Boise family wins HGTV Dream Home Giveaway


by Justin Corr

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 19 at 7:07 PM

BOISE -- A Boise family just won a national online raffle for a fully-furnished dream home, cash, and a new truck. But they also won a massive tax bill.

"I cried like a baby is what I did," said Laura Martin.

Laura got the surprise of a lifetime on Tuesday morning at work when a TV crew burst through her front door and told her (minutes after telling her husband) that her family was this year's winner of the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway.

"Immediately, I start crying and screaming, and saying, 'No way! I can't believe it! I'm going to wet my pants!'" she exclaimed.

Every year, HGTV gives away a gorgeous home via an online raffle. This year, the home is in the Lake Tahoe area, comes fully-furnished, and is worth close to $2 million. The Martins also win a new 2015 GMC Denali, and a quarter-million dollars in cash from Quicken.

A native Idahoan, Laura says most of the previous homes were too far away or too big. But this home, only a day's drive from Boise, was perfect. "I was like, 'That's the home I want.'"

So, two months ago, when the contest opened online, she entered twice a day, every day for two months, and would talk about picturing her family living there. Her family thought the dream home was just that, a dream.

"They used to laugh all the time," said Martin. "My daughter was like, 'Whatever, you're crazy. Don't be sad when you don't win.' Yesterday, she was a little shocked. She didn't believe me."

The not-so-fun part of all this are the taxes, which depending on who you ask, would be between $500,000 and $1 million. That doesn't even take into account the annual property taxes, which in the Tahoe area aren't cheap. So now the family has to decide whether to take the home and try to make it all work, or take the cash option, which is less than what the home is worth.

"We will be consulting a tax attorney and an accountant. We're going to have an arsenal of professionals behind us to help us make the right decision for us," said Laura Martin.

And she hopes the right decision will be making this dream home her dream home. "You see that happening to people all over the country, the dream home winners from there, or the lottery winners from there. You just never think it's going to be you, or little Boise, Idaho."

Martin says there were more than 70 million entries, and that the HGTV people warned her that there might be some people out there who are a little (or very) jealous. But she says, so far, she's gotten nothing but congratulations from friends, relatives, and strangers.

Martin says she and her family will be flown down to tour the Dream Home the first week of April, and will have to decide whether to take the home or cash option by the middle of May.