Last year's Live Free winners share how the prize changed their life! Will you be next?

Chloe and Jake Stevens, winners of last year’s The Hits Live Free contest, are close to reaching their goal of buying a house in Napier.

Chloe and Jake Stevens, winners of last year’s The Hits Live Free contest, are close to reaching their goal of buying a house in Napier.

A Hawke’s Bay family are close to landing their dream home thanks to a radio competition win that changed their life. 

Chloe Stevens and her husband Jake scooped $27,000 last year after taking part in the Live Free competition run by The Hits radio station and OneRoof. 

The prize money had given them "room to breathe" and "took all that pressure off”, Chloe told OneRoof this week. 

Chloe said they spent most of the winnings on finishing the renovation of their 1900s villa in Waipukurau. 

The couple's goal is to sell the refreshed four-bedroom house and move to Napier with their three children - Isabella, 16, Hunter, 15, and Madelaine, 9. 


The property at 7 Gaisford Terrace is listed for sale on OneRoof and seeking buyer enquiries of over $599,000. Chloe revealed that the family had received a conditional offer which they hoped would go unconditional at the end of the month, finally giving them a budget to upgrade to Napier. 

“We feel very privileged and, and very lucky to be where we are,” Chloe told OneRoof. 

"[The prize money] just took all that pressure off. You know, if anything goes wrong with the vehicles, you could just fix it. You didn’t even need to think, you’re like, ‘just do it’.” 

The prize money also helped in other ways. 

When the couple bought their Gaisford Terrace home four years ago, they had just made some big life changes. Jake had left dairy farming and started a building apprenticeship and Chloe had retrained in business. 

Chloe and Jake used part of their winnings to finish renovations on their house in Waipukurau. Photo / Supplied

The money allowed Jake to go back to working five days a week, instead of six, and he now has a new job in Hastings. 

Chloe and Jake were also able to sell off a 635sqm parcel of land, which they had carved off their section. That brought in useful cash at the end of last year. "We sold the land instantly in late December and now we’re selling the house. It just gave us a room to breathe," Chloe said. 

The family did give themselves some treats: a trip to the South Island with Jake’s parents, who had helped them with the renovation, a girls’ trip for Chloe, and a fun New Year’s holiday in a motel – a first for the kids. 

“Where we've got to today is down to our children as well. They’ve been our number one supporters,” she said. 

The Hits' Live Rent or Mortgage Free For a Year contest is running again this year, and the lucky finalists will be vying for the now $30,000 prize money next Friday at a grand showdown in Auckland. 

Chloe's advice to those taking part was to enjoy the moment. “The whole experience is surreal, looking back on it. What I would say to the people doing it this year is just live in it because it’s just amazing. The trip up to Auckland, even the nerves before – just savour it.” 

She said she and Jake had paused to think about what to do with the money before making any plans. “You’re looking at your bank account, going ‘oh my goodness’. But my next piece of advice is just to sit with it for a while. We wanted this money to help us, to prepare us for the future.” 

Mortgage broker Gareth Veale, of EasyStreet Mortgages, big money prizes "can be life-changing”. Renters, he said, could become homeowners with an extra $30,000. 

The refreshed villa, which is under contract, is seeking offers over $599,000. Photo / Supplied

“If you’re a first-home buyer, it’s a great opportunity. With Kāinga Ora’s First Home Loan scheme, that $30,000 is a $600,000 house purchase," Veale told OneRoof. 

“Obviously, a winner has still got to prove they can repay the $570,000 loan, but for most people, depending on where they are, they might be able to get their first rung on the property ladder.” 

Winners who already have savings could look at buying with a 10% deposit, Veale said, with the major banks now processing more low-deposit loans. 

“Even in Auckland, I see properties for sale in that $600,000 range. It might only be a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom place, but it’s a first rung on the ladder." 

Veale said his advice to anyone who comes to him with a windfall was to purchase property, either a first home or an investment property. 

“Or pay down the debt, it helps you in the future. Maybe spend a little on a holiday, but paying debt is the best thing you can do for your future. It could be your only opportunity,” he said. 

7 Gaisford Terrace, in Waipukurau, Central Hawke's Bay, is seeking buyer enquiries over $599,000 

This article was first published by OneRoof and is republished here with permission. 

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