August 08, 2018

HGTV 'Dream Home' winners reveal what happens after the show

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The HGTV Dream Home winners opened up about the reason why most of them don't end up keeping their new home.

The Dream Home sweepstakes were first held in 1997, according to Country Living.

In 2018, the prize was a modern home overlooking the Puget Sound in Gig Harbor, Washington. It comes with $250,000 in cash and a brand-new Honda Accord.

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"The view from this year’s Dream Home is by far my favorite of any of the homes we’ve done," said Ron Feinbaum, the Dream Home general manager.



"I knew it was the house within five seconds of walking in based on the view alone."

Since the Dream Home's inception, the show created 21 winners. However, only six winners lived in their homes for more than a year.

Their reasons for choosing the cash price and vehicle instead of their dream home is simple: the income federal tax bill is too steep.


Add to that the costs of maintaining the house and property, utilities, real estate tax and the costs of uprooting their lives and moving to the home.

Laura Martin of Boise, Idaho, the 2014 winner, said: "Uncle Sam makes it a little difficult to take ownership."

David Rennie, the 2016 winner, said that not everyone grasps the tax burden.

"People at my church still ask me, 'Have you been to your house in Florida lately?'" he explained. "I have to tell them I wasn't able to keep it. They're surprised."


Tina Carlson, the 1998 winner from Thousand Oaks, California, is the only contestant to have kept her dream mansion for an extended period.

She used the home as a vacation property but eventually sold it in 2005 when the tax bill became too steep.

Belinda Brown of Kingston, Tennessee, the third person to ever win a Dream Home, tried to rent out the property to cover the cost of taxes. But she ended up owing the IRS almost $300,000. She decided to sell it after two years.

Winners who take the cash alternative prize of $250,000 get to keep their vehicle as well. In most cases, the participant sells the home back to developers within a year.


However, winning still changes a family's quality of life despite the let-down of not being to take residence in the mansion. In most cases, the cash prize is enough to purchase a new home of their choosing.

When a house is sold back to the developer, HGTV puts the house on the market. In most cases, the homes are bought within a month.

The 2017 house, located at Urban Oasis, Knoxville, Tennessee, was a definite favorite with the public and was sold within a few days.