Winning a house might sound like a dream come true, and that’s exactly what HGTV has been offering to lucky contestants since 1997 through their special TV series called the HGTV Dream Home. These breathtaking homes are crafted by HGTV experts and then gifted to the fortunate winners. But, did you ever wonder if everyone who wins these stunning homes ends up living in them?
The Prize Package: More Than Just a House
When you win an HGTV Dream Home, it’s not just the house that comes your way. In fact, the prize package is quite spectacular, including cash, a brand-new car, and various other goodies. The total value of these prizes can range from a whopping one to three million dollars. While many might be tempted to move into their dream house immediately, there are those who opt for a different path.
The Choice to Sell
Contrary to what some may believe, HGTV Dream Home winners have the option to sell their newly acquired homes. This often leads to the question: Why would someone sell such a dreamy abode?
The Financial Burden
Owning a luxurious home isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. These beautiful houses also come with a hefty price tag in the form of property taxes and income taxes, which the winners are responsible for. The dream might turn into a financial nightmare for some, making them ponder whether they should keep the house or take the cash prize instead.
The Temptation of Dreamy Dwellings
Despite the financial challenges, the allure of these modern minimalist masterpieces and charming rustic farmhouses can be hard to resist. The winners often find themselves torn between holding onto their dream home or opting for the financial stability offered by the cash prize.
A Struggle to Keep the Dream Alive
It’s no easy task for winners to maintain these grand homes. HGTV revealed that out of the first 10 Dream House winners, only one managed to keep their home, and just six out of the first 21 winners actually lived in their new houses for more than a year.
To illustrate the point, let’s take a look at some real-life examples. The 2020 winner, Susan O’Gorman, chose the cash prize and listed her new home for sale in the same year. Similarly, the 2011 winner, Eric Makstenieks, attempted to use their Vermont ski-in, ski-out lodge as a vacation home but ended up selling it for $2.7 million, which was less than the $3.8 million estimated by HGTV.
Taxes Take Their Toll
One common thread among these cases is the hefty taxes that come with owning such grand properties. Taxes, including property and sales taxes, can take a substantial bite out of the winnings, making it challenging for winners to sustain their dream homes.