By Amanada Orr

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A home in a popular Houston neighborhood valued at nearly $400,000 has been put on the block for the sale price of $1 and one compelling essay.

Husband and wife Michael and Stephanie Wachs are moving to a home closer to their daughter's preschool and want the owners of their old home to move in without being burdened by a mortgage.

They are asking hopeful buyers to submit a 200-word essay along with a $150 offer fee to bid on their 1,056-square-foot (98-square-metre), two-bedroom cottage.

It would take about 2,500 offer fees to collect the home's appraised value. As of Friday morning, 300 essays had come in, but not all of the applicants had paid the offer fee.

The essayist chosen will be responsible for the taxes, title policy and $1 contract price.

"It’s not a contest. These are heartstring letters, which are common in real-estate transactions when you have multiple offers on a house,” Michael Wachs said.

They were inspired when they read about a Maine bed and breakfast being sold in a similar fashion.

The couple is asking close friends and family not to apply and for potential buyers not to include any identifying information in the essays, which are due by mid-June.

If they do not choose a buyer, they will refund all offer fees.

"My wife and I have the same tastes so we'll probably split the reading work in half evenly and then each come back with our 20 favorites and narrow it down from there,” Michael Wachs said.

 

(Reporting by Amanada Orr; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Eric Beech)