HGTV Dream Home 2021
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HGTV Dream Home's Loophole: The High Cost of Boosting Your Odds
Everyone wants to find ways to improve their chances of winning a big giveaway like the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes. So when Inquisitr published an article titled, "HGTV Dream Home 2014: Contest Loophole Allows For Unlimited Entries," a lot of people paid attention, hoping to learn a secret that would help them win.
However, the headline doesn't live up to its promises. The "loophole" is simply an alternate entry method that HGTV has offered for years. Furthermore, using it (or at least over-using it) isn't a great deal for entrants.
Note that the Inquisitr article deals specifically with the 2014 giveaway, but the information is valid for all of HGTV's Dream Home giveaways.
What's the HGTV Dream Home "Loophole"?
While the Inquisitr promises "a potentially game-changing loophole," all they're actually talking about is using an AMOE to send in entries by mail.
Until 2020, the Dream Home Sweepstakes offered a way around their sweepstakes entry restrictions: they let people enter twice per day online, but they could send in as many entries as they wanted through the postal service.
In 2020 and 2021, HGTV changed their Dream Home rules to make entries available only online. However, the rules might change again, or other giveaways might offer unlimited entry by mail, so it's still worth considering whether sending entries by mail is worthwhile for you.
In theory, this meant that you can stack the odds in your favor by sending in a ton of entries. However, that didn't mean there was a loophole that would give you great odds of winning.
It's true that you could use the mail-in entry method to send in as many entries as you like, but it's not a game-changer. And entering sweepstakes online and by mail increases your risk because you're introducing a financial component to a free giveaway.
This "Loophole" Has a Cost
While it's true that you can improve your chances of winning the Dream Home if you send in unlimited entries by mail, you have to consider 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 $0.55 for the stamp, plus a little more for the envelope and for the paper you write your entry on. So if you're planning on boosting your number of entries dramatically, you're talking about $0.60 or more for each additional chance.
And that doesn't even consider the time you'll spend entering by mail. The HGTV Dream Home's mail-in entries have to be hand-written, so each entry takes valuable time that you could spend entering other giveaways or doing other things.
Do the Math Regarding Your Chances of Winning
Getting more legitimate entries always helps to improve your odds of winning, but when you're talking about big giveaways with lots of entries, the boost to your odds may not be significant.
The odds are long, no matter what you do. 2021 Dream Home winner Jeff Yanes's entry was chosen from among 136 million entries. And that winning entry? It was made online. When entering costs you money, you have to take a hard look at the payoff.
If you take advantage of the Dream Home Sweepstakes's free online entries, you can get a maximum of about 100 entries (this can vary from year to year, depending on how long the entry period is). Just to double your entries by taking advantage of the mail-in option will cost you $60 in postage alone. And that brings your odds up to... 200 in 136 million, or about 675,000 to one. Ugh.
That's a lot of money for a prize with such long odds of winning.
Would you bet a friend $60 that you could pick a random number between 1 and 675,000? You'd be better off keeping that $60 in your pocket. Plus, just about every year, more HGTV Dream Home winners face more competition than the year before.
By entering every day online, you bring your odds of winning from "impossible" to one in 1.36 million. Not great, but if you lose, you haven't lost anything except the brief time it takes to fill out and submit an entry form.
By paying around $60, you only increase those chances from one in 135,000,000 to one in 675,000. And if you lose, which is realistically the most likely outcome, you're out the $60.
So is the chance to send in mail-in entries a "loophole... that can dramatically increase the chances of winning" as Inquisitr states? The increase is not that dramatic, and the cost is pretty steep.
If you want to, you can go ahead and use the mail-in entries, too. You never know which entry will win, so you could send in a single mail-in entry, a dozen, or more. If you find it fun and you don't mind losing the money, go for it.
But however you decide to enter, make sure you're maximizing your free online entries so you have the deck stacked as much as possible in your favor, without costing you a cent.
What REALLY Happens to HGTV Dream Home Winners?
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of HGTV’s Dream Home giveaway, the popular cable network is sparing no expense. Not only will the winner receive a sprawling 3,300-square-foot seaside house 10 minutes from Newport, Rhode Island, he or she will get a $250,000 mortgage and a brand new motor home.
It sounds like the perfect prize, and millions of past entrants no doubt have thought the same. But, we’re all adults here…so we know that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The “Reality” of Reality Home Television
As it turns out, it’s not unusual for winners of contests like this to be forced to sell the properties because they can’t afford the income taxes, property taxes or even the upkeep. Even winners of home make-overs must often sell.
According to HGTV, only one of the first 10 Dream House winners has been able to hang on to their winnings. Just six of the first 21 winners actually lived in their new digs for more than a year.
The longest “survivor,” the 1998 winner, kept her dream home in Florida for eight years before selling it. But after taking out a mortgage on the place to pay her taxes, according to Country Living magazine, she used it only as a vacation property.
When it became obvious that most winners were unable to keep their prizes, many opted to take the cash option HGTV began offering. Others sold their prize homes, often back to their builders, and rarely at full value.
What’s the Problem With Dream Homes, Anyway?
Taxes, mostly. Since the winnings are considered income, Uncle Sam wants his cut. And often, so does the state in which the property is located, as do other local jurisdictions which may have taxing authority.
If you’re lucky enough to win an HGTV Dream Home, you’ll be responsible for federal income taxes on the value of the property or improvements, plus state income tax, depending on your state of residence. 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. Compound that even further with property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, utilities and maintenance costs are recurring charges. Oh, and let’s not forget…you may have to furnish the place.
Most people can’t take the hit if they opt to keep the property, so they take the money and run. However, if you take the cash option, which in the example above is “just” $1.262 million, the feds would ding you for slightly less than $500,000. You’d also owe state income taxes, but there wouldn’t by any property taxes. Nice little windfall.
(READ MORE: The Real Costs of House Flipping That HGTV Doesn’t Show You)
A Snapshot of Past Winners
The 2007 winner actually ended up declaring bankruptcy, in part because he couldn’t afford the $2.5 million Texas mansion he won, though not for lack of effort. He listed the place for $5.5 million, but after it went into foreclosure it sold for $1.43 million – $1 million less than the local real estate community said it was worth.
The 2008 winner would have had to pay sales tax of roughly $700,000 plus $20,000 more annually for property taxes, so she sold her new Florida Keys house for $1.65 million. But just 14 months later, her buyer listed it for sale $1.599 million. It took two more years to sell, and for only $899,000.
The sales tax on the 2009 house was $500,000, and the property tax was $25,000. So three months after winning the Sonoma, Calif., manse, the winner sold it for $2.2 million. The buyer was the builder, who marked it up 10% and resold it. But there was a bright spot – the winner donated the contents of the home, valued at $187,000, to charity.
The 2010 winner also took a big haircut when she sold the New Mexico house she won. She listed it for $1.195 million, only to sell it for $899,000.
The 2011 winners tried to use their new Vermont ski-in, ski-out lodge as a vacation home but only managed to use it five times before deciding to sell it, Tedesco reports. The place sold for $2.7 million, more than a million less than the $3.8 million HGTV said it was worth.
The 2019 winner, Beverly Fulkerson of Osgood, Ind., won a 3,650-square-foot Montana mountain retreat.
Finally, last year’s HGTV Dream Home winner took home a 3,500-square-foot house valued at more than $2 million in Pittsburgh, Pa.
There’s no word yet on how the last two winners are faring, but the moral of this story is still clear: unless winners of these types of giveaways plan to sell the places they already own and move, they probably can’t afford the hit. On the other hand, selling your winnings – or taking the cash instead – could result in a nice profit.
After reading all of this hasn’t deterred you from entering, that’s ok – at least you know what to expect! Entrants have until 5 p.m. Feb. 17 to enter, and you can enter twice daily until the deadline at HGTV.com, where you will find all the details and the official rules.
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Syndicated newspaper columnist, Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing market and all it entails for more than 50 years. He is an award-winning journalist who worked at two major Washington, D.C. newspapers and is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.
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HGTV's Dream Home Giveaway: What Would-Be Winners Should Know
What Is the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway?
The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway is an annual sweepstakes from the Scripps Network's Home and Garden Television channel, which has run since 1997. Every year, HGTV uses a series of HGTV Dream Home television specials to showcase a gorgeous new home that their experts have built, then give it away. Dream Home winners receive prize packages including the house, cash, a car, and more totaling between one and three million dollars!
Since its 1997 conception, the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes has since grown into one of America's biggest and most popular giveaways. How many people usually enter? The number has risen every year so far. In 1998, 2.5 million entries were received, but the 2016 HGTV Dream Home winner's name was chosen from among 127 million entries!
How to Enter and Win the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway:
If you want to know when the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway starts, look for an announcement toward the end of each year. Rules can change from year to year, but here are some tips on how it usually works.
Typically, entry is open to residents of the United States. To enter, you have to be at least 21 years. You're allowed to enter the Dream House sweepstakes every day, and in some years you can rack up extra entries for activities like referring friends, entering through partner websites, and other methods. Be sure to check each year for changes to these giveaway rules.
You can also enter the HGTVDream Home giveaway by mail, and unlike entering online, you can enter as often as you want through the postal service.
Although it's alluring to think that you can get so many more entries by mail (some websites have even reported this as a loophole to be manipulated), check out should I enter sweepstakes online and by mail for the pros and cons.
If you'd like to enter by mail, I'd suggest setting a budget first. Decorating your envelopes might not be a bad idea, either. In their blog post about the 2016 Winner Drawing, HGTV showcased several of the beautifully decorated envelopes they received. No word on whether one of them was the winner, though!
If you're curious about the winner selection process, and how HGTV fairly selects a winner from among millions and millions of entries sent online and by mail, check out How HGTV Selects Winners.
How will you know if you've won? HGTV typically surprises their winners with an "ambush". They recruit friends and family to help set up a surprise announcement, and film the winners' reactions.
How the HGTV Dream Home Is Built:
HGTV's experts scour America for the right setting for each year's Dream Home. Previous year's homes have included beach getaways like the 2016 Dream Home in Merritt Island, Florida, a luxurious farmhouse in Sonoma, California, a mountain retreat in Stowe, Vermont, and many other dream locations.
After the location is chosen, construction begins. From 1997 through 2015, HGTV built a brand-new Dream Home. In 2016, they broke the mold by doing a total makeover of a pre-existing house.
Either way, HGTV's experts create a home that any family would dream of owning, and document each step of the way. They show the construction on television and by free videos on their website, inspiring viewers to make similar upgrades in their own homes.
Once the home is constructed, they bring in expert interior and exterior designers to make that year's HGTV Dream Home even more gorgeous.
In order to design each year's home in a way that respects and pays homage to its surroundings, HGTV uses locally-sourced materials, local artisans, and local vegetation in its landscaping.
And when the house is completely done, HGTV just gives it away.
What Do Dream Home Sweepstakes Winners Receive?
Each year's HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes winner receives the home itself, all of the artwork and furnishings inside the home, a big cash prize, and a new vehicle. Sometimes, additional prizes, like a doggie dream homefor pets or a new boat for waterfront properties, are also included.
The total prize value routinely reaches $2 million or more.
In some years, the winner is giving the option of choosing a cash prize instead of taking possession of the Dream Home itself. 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.
Take Note: Even If You Win the Dream Home, You Probably Won't Live In It
For many people who dream of winning the HGTV Dream Home, finding out that you probably won't be taking up residence in its luxurious halls is a disappointment.
Why don't Dream Home winners live in their homes? While the tasteful design and luxurious details make it tempting to try to move in, most Dream Homes are impractical for a family to actually live in. Many of the homes are too large for most families, with high utility and other costs.
But more to the point for most people, the taxes on a prize worth over a million dollars can be crushing. See Could Taxes Spell the End of the Dream for HGTV Winners? for more information.
In the past, some people have criticized HGTV for giving away a home most winners can't afford to keep. However, HGTV and its parent company, the Scripps Network, gives away several homes each year, many of which are more affordable. For more information, see Why Doesn't HGTV Give Away a More Affordable Dream Home?
But even if you can't keep the home itself, it's absolutely still worth trying to win. For one example, read my interview with 2005 winner Don Cruz, who had to sell his home but had a blast in the time he owned it, and made lifelong friends. If you accept that you'll need to sell the house or take a cash option, you'll walk away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes, plus a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Tour Previous HGTV Dream Homes:
Want to know what the big deal about the HGTV Dream Homes is and why so many people want to win one of these amazing homes? Here are photo tours of many of the beautiful homes that have been given away so far:
Current Sweepstakes from HGTV and Its Partners:
Hgtvdreamhome sweepstakes www
We're giving away awesome prizes all of the time. Enter for your chance to win trips, cash, and stunning vacation homes!
HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway 2021
Now through November 22 at 5 pm ET, enter twice daily, once on HGTV and once on TLC, for your chance to win HGTV Urban Oasis® 2021, a bold remodeled escape located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tour every stunning space now.
Air Wick Scents of the Season Sweepstakes
Enter daily for your chance to win a $4,000 grand prize! Sweepstakes ends at 5 pm ET on November 22.
HGTV Houses with History $5K Giveaway
Watch Houses with History each Wednesday at 9|8c and look for a special code to enter for your chance to win $5,000! A new code will be revealed weekly, giving you more chances to win.
HGTV's Designer of the Year Awards
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From Our Sister Sites
Travel Channel Ghostober Giveaway
Now through November 3 at 8:59 am ET, enter twice online daily, once on Travel Channel and again on ID CrimeFeed for your chance to win $10,000!
Travel Channel Summer Fun Giveaway
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Travel Channel Dreaming of Travel Giveaway
Thomas B. - Scappoose, OR
Dream It True Sweepstakes presented by HGTV Home® by Sherwin-Williams
Grand Prize Winner: Julie C. - Crossville, TN
Wilbur D. - Denham Springs, LA
Darelyn H. - Groton, CT
Kelly M. - Savannah, GA
Christian L. - Liberty Twp, OH
Emery G. - North Conway, NH
James M. - Newland, NC
Kerry B. - Cantonment, FL
Barbara B. - Thomaston, GA
Charles F. - Yukon, OK
Serengeti $20K Safari Sweepstakes
Gerald R. - Washington, IL
Discovery Shark Week Sweepstakes
Belinda A. - Live Oak, TX
Travel Channel Get Outside Giveaway
Debora B. - West Des Moines, IA
Blended Burger Recipe Contest presented by Mushroom Council
Home Chef: Wendy T. - Saint Paul, MN
Pro Chef: Alison F. - New York, NY
HGTV Ultimate House Hunt 2021
Donald N. - Bradenton, FL
HGTV's Celebrate Home Towns Sweepstakes
Shirley K. - Emmaus, PA
Travel Channel Spring Giveaway
Priscilla D. - Roswell, GA
Garage Rescue Sweepstakes presented by Castrol
Susan W. - Woodlawn, IL
Discover a Shortcut to HGTV Sweepstakes
Besides being a TV channel dedicated to real estate and home improvements, HGTV also organizes numerous sweepstakes giving away cash, trips, and houses. This article will walk you through HGTV sweepstakes and explain how they work. You can sign up for DoNotPay and enter numerous raffles and giveaways, not only those organized by HGTV.
A Breakdown of HGTV Sweepstakes
HGTV is most famous for giving away dream houses every year since 1997. Here are the types of houses you can expect to win:
The house winners typically receive additional prizes, including cash and cars.
Other HGTV Sweepstakes
Besides dream homes, HGTV also offers other sweepstakes, such as:
- Ultimate outdoor award of $5,000—HGTV asks you to vote for the best garden or retreat for a chance to win its cash giveaway
- Velux skylights plus installation
- Urban oasis—a modern cottage
Most HGTV sweepstakes are recurring, so even if you miss the entry period, you can try entering the next time around.
HGTV Sweepstakes Entry Explained
Since 2020, HGTV no longer organizes mail-in entries. To take part in a sweepstake, you have to sign up online. As HGTV has many sister websites, you can typically fill in an online sweepstake form on multiple websites, such as the Food Network.
Besides the clear start and end date of a sweepstake, there are restrictions on how often you can enter. Usually, you may sign up once or twice per day or week, but sometimes, only one entry per person/email is permitted.
To enter HGTV sweepstakes, you should:
- Visit its Sweepstakes page
- Select the sweepstake you’d like to win
- Follow the prompts and provide your email address
You may be asked to vote or agree to receive promotional emails, but this is not required for entry. Your chances of winning won’t be affected whether you complete a task before entering or not.
Can Anyone Enter the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway and Other Sweepstakes?
HGTV sweepstakes are usually open to all U.S. residents who are at least 21 years old. The employees—and their immediate families—of the following companies cannot participate:
- Scripps Networks, LLC
- Home & Garden Television (an affiliate of Discovery, Inc.)
- Delta Faucet Company
- Trex Company, Inc.
- The Sherwin-Williams Company
- SimpliSafe, Inc.
- Cabinets To Go
- FreedomRoads, LLC
- Cox Communications
- Sleep Number Corporation
- VELUX America LLC
- Quicken Loans, LLC, Wayfair LLC, Belgard®
How Does HGTV Pick a Dream Home Sweepstake Winner?
Sweepstake winners are chosen in a random drawing of all eligible entries. The drawing is usually conducted by a third party—an independent judging organization. HGTV contacts the winners by:
Sometimes, the winner is informed in person by HGTV representatives during a surprise visit that may be filmed.
Do I Have To Pay Taxes if I Win a Home Giveaway?
Most winners of HGTV dream homes haven’t even lived in the houses because of the expensive upkeep and utility costs. Another major reason why people may not be able to keep the house is taxes. Not only do they have to pay income tax, but the winners also face hefty property taxes if they keep the house.
HGTV was criticized for not offering more affordable homes as the majority of winners sell the house or opt for a cash option.
Use DoNotPay To Sign Up for an HGTV Giveaway or Any Sweepstake Hassle-Free
Even though you are legally not required to make a purchase, vote, or agree to receive promotional emails to be able to take part in a sweepstake, companies usually make it difficult to skip this. What you can do is create a DoNotPay account and dodge the unnecessary steps.
Here’s how the easiest sweepstake entry works in our app:
- Type in Free Raffle Ticket in the search box
- Submit your name, email address, and physical address
- Choose a sweepstake from our list or write one down
Once you tell us which sweepstake you’d like to enter, we’ll sign you up automatically. Make sure to regularly check our raffle list as we update it with new games weekly.
With our assistance, any sweepstake will be a piece of cake to enter, be it for a cash, vehicle, or travel prize. We can also help you enter instant win sweepstakes in a snap!
Tips Every Sweepstake Entrant Should Know
Before you venture out into the sweepstake world, check out the following tips:
|Skip the requirements for entering a sweepstake||Companies will try to make you believe that you need to purchase an item or watch an ad to be a sweepstake participant, but you should always be able to skip those steps.|
If you don’t know how to avoid them, stick to DoNotPay
|Check the eligibility factors||Make sure you are eligible for a sweepstake so that you don’t waste time entering|
|Look for sweepstakes that are not widely known||Sweepstakes that are country-wide have millions of entries, which means your chances of winning are extremely low. Try to find the ones that are state-wide or that are open for a short time|
|Calculate the estimated taxes||Take taxes into consideration when choosing a sweepstake. Consult a tax professional to check whether you’d be able to afford the prize|
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As of Monday, Dec. 28, HGTV’s Dream Home giveaway for 2021 has begun.
According to The Island Packet, the “coastal escape” is located in Newport, RI and comes fully furnished. The lucky winner of the house will also receive $250,000 from Rocket Mortgage and a 2021 motorhome from Camping World.
Those interested may enter once daily at the HGTV and Food Network websites to submit the required information.
The Dream Home 2021 features four bedrooms, two half-bedrooms, three full baths, and an expansive view overlooking the water. The house also boasts a rooftop deck and a wet bar which residents may gain access to via spiral staircase.
The HGTV Dream Home 2021 is also appropriately decorated in a nautical style, with a “bright and beachy (sic) bonus room” that has “lively sky-blue walls and good natural light [which] offers the perfect space for casual entertaining, playing games, and enjoying an easy connection with the property outside.” Even the garage is decorated with the sea in mind, a scene of sailing boats covering one of its walls.
But the designers of the HGTV Dream Home 2021 realized that it’s not always all play and no work; the team included a library and home office located off of the living room and dining room. This room is painted a deep brown, dually making it “dark and dramatic” in comparison to the rest of the house and the perfect setting for more studious minds.
Interested parties may enter the HGTV Dream Home giveaway through Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. The winner will be announced in the spring.