Wouldn't it be great to win a house?
It's a lot like winning the lottery, but in most cases you have much better odds, such as 10,000 to one instead of 10 million to one.
Unfortunately, if you don't know what you are in for, that dream home could turn out to be a financial nightmare.
Dream come true...until...
Whether it's the official HGTV Dream Home, or maybe a local real estate firm, winning a brand new home is a dream come true.
That is, until reality hits.
A report in CheatSheet.com says most home winners don't stay in their new home more than a year.
There's a simple reason: owning a dream home is pricey.
CheatSheet says a house worth three times your old house has three times the maintenance costs, from AC bills, to cleaning, to taking care of that gorgeous yard.
And don't even dream of keeping your dented up 15-year-old minivan in the driveway: you will probably want a nicer new car to match the gorgeous house (though the HGTV Dream Home now throws in a new car, too).
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, the biggest downside of winning a dream home: the tax burden.
CheatSheet says taxes on the HGTV Dream Home are "insane." Not only can you end up with a $20,000 annual property tax bill, but winning a million dollar home counts as a million dollars in income.
That means you owe several hundred thousand dollars in taxes to Uncle Sam on April 15 after you take ownership, according to Country Living magazine.
You can't just give the government a bathroom as your tax payment.
In the end, most winners don't keep their winning dream home -- of 21 winners of HGTV's contest, just six have stayed more than a year, according to Country Living.
But at least you can dream, and that way you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
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