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Why Doesn't HGTV Give Away an Affordable Dream Home?

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Photo of the exterior of the HGTV Dream Home 2012.

Exterior of the HGTV Dream Home 2012.

Image © 2011, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Question: Why Doesn't HGTV Give Away an Affordable Dream Home?
Every year, HGTV gives away a fantastic house in the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes. The Dream Home Sweepstakes' prize is usually worth well over a million dollars. Previous years' Dream Homes have included a custom-built home in a fabulous location, landscaping, furnishings, and more.

One of the big considerations when entering the Dream Home Sweepstakes, especially in years when cash or a cash option instead of the home are not offered, is how to pay taxes on a Dream Home prize. Which raises a common question: why doesn't HGTV give away a more affordable Dream Home?

For example, Guest Eileen wrote: "If HGTV wants to do this - why don't they make a sensible house that someone can afford?" And Guest MLD wrote: "HGTV - build a house which is maybe cheaper than $1.5M but includes all taxes etc paid and everything taken care of... It would be much more practical for people and they can keep the house."

So why doesn't HGTV build a more practical and affordable Dream Home?

Answer: The short answer is: they do. The HGTV Dream Home is not the only house that the network gives away. For example, HGTV generally gives away an energy-efficient home in the HGTV Green Home Sweepstakes which is much more affordable. The 2010 Green Home prize, which included the house, a car, and $100,000 cash, was worth a total of $788,675, in comparison to $2,038,375 for the 2010 Dream Home.

In addition, DIY, a sister site to HGTV which is also owned by the Scripps Network, gives away another home each year in the DIY Blog Cabin Sweepstakes. The 2010 Blog Cabin was worth $374,000.

So HGTV and the Scripps Network do give away affordable homes; the Dream Home simply isn't it.

The Dream Home is an opportunity for HGTV and its sponsors to show off the luxurious homes they can build. The ARV is high, but the winners truly live a dream, as 2005 Dream Home winner Don Cruz attests.

HGTV has also made winning the Dream Home easier. In 2011 and 2012, they offered not only a hefty cash prize of $500,000 cash, which would make a big dent in the taxes, but they also offered a cash option for the home. The winner would still receive the car and the cash, but instead of taking possession of the Dream Home itself, they would receive a hefty cash payout of $650,000 for the 2011 Dream Home Sweepstakes or $800,000 for the 2012 Dream Home Sweepstakes.

So if you're looking to win an affordable home, wait for the Green Home or the Blog Cabin sweepstakes, or any of the lower-value homes given away by other sponsors (check the Mega Sweepstakes List for current giveaways. And as long as HGTV is giving a cash option, enter the Dream Home Sweepstakes without fear of unbearable tax consequences. Over a million dollars in cash makes it a sweet prize, whether you want to take possession of the home or not.

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