ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 04:  VP Programming and Special Projects at HGTV Loren Ruch speak during a Q&A for 'Dream Home' on Day Three of the aTVfest 2017 presented by SCAD at SCADshow on February 4, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)
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HGTV Contestants Who Couldn't Afford Their New Homes
Cashing out instead
Susan O’Gorman won the "Dream Home" contest in 2020, but soon after the announcement episode aired, she decided to take the cash option. According to HGTV’s official sweepstakes rules, the 2023 cash option is $750,000, as well as a nice car and cash prizes.
Laura Martin, 2014
"You may not be able to [...] keep the dream home due to taxes," the 2014 "Dream Home" winner, Laura Martin, told The Newport Daily News, "but you are afforded a different dream of altering [...] your immediate situation." Martin also took the cash option and had an overall positive experience.
Don Cruz, 2005
Don Cruz’s home ended up in foreclosure after he mortgaged it to pay medical bills for his wife and father, but still feels blessed by the prize and the life-giving treatments it enabled. He even told LiveAbout in 2009 that he was still submitting entries in hopes of winning another dream home.
John Groszkiewicz, 2003
John Groszkiewicz and his family sold their dream home for $800,000, in order to move 11 miles down to a bigger house. Groszkiewicz's wife was able to stay at home with their children, they were able to pay off all of their debt, and like Cruz, he continues to enter the "Dream Home" competition each year.
Kathi Nakao, 2004
Kathi Nakao sold her dream home after 18 months of ownership, having used the money to renovate her old house. "I enjoyed every minute of it," Nakao told The Press Democrat, "I would hope everyone in the world would have a chance to feel like I did."