Anyone who watches HGTV at the end of the year has probably dreamed of winning the HGTV Dream Home. The network’s longest-running and biggest contest attracts so much attention, most likely because the houses get bigger and the prizes get sweeter every year. HGTV just announced that the 2020 Dream Home is situated on the coastal paradise of Hilton Head. You can start entering for your chance to win on December 30.
There are a few things to know before getting your hopes up, however, like how winning the Dream Home isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. Plus, most winners have one important thing in common.
Following their method won’t guarantee a win, but it will help your chances.
Most Dream Home winners do this one thing
So how do you win? Most winners use one simple strategy: enter as often as possible.
“I entered twice a day religiously,” 2017 Smart Home winner Stacy Bolder told Country Living. 2010 Dream Home winner Myra Lewis also entered daily thanks to her sister, who reminded her to never miss a day. Carole Simpson snagged the 2013 Dream Home because she never gave up hope. She entered the contest for years before taking home top prize.
Dream Home general manager Ron Feinbum explained, “We see so many social-media posts that say, ‘I’m going to enter again this year but I’ll never win.”
“And yet, real people win it every time: teachers, retirees, firefighters, postal workers,” he said. Anyone can win the Dream Home. Even you.
Dream Home winners are faced with a huge tax liability
One of the rudest awakenings for any HGTV Dream Home winner is the huge expense that goes along with it. Even with the cash and the car as part of their winnings, most lucky winners don’t remain living in the house for more than a year or two.
“Uncle Sam makes it a little difficult to take ownership,” Laura Martin told Country Living. She won the 2014 HGTV Dream Home in Lake Tahoe but couldn’t stay because of the tax burden.
“It was like, it’s going to be $1 million to keep your free home,” one winner explained.
It’s still life-changing to win the Dream Home
But despite the challenges of taking ownership, winning the HGTV Dream Home does come with some nice perks. Many winners go for the cash option, which gives them the ability to renovate their existing home, buy a new house, or simply live more comfortably.
“Winning one of these homes is life-changing in that recipients either pick up their things and move or they suddenly have a large savings account,” Feinbaum said. “The outcome depends on the individual winner but the overarching theme is that, if you win, it’s life-changing.”
Want proof? 2005 winner Don Cruz moved into his Dream Home, got foreclosed on, and wound up $430,000 in debt. But he still enters the contest every year hoping he’ll win again. To hear him tell it, the Winner’s Weekend makes all the drama worth it.
You’ll never know if you don’t try!