Lucky house back on the market — for charity raffle

A family who won a luxury five-bedroom house as prices skyrocketed in the boom are handing it back for charity — bed-linen and all.

Lucky house back on the market — for charity raffle

The McLaughlins are giving back the keys to their €165,000 home at 58 Mulberry Avenue, Buncrana, Co Donegal, to help the autism charity that first raffled it in 2006.

“It’s time for us to move on. We are building a new house and that has only been made possible because of all the money we saved living mortgage-free for the past seven years,” said Carleen McLaughlin.

“We were going to sell the house on the open market, but then the light-bulb moment came and it was as clear as black and white — it could be raffled again to help Inishowen Children’s Autism Related Education (iCARE).

“The thinking was, they would get the funds they desperately need and we would get the market price for the house — and the gift of no mortgage would be handed to somebody new.”

The mother of two and husband Mark run a concrete flooring business and have suffered from the collapse in the building industry.

They’ve had two healthy children, Ailbhe, 5, and Oisin, 3, since moving into their lucky Mulberry Avenue house and say it has been a “very happy home”.

“We hope the new owners are as happy as we were here. We have had really great times and we have lovely neighbours.

“We could have sold the house the day we won it for €250,000 but I’m glad we didn’t.”

The property the family is leaving behind is fully furnished and was recently valued by two local estate agents at €165,000.

But the big-hearted couple have knocked €10,000 off the price to help the charity further. They are also centrally involved in the raffle which will be drawn next June. Tickets are €20 and it is hoped sales will surpass the 19,000 sold last time.

Meanwhile, the McLaughlins hope to move into their new dream home by the sea outside Buncrana six weeks before the winner is announced. They are conscious they might not receive their €155,000 for some time after the draw but say they’ll be ready for the move.

Carleen said: “We’ve been building our new house slowly as and when we could afford it over the past four years. It is fully up but we still need to do all the interiors.”

Angela Tourish of iCARE said the charity was delighted with the family’s generosity.

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