Write a letter, win a house.

That’s the concept behind an Alberta homeowner’s unique bid to sell her sprawling mansion, tucked in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Alla Wagner listed her home last year for $1.7 million. Located in Millarville, Alta., about 65 kilometres southwest of Calgary, the house boasts a large lot, walls of windows and – at 5,000 square feet – more than enough space for a family.

But after five months on the market, the house didn’t sell. So Wagner came up with a new idea.

She’s invited up to 68,000 entrants to submit brief, 350-word letters explaining why they should win the house. Each entrant must submit an entrance fee of $25.

“What do I have to lose? Like, I have nothing to lose,” she told CTV Calgary.

Wagner got the idea from a similar concept in the United States and from the 1996 movie “The Spitfire Grill.”

She hopes to attract enough buzz to offset the cost of the sale with the writing contest. Plus, she likes the idea of giving the home to a worthy owner.

The plan, according to Wagner’s online ad, is to select 500 finalists. Their letters will then be read by an independent panel of judges, who will determine one winner.

Five per cent of the net profit will also be donated to a women's shelter in Calgary.

Among the conditions: the total of all entry fees must reach the minimum of the home’s listing price. The contest will be cancelled if Wagner doesn’t receive enough entries or if the house is sold. Refunds will then be issued, Wagner says.

Mulling through the submissions is tedious work, but Wagner says she knows it will be worth it.

“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 that it’s going to be a beautiful story in the end.”