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Sandra Grauschopf

HGTV Dream Home's 'Loophole' Not Really All That Exciting

By January 2, 2014

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I stumbled across an article today on Inquisitr.com titled, "HGTV Dream Home 2014: Contest Loophole Allows For Unlimited Entries. The title sounds pretty exciting, but really it's the same thing that HGTV has been offering for years. Furthermore, I don't feel it's all that good a deal.

Inquisitr writes: "...a careful reading of the rules for the HGTV Dream Home 2014 contest reveals a potentially game-changing loophole. While the online entries are limited to two per day, contestants who decided to send their entries by snail mail have no limit." It's true that you can enter as often as you like, but it's an option that HGTV has been offering for many years now, meaning it's not really changing anything. Back in 2008, I wrote this article about the subject: Should You Enter Sweepstakes Online and By Mail?

While it's true that you can enter more if you send in entries by mail as well, you have to remember that, unlike online entries, there's a cost to mail-in entries. Unless you had enough foresight to buy a Forever Stamp at a lower price, each mail-in entry will cost you $0.46 for the stamp, and a little more for the envelope and for the paper you write your entry on. (The entries have to be hand-written, so they take annoyingly long to fill in, if you ask me). So if you're planning on boosting your number of entries dramatically, you're talking about close to $0.50 for each additional chance.

If you take advantage of the free online entries, you can get a maximum of about 100 entries. To just double your entries by taking advantage of the mail-in option will cost you $50. That's a lot of money for a prize with such a long shot of winning.

And the odds are going to be long, no matter what you do. Last year's 2013 Dream Home winner, Carole Simpson, was chosen from among 77 million entries. Sheesh.

And that winning entry? It was made online, according to a WKRN news report.

The number of entries seems to grow from year to year, so let's say that there will be 80 million entries in 2014. Your $50 in postage brought your theoretical chances of winning from 1 in 800,000 to 2 in 800,000. Is that worth $50?

Your answer may be yes, but mine is usually no. I love to enter the Dream Home sweepstakes when it doesn't cost me anything. I do dream about winning, and how much fun it would be. But to pay money for that incredibly long shot? I'd rather keep that cash in my pocket.

So is the chance to send in mail-in entries a "loophole... that can dramatically increase the chances of winning" as Inquisitr states? Not at the cost per entry, to my mind. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know whether you're planning on sending in a lot of HGTV Dream Home entries by mail. And either way, make sure you're maximizing your free online entries. Good luck!


January 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm
(1) Desi pantazis says:

I love the area where the “dream home” is bit how can you classify a dream home with 2.5 bedrooms. I was so looking forward to the airing on the 1 st and make my family watch. My husband and I loved as I said the location but if I were building a dream home you need a minimum of three full bedrooms if not four. In that location you would have family busting with no place to sleep, I have three teenage girls that fight like cat and dogs if they have to share a room. I was also disappointed in the design of the interior, what’s with all the squares. Having to repaint would be a nightmare!!

Invest 1.5 million, I would certainly have a few nice, comfortable, roomy bedrooms and the squares limited to one room.

January 2, 2014 at 9:59 pm
(2) Lindsay says:

The rules also say you can mail a post card.. That would save a little bit on the postage

January 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm
(3) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

That’s a good tip, Lindsay, thank you!

January 3, 2014 at 1:12 am
(4) DeAnn O says:

I’ll probably send in a few by mail…not 100, but a few. I would NEVER send it on a postcard, however – they want your name, address, phone and birth date – that’s too much personal information for a postcard if you ask me.

January 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm
(5) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sending in a few entries by mail. It’s when they start talking about “dramatically” improving your odds that I think they’re not thinking it through. For a dramatic change, you’d need to spend a lot of money!

January 3, 2014 at 2:50 am
(6) Ronnie Schwartz says:

This is a really informative post, Sandra.

Could you post more on the odds of winning specific contests?

That would be a valuable service since most contests just say “odds of winning depends on the number of entries received.”

I will still enter HGTV’s but other contests that are more time-consuming to enter I would gladly skip if the odds of winning are so astronomically low.

What so you think?



January 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm
(7) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

Hi, Ron,

I generally don’t have any inside info about the odds of winning specific sweepstakes. Most don’t publicly announce how many entries they received, like HGTV does for the Dream Home. However, I have some tips about how to guesstimate whether a sweepstakes will be easier or harder to win. You can read them here: What Are the Best Sweepstakes to Enter? I hope that will help.

Personally, I love the Dream Home Sweepstakes. The odds might be astronomical, but it would be SO nice to win!

January 3, 2014 at 11:49 am
(8) Ginnette Powell @caffeinehusky says:

I thought it would be more about the rules loophole stating something about a background check etc…. that imo is more than how many entries and what method…

January 3, 2014 at 4:12 pm
(9) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

Ginnette Powell, I believe the background check is so that they’re not awarding their huge prize to a felon or someone else embarrassing like that. Imagine if it were a murderer or a child molester who won? It would be a PR nightmare.

January 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm
(10) Shari says:

On the entry form there is no where to check remember me for next time. Am I blind? This means we have to fill out all the info each time x 2.

January 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm
(11) Kim says:

When I pull up the entry form on FrontDoor.com on my smartphone, there is no Enter or Submit button following the data entry fields. Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

January 4, 2014 at 2:39 am
(12) MrC says:

@Kim, yes, I also don’t get any submit button on my android devices.

January 4, 2014 at 7:13 am
(13) Jim says:

Sandra, let’s not forget that there are 782 balls coming down that shute, and only ones numbered 1-18 are mail-in entry bins. The rest, 764, are virtual bins that comprise the online-entries only. The chance of a mail-in entry ball/bin being chosen is 0.023%. Is it a loophole, no, hasn’t ever been.

January 4, 2014 at 11:21 am
(14) Charlene says:

Honestly people, only in America to people find fault in a Dream Home Sweepstakes. In my opinion, if you don’t like the house, location, or way to enter to win, then don’t do it. Its just that simple! Too many people have the entitlement attitude that they forget whats being done for them. Shame on all of you.

January 4, 2014 at 10:57 pm
(15) carrie says:

I, too, am having issues with frontdoor’s entry button on my Samsung s3. I’ve contacted them, but haven’t heard anything. They need to get that sorted out.

There is no remember me check off box this year on either site-remember the good ol days when you just had to put your email and that would be it???? not user friendly this year

January 5, 2014 at 10:48 am
(16) Glass says:

How do they choose the winner? Are they chosen by computer or some other method? How do they gather all the entries of approx. 800,000 people? I would really like to know how that is done!

January 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm
(17) Genevieve says:

So if I’ve been entering on-line I can not change over to the mail in option after already have started the online one? Or if I don’t enter online for that day, can I date the mail in entries so the know what day they were done…….??? Just curious

January 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm
(18) KIm says:

Not sure I understand how 2.5 bedrooms is possible. Looks like three to me. But what I think is not being considered is that nearly everyone who might win will have to sell the house anyway as previous winners have done. Prize winnings are treated as income for taxes and the $250k in cash is unlikely to be enough to make it possible to keep the home. That said, I am still entering the contest because if I win, I would still be better off after winning. I would plan on enjoying the experience, sell the home, and use the proceeds toward the home that really would be my personal dream home. And I know that some of the features of the HGTV Dreamhome might be included in my dream home.

January 5, 2014 at 7:44 pm
(19) Denise R. says:

the rules also states you have to hand write the entry. That could be a lot of writers cramp.

January 5, 2014 at 10:46 pm
(20) mommyof2 says:

Regardless of what has been said, I am doing both online and mail in entries. I like to increase my odds, even if it is only by a small amount.
I have also always been curious as to how drawings are done when there are both online and mailed in entries.

Very informative post! Thank you!

January 6, 2014 at 12:59 am
(21) Jen says:

A few years ago they showed the process on HGTV. They have a HUGE warehouse full of “laundry bins” or “post office bins”. Each online entry is printed and then placed into large numbered bins, along with the postcard entries. Then the numbers on the bins are placed into a lottery ball system (like the powerball). The machine randomly picks a ball. The bin with the matching number is separated from all the others. All the entries that were in that bin are then placed into a rotating tub. Someone reaches in and pulls out the winning entry. Good luck everyone!

January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm
(22) fuskiegirl21 says:

I have done both online as well as mail in. I am not going to go crazy with the mail in’s. I just used up all my left over Christmas Card stamps and that it it.

January 6, 2014 at 7:22 pm
(23) Doreen says:

Regarding post card entries, the rules appear to state that postcard entries need to be placed inside an envelope anyway so there would be no postage savings. I plan on mailing in a few entries too in addition to online entries.

January 7, 2014 at 12:23 am
(24) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

Genevieve, you can enter by mail anytime you want, whether or not you’ve entered online is irrelevant. You can enter once per day on HGTV.com, once per day on FrontDoor.com, and as often as you like by mail.

January 7, 2014 at 4:56 pm
(25) Danny says:

I will stick to the online entry. As you said not much of a chance to win but someone has to…

January 13, 2014 at 11:27 am
(26) Al says:

The rules say “two entries per day per valid email”. Does this mean I can enter using multiple emails to increase my odds?

January 21, 2014 at 4:19 pm
(27) Jennifer says:

If multiple email addresses are used, how would they determine a duplicate? If so, would the contestant be disqualified or would the duplications be simply deleted?

The term used in rules are a bit vague. I thought it was per email, not per person.

January 24, 2014 at 2:11 am
(28) JimC says:

What if there is some error in your entry? Using my I pad I sometimes am typing in my info and have found I’ve hit the wrong key. I’m wondering how many entries I’ve made that I did’t catch my mistakes before hitting the enter button.

January 28, 2014 at 12:44 am
(29) Charlene Mathis says:

No! I do not plan on sending in anything to the Dream House people!
I have been hit by 2 would be SCAM’s in less than six mos. Lord, if I haven’t learned by now, someone better kick my butt!!! Seriously !! I have gotten caught up in this on line PCH Lotto $1000,000.00 Forever Sweepstakes, and as soon as it is over win or lose it along with any other that tries me are out the window, before I even know what they are all about! Oh yes and by the way, I do always feel it is a rip off the way you have to keep verifying yourself with the people who run this crap, that’s where more postage and/or your valuable time is spent! There are so many area’s you should think about. In 2011 I believe it was- I was notified on Yahoo, that I had won the sweepstakes, that Yahoo had, and I was fortunate, not to have to go to Africa, to pick up I forget how many hundred thousand $’s, all I had to do was give them my bank info. WHOA – now if that didn’t light up the bulb! so u see most of anything you see or hear that sounds to good to be TRUE- IT IS !to good to be true! Thank you for my expressing my self. Charlene Mathis

February 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm
(30) Lpg says:

Hypathetically speaking, so if I was charged in a crime, white collar, nothing violent or involving drugs, and it has been over a decade ago I would still be disqualified?? You know…if a person is able to be employed and have a steady work history, contribute to society and be successful regardless of their background blemish, they should still have a shot.

March 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm
(31) Anna says:

4 bedroom or 2.5 bedrooms. It doesnt matter. it’s better than nothing. You could find a cozy spot anywhere in this beautiful house to sleep. I, just like 80 million of other people, wish I won. To spend .50c per entry? Nnnaahh. This is like lottery anyway. So when you think of lottery for free, doesnt it make you feel better that if you din’t win, you at least didnt spend the money? Free lottery! how can you go wrong with that??!! :)

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