Stay-at-home dad wins Dream Home, but will he keep it?
HGTV's Dream Home giveaway is great for inspiring fantasies, but most winners can't afford to keep the houses.
Come on, admit it. You've drooled over the HGTV Dream Home at least once over the years.
How could you not? The home is usually architecturally interesting, nestled in a beautiful spot and exquisitely photographed. This year's "don't-you-wish-you-were-there" fantasy home was a 3,000-square-foot rustic mountain lodge in Stowe, Vt.
The winner of this year's HGTV Dream Home is Eric Makstenieks of suburban Chicago, who has entered the contest every year since 2003. He even sent in an entry from the hospital the day his daughter was born.
He found out about his victory last week when HGTV designer Monica Pedersen dropped by. The award will be televised at 8 p.m. Eastern March 19.
"It hasn’t even hit us yet," Makstenieks told The Chicago Tribune's Bridget Doyle. "The most amazing part is the place is fully furnished — everything’s already set up. Place settings, napkins, towels, you name it. One of the production guys even told us there’s toothpaste in the cabinets. Do we even need a suitcase?"
Now Makstenieks and his wife, Catherine, who will see the house for the first time next month, have to decide whether they'll ever live in it.
Most winners don't.
Kathi Nakao, who worked in accounting for the state of California, won the Dream Home in St. Mary's, Ga., in 2004. She spent several vacations there, but she knew she'd never keep it.
"Ordinary people cannot keep a home like that," she told The Associated Press back in 2006, after she had sold the home. "I think it’s meant to change your life, more than that they (HGTV) expect you to keep it."
With the money from the sale of the home, she paid the taxes on her winnings -- which on a $2 million prize can total more than $600,000 -- renovated her home in Sacramento, Calif., donated to charity, helped her children and bought a 1956 Chevy hot rod.
Don Cruz, who won the 2005 Dream Home in Tyler, Texas, moved his family from Illinois with the hope of keeping the home.
But the $250,000 in cash included with their prize and the proceeds from refinancing the home went quickly. Keeping up the 6,000-square-foot home was expensive, about $2,900 a month, not including $25,000 a year in property taxes and $7,000 a year for insurance.
When the federal tax bill for $672,000 came, they sold the house at auction in 2008 for $1.32 million, netting additional money from selling the contents.
Don and Shelly Cruz told Money Magazine in 2006, before the sale of the home, that they had no regrets. "It was great to live the life of the rich and famous, if only for a year," Don Cruz said.
Puzzled and concerned, you puzzle and concern ME. You believe it's fixed but gave no reason as to why you believe so, other than the fact you didn't win. Then you lament how people that win are either well off (certainly not the case in the stories shared above) or are satisfied in life already. So what are you saying? Only people that are dissatisfied with life should win?! I know poor people that are satisfied. Should they be excluded from entering?
Then you complain because entering gives people false hopes for something you say will never come true. Well it comes true for at least 1 person a year. According to your logic, should everybody stop playing the lottery because it might give a false hope? No more entering publishers clearing house to avoid disappointment?
You have that "everyone should be a winner - all people should have the same lot in life" socialist mentality. You must have been educated in our public schools. Your reasoning's are grossly immature and definitely sour grapes. Seriously, grow up!
I believe it's fixed anyway so that HGTV can keep the public interest.. Just as usual most who win don't even intend to use the property or already seem stable and satisfied or well off. Time to let more people win and time to have more than one house at a time to give away.Those who can really can benefit never win...I hate it ...It's a nightmare for me..just takes up time and gives people false hopes for something that will never come true. It really is a dream to me .I never win and like most people I have entered the contests for all the homes daily and never won a damn thing...What's the use?