Green Home Alone

Ok, I’ll admit it: we’ve been shamelessly entering to the win the 2009 HGTV Green Home on a daily basis lately. As much as we love our own home, we can’t pass up the chance at winning a beautiful, eco-friendly abode in sunny Florida (and the shiny new hybrid car that comes with it). Plus, think of all the things we could blog about if it were our names that they announced on June 28th.

So it was with Green Homes on the brain that we took a little detour last week while on our secret trip to Georgia. Thanks to our Florida vacation last Spring, we remembered that the 2008 HGTV Green Home was just about 5 minutes off of I-95 in South Carolina. We didn’t tour it last year (it carried a hefty $25 admission fee!) so we figured we’d swing through Tradition, SC again this year and see if last year’s winner was home and might invite us in for a free tour (you know, all southern hospitality-like). Well, that didn’t happen (surprise). There were no glasses of organic lemonade waiting for us on a recycled bamboo tray. In fact, it didn’t even look like anyone was home…


And our guess as to why no one was home? Because it did look like anyone had moved in yet. There was even a key-box on the door like a house that’s on the market…


…and why do we think no one has moved in? Because they’re just about the only house in the neighborhood so far.


I guess the little golf community of Tradition needs a bit more time to get off the ground. Then again, can we really be surprised in this real estate market? It did look like it was shaping up to be a beautiful place (the four or five other in-progress homes were in the same beachy cottage style that we love). But we can’t say our visit didn’t alter our utopian daydream a little bit.

So, moral of the story: don’t bother entering to win the 2009 Green Home (you’d just be hurting our chances anyway). Just kidding. Enter away. She’s a beaut this year. Just check out their virtual online tours for plenty of green eye candy. Update: check out the comments for some interesting revelations!


  1. says

    Perhaps it’s unoccupied because the winners might have also had to pay the taxes on the house, which if it has true Green features, then that would be a hefty penny.

    At least, with most winnings, one has to pay the taxes.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Sherrie and Kara,

      We wondered that too. Or we wondered if they put it on the market right after winning it which would also explain the key box. Maybe next year we’ll drop by and ring the bell and see who comes out!


  2. Ruth says

    Here’s is the real problem with winning the house.
    Read the fine print, you are responsible for paying taxes on the VALUE and it’s contents if you win the home.

    So if the house and furnishings are worth 2 million you will have to pay taxes on 2 million dollars, at a high rate (prize winnings) and in the fine print it says you are not allowed to sell the house first to make profit. First you have to pay the taxes before you sell.

    You get screwed!

    The last house i made it a hobby submitting an entry every day until my husband read the fine print.

  3. says

    My cousin won a house in Pinehurst, NC a few years ago. She entered on a whim, but then when she won she couldn’t afford the taxes on her win and then the property taxes on the home. She had to sell it. Fortunately this was during a much easier selling time. There is just no such thing as a free lunch!

  4. Dianne says

    WOW!!!! I am surprised you were able to get to see the house. Last year, when we entered the sub-division, a security guard asked us (politely) to leave. So we never got to see the house. However, I was a bit disappointed 1. that the house isn’t on Hilton Head island and 2. it was pretty much the only house in the area. I never guessed that from watching the HGTV show. I guess it’s the power of TV.

  5. TheUpstart says

    If you do some googling, you’ll find that people rarely move into the HGTV prize homes. They sell the houses to pay the taxes and HOPE that there’s a little left over to pocket.

    Only two families have ever moved into an HGTV prize home. One family that moved into an HGTV dream home in Texas was financially ruined by it. I haven’t looked at the Florida home, but I read that the Sonoma home winners would have to cover about $1 million in taxes between the property taxes and the tax assessed on the prize (home + furnishings + car).

    I don’t enter the contests anymore. I’m too scared to win and deal with hiring an attorney, accountant, and real estate agent to deal with getting rid of it.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Yikes! Maybe I should tell John to stop entering (are you reading this honey? if so stop entering!). Sounds like it could be a headache…


  6. Katie says

    I’ve heard that the taxes are VERY hefty and yes, like previous post, I’m sure if it’s green they are even higher. Plus if they lived/worked somewhere else logistically it might be hard and easier to just sell it and take the profits (if any).
    The housing market today is so awful and I’d venture to guess that Tradition SC is more of a community to have a 2nd home in, if you’re able to do that.
    Guess it’s a good tax write off for HGTV though!!!! ha.

  7. Katie says

    Diane – I would definitely say that it would have been better and more profitable in a more est place like HHI (although my grandparents lived there for 25 yrs and I was going there when there was only one grocery store and NO shopping. It was totally a secret until everyone else found it too!!! ha.) But I’m guessing that Tradition, SC is hoping that it turns into the same type of area like HHI started off as……….

    Yeah, I’ve heard that it’s financial nightmare to win one of their homes. They get top of the line everything and it’s definitely your dream home until you see all the expenses that go along w/it!!!

  8. Clara says

    This year’s home looks quite beautiful and I’ve enjoyed looking through all the rooms for design inspiration.

    I read a couple of earlier posts, and I’m a bit confused as to why the property taxes would be even higher if the house is green. Because it’s worth more? Please fill me in – I’m just starting to learn about greening one’s home.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Clara,

      Since the winner not only has to pay property taxes but also has to pay taxes on the entire value of their win I think people are alluding to the fact that it’s not cheap to build a green home so paying taxes on the total value of the prize could be pretty steep. Yikes!


  9. KayHud says

    Sadly, as Sherry commented above, whoever won the house would most definitely have to pay taxes on the fair market value of the house. Often times people who win big non-cash prizes like this have no choice but to turn around and sell them immediately just to pay the taxes. Some winners might consult w/ their tax adviser and not even agree to receive the prize at all. After all, what would happen if you couldn’t sell the house in the down real estate market by April 15th of the following year when your tax bill was due? Then you’d start accruing interest and penalties to the IRS on your unpaid tax balance. Yikes!

    For ex, if you file your taxes married filing jointly and had an additional $350,000 added to your tax bill, you’d most likely end up in the highest marginal tax bracket (35%). That could result in an additional tax bill of more than $100,000 payable by the winner to the IRS and due by the following April 15th. And that’s assuming the house is only worth a meager $350K (a number I pulled out of thin air).

    “Congratulations! You just won a fabulous dream home. Now pay up!”

  10. says

    Are you KIDDING ME!? Wow, I really didn’t know the back side of this (and other) sweepstakes! I just assumed each one moved right in, or they sold the house for a hefty profit.

    That would explain why last year, the lady looked so “unenthused” when she won! Check it out:

    Also, I was almost crying from laughing so hard at HGTV host Lauren Lake, who was SOOO overly-excited about being “in that moment” that she overshadowed the actual winner! I mean, can she have any bigger facial expressions???? LOL!! BACK TO YOU, CLIVE!!!

  11. Ellie says

    I’m so happy to have seen this follow up for something I’d always wondered about. Fantastic, this little blog is like real reporting right now!

  12. says

    I should have read the comments first! O well lol That really sucks that if you DO win you may not even be able to enjoy your prize. I had already pictured myself drivin’ down to my little Florida home and layin out with a nice glass of lemonade lol

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