Almost No One Can Afford to Keep the HGTV Dream Home When They Win (2023)

The HGTV Dream Home is one of the mostanticipated reveals of the entire year. Every fall, the network announces anew location for this fantasy property and then encourages viewers to enter fortheir chance to win. It seems like being selected as the HGTV Dream Home winnerwould be like winning the lottery.

But in reality, winning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The Dream Home contest launched in 1997 and in more than two decades since most of the winners have had one very interesting thing in common. Instead of retiring in luxury in their new abodes, most of these Dream Home winners didn’t get to keep the house. One of them even wound up bankrupt.

The Dream Home prize is too good to be true

Winning a large ticket item like a house or a car comes withone unfortunate side effect: taxes. Even though the grand prize includes extraslike a new car and a nice chunk of cash, the tax liability on such an enormoushome is too much for most people to handle.

“Uncle Sam makes it a littledifficult to take ownership,” Laura Martin told Country Living. She wonthe 2014 HGTV Dream Home, a stunning lake house in Lake Tahoe. But even though shewanted to live in her new home, she couldn’t make it work.

Most people who win the HGTV Dreamhome don’t live there

According to Country Living, outof 21 people who won the Dream Home up until 2018, only 6 have livedin their house for more than one year. The others took the cash alternativeor sold the home back to the developers in under a year.

(Video) How much do you pay in taxes if you win the HGTV Dream Home?

For people who seem so excited tobe winning, it seems like a harsh reality. But owning a gigantic house costs alot of money, plus the taxes can be well into seven figures. “It was like, it’sgoing to be $1 million to keep your free home,” one winner lamented.

Winners can’t live in their homeseven if they try

Almost No One Can Afford to Keep the HGTV Dream Home When They Win (1)

Don Cruz won in 2005 and lived inthe house for two years before going into foreclosure. He estimates his taxliability was close to$800,000. He told reporters that by the time he was forced to give up the house,he was $1.4 million in debt.

It’s clear that many of the winners truly want to change their lives and enjoy their new homes. But uprooting their lives and moving to a new location is complicated. And unless they had huge savings accounts to begin with, keeping the house is almost impossible.

They still appreciate winning theDream Home

Almost No One Can Afford to Keep the HGTV Dream Home When They Win (2)

Despite all these challenges,many of the winners say becoming an HGTV Dream Home owner changes everything.

“Winning one of these homes islife-changing in that recipients either pick up their things and move or theysuddenly have a large savings account,” Dream Home general manager Ron Feinbaumtold Country Living. “The outcome depends on the individual winner, but theoverarching theme is that, if you win, it’s life-changing.”

It can be pretty sweet to win the Dream House. Just don’t expect to live in it.


Has anyone ever been able to keep the HGTV dream home? ›

As of January 2021 , only six of the first twenty-one sweepstakes winners were able to live in their Dream Home for longer than a year. A few took out mortgages so that they could live in the homes; some filed for bankruptcy.

Can you sell the HGTV Dream Home if you win it? ›

If the winner chooses this option, they receive the associated prizes like the vehicles, cash, and furnishings, but HGTV retains the rights to the house. Usually, they sell the home to a private bidder.

How much taxes do you have to pay if you win the HGTV dream home? ›

Santo said the winner also has to pay income tax. According to HGTV, the grand prize includes the fully furnished house, plus $50,000 cash, valued at a total of about $684,000. Santo says the winner will be taxed at the top federal rate of 37 percent. Add on state taxes, and they'll owe between $238,000 - $266,000.

What is the cash payout for HGTV Dream Home 2022? ›

She is the winner of the HGTV® Dream Home 2022 sweepstakes, a grand prize package valued at over $2.4 million.

How many HGTV Dream Home winners kept the house? ›

And, it seems the winners don't even get to enjoy their dream digs for very long. Country Living reported that by 2018, with over 20 HGTV Dream Home winners crowned, only 28% of the winners actually lived in the home for over a year.

What is the value of the 2023 HGTV Dream Home? ›

Enter daily, once at and once at, for your chance to win HGTV Dream Home 2023, a grand-prize package valued at over $2.7 million!

Do HGTV home buyers get paid? ›

To put it simply, no. While HGTV doesn't specifically address payment in their application, they do note that homeowners now must have a $100,000 renovation budget (this requirement was previously $50,000 and then $75,000). So we assume that means participants are not in this for the paycheck!

Can you airbnb a HGTV Dream Home? ›

But here's a bit of information that the HGTV fans may not be aware of - many of the stylish homes appearing on the network's shows are available as vacation rentals through websites such as HomeAway, Airbnb and VRBO.

Where is the 2023 HGTV Dream Home? ›

See every stunning space from HGTV Dream Home 2023, a grand mountain escape packed with high-end design and located in Morrison, Colorado.

How do I avoid paying taxes on prize winnings? ›

You will owe federal income taxes on lottery winnings, and depending on where you live, your state may want a cut of your money as well.
5 ways to avoid taxes on lottery winnings
  1. Consider lump-sum vs. annuity payments. ...
  2. Charitable donations. ...
  3. Gambling losses. ...
  4. Other deductions. ...
  5. Hire a tax professional.

Why are taxes so high on HGTV dream home? ›

That means you'll pay taxes at your marginal rate because the value of the prize is on top of any income you've earned from employment and investments. Another problem: Most dream home prizes are located in areas with higher costs of living.

Do the winners of HGTV Homes keep them? ›

The winner of the sweepstakes walks away with the HGTV Dream Home, a perfectly renovated, brand-new home situated in a cute, often expensive neighborhood in America.

Has a Winner been chosen for the HGTV Dream Home 2022? ›

Brian Patrick Flynn delivers a jaw-dropping surprise to the winner of the cabin-inspired HGTV Dream Home 2022 in Vermont, an all-new Jeep Grand Wagoneer and $250,000.

What car comes with HGTV Dream Home? ›

The large, two car garage and extra wide driveway create ample room for parking even larger vehicles like the All-New 2022 Grand Wagoneer that comes with HGTV Dream Home 2022.

How many bedrooms and bathrooms are in the HGTV Dream Home? ›

Designed by Western Design Group and built by Mountain Plain Homes, the 4,360-square-foot property boasts three bedrooms and three bathrooms. HGTV decorator Brian Patrick Flynn, who helmed the house's interior design, spoke with PEOPLE about its unique style and one-of-a-kind features.

Has the HGTV Smart Home Winner been chosen? ›

Meet the lucky winner of HGTV Smart Home 2022 in Wilmington, NC. Congratulations to Leah Nadorff of Columbia, South Carolina; she is the winner of the HGTV® Smart Home 2022 sweepstakes, a grand prize package valued at over $1.2 million dollars. "It's a whirlwind. Totally surreal.

Does the HGTV Dream Home 2023 have a basement? ›

Host Brian revealed that the "dreamy mountain giveaway" has a lower level that is a garage and a basement, while up above it is a single-story living at its best. The house also has a massive central break room and an open kitchen with gorgeous cabinets along with a sprawling island.

When can you enter to win the HGTV dream home? ›

Promotion starts at 9:00 a.m. ET December 23, 2022 and ends at 5:00 p.m. ET on February 16, 2023. For full Official Rules, prize disclosures, and to enter, visit or

Do families from HGTV get to keep the furniture? ›

Do homeowners on HGTV shows get to keep the furniture? Speaking of inside the home, many viewers swoon over the final layouts. But here's the kicker: More often than not, the homes are staged, meaning the homeowners don't get to keep the furniture and decor that's shown on TV.

How much does it cost to be on HGTV? ›

All homeowners must have a renovation budget of at least $75,000 to be featured on the show. A break from the standard rule, homeowners that appear on HGTV's “Unsellable Houses” are not required to provide upfront funding for renovations on their property.

How are HGTV renovations so cheap? ›

"HGTV pays for some labor or costs to expedite production if needed, but generally, homeowners are paying for their services. And, they may have access to discounted services or goods." So a new kitchen island that costs $1,000 might actually cost $3,000 if the homeowners weren't being featured on a TV show.

How much does it cost to host your house with Airbnb? ›

Most Hosts pay a flat service fee of 3% of the booking subtotal. The subtotal is your nightly price plus any optional fees you charge guests, like a cleaning fee, and doesn't include Airbnb fees and taxes. Guests typically pay a service fee of around 14% of the booking subtotal.

Is it better to take lump sum or annuity lottery? ›

Choosing a lump-sum payout can help winners avoid long-term tax implications and also provides the opportunity to immediately invest in high-yield financial options like real estate and stocks. Electing a long-term annuity payout can have major tax benefits. Federal taxes reduce lottery winnings immediately.

How do you get your prizes home from the price is right? ›

How do people collect their prizes if they win? After someone wins a prize a producer will ask them to return to the front of the stage after the show where all the necessary paperwork will be done for the prizing.

What percentage does the IRS take from winnings? ›

The IRS will automatically take 24% of your winnings off the top, and the rest will be due at tax time. Around $17.82 million in federal income tax will be owed, per year, for each of the remaining 27 payments.

What is the most watched show on HGTV? ›

With Home and Garden Television (HGTV) (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)
  1. Escape to the Chateau (2016–2022) ...
  2. Christina in the Country (2023– ) ...
  3. Fixer Upper (2013–2018) ...
  4. Fixer to Fabulous (2019– ) ...
  5. Property Brothers: Forever Home (2019– ) ...
  6. Property Brothers (2011–2019) ...
  7. My Lottery Dream Home (2015– ) ...
  8. House Hunters (1999– )


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