos.
We had added some good sized trees and fish to the pond. Being able to take award winning photos in my backyard was exciting.
We even had a pet groundhog we would feed. The rabbits never damaged any plants, but rather kept the weeds at bay. Real eco-friendly.
The printed version of 21 Lucky Lottery Tips is also reasonably priced at $14.95 at the Luckology Store.
The book 21 Lucky Lottery Tips for Selecting, Playing, and Winning Lotteries, available at the Luckology Store, may help get you closer to that lottery win dream.
While in this dream home, I created the Lucky Coin and wrote the book 21 Lucky Lottery Tips. I wrote this book on the laptop the came with the house. I self-published so it was just a matter of the printer printing the books. I also put this online as an eBook and set up The Luckology Store on eBay. Sheila took some online courses.
A photo of Bubba our pond frog brought in a lot business from a company in California in waste water management.
I also took some really cool photos we will be putting online for people to purchase through some stock photo agencies. I like the idea of doing the work once and selling it many times, just like the book and the coin.
We photographed a few weddings with our new digital cameras while we lived at the dream home. One person remembered being in the dream home. After living in a downtown location, the serenity of Lovely Lambeth was too quiet for us to sleep. So we put a fan in our bedroom to make some noise so we could sleep at night. One year we had a yard sale with donated stuff from local businesses and raise $1,000 for Habitat. The air quality was a lot better than the pollution we were exposed to on a daily basis in the downtown location on a bus route. If we had moved back to the old neighborhood because we could not sell the old house, we would have felt cheated. It was a fun time in the BIG dream home we won; we would not change a thing. We downsized to a house half the size with less than half the property taxes we were paying.
Just like some of the other stories you see on TLC’s The Lottery Changed My Life, there were some really jealous people concerning the dream home win. One good friend stopped talking to us and never visited us in the dream home, even after being asked to come by many times. Some neighbors with high mortgages and seeing us move into their high end neighborhood for only $100 were very resentful. Some residents would not even talk to us. Our nicest neighbors were a family from Oregon that lived next store. They were religious and I do not think would ever place a bet; yet they bought a copy of my book, not to win the lottery, but rather because their neighbor wrote a book about the house he won. We were sad to see them return to Oregon.
One thing to note, we saw more police presence in the form of patrol cars in North Lambeth than we did in old East London. I guess rich people deserve more policing services.
I will save other stories for a future book.
The lottery not only changed our lives, it may have saved our lives because of the high crime area we lived. My stories are not being put here to brag how lucky I am, but rather we sometimes all have challenges to overcome. Winning the lottery got us away from some really bad crap. Not giving up, positive thinking and squirrel luck, shows if we can do it so can you.
We are in the process of moving again as the timing is right. We have some other things on our bucket list we need to do.
The Lotto Dream eBook is the #1 downloaded Lottery eBook this week.
|Ric Wallace was filmed in May 2010 for TLC’s Lottery Changed My Life|