Monday, December 10, 2007
HGTV Dream Home a Nightmare for Winner
STUART, FL - When Don Cruz won the 2005 HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, he couldn’t imagine the nightmare ahead. Just two years later, the house will be sold in foreclosure proceedings January 1.
HGTV issued a written statement in response to the news. "...there are always options available to winners, including, in many cases, the option to sell the home back to the developer during the first year of ownership and receive cash, as there was in the 2005 HGTV Dream Home Giveaway. We know that Don Cruz and his family had a strong desire to remain in the dream home and now find themselves in this current challenging situation. As we have from the beginning, we will continue to respect their right to make their own decisions."
The majority of past winners sold the property immediately. For Cruz, that wasn’t an option and he doesn’t regret it. In fact, he called his decision to keep the home a blessing in disguise.
Shortly after Cruz and his family moved into the Dream Home, they discovered Cruz’s father had cancer. Then, Cruz’s wife needed brain surgery. Cruz paid for the two surgeries with the money from his home loan. He said he never would have been able to care for his family in need if he didn’t have the house to leverage.
Now, four months behind on the mortgage and over $400 thousand in debt, Cruz hopes to find a buyer before the deadline next week. Cruz has dropped the asking price from $5 million to $1.43 million. With a buyer at $1.43 million, Cruz says he’ll just break even.
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