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May 21, 2008


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That stinks for him, but at least now he'll have some cash to buy a smaller place and hopefully not have to worry so much about money. I doubt he's doing it to make a profit, since most of the people on that show have pretty sad stories. Good luck to him.

I used to wonder about this too, especially their utility costs, insurance and not to mention property taxes. It seems only a few also had their mortgages paid..the rest were still on their own for that too...I guess that stuff wouldn't make for entertaining TV.

Looks like a really nice house from the picture. Something that size would go for $1.5-$2 million where we live now (Chicago suburbs). Too bad I don't have any good reasons to move to Idaho.

I have always wondered too when I glanced at the show, how the hell these people can afford the upkeep. Always seemed a little short-sighted to me. Though selling the home doesn't sound half bad!

I'm surprised more stories like this haven't come out. The increased energy bills were this guy's downfall, sounds like, but the insurance and other factors would become a nightmare.

It seems like a good financial decision for him. You can get a pretty good house for half that much in that area pretty easily. It really doesn't make much sense to give McMansions to people who are struggling financially.


Is 3,600 sq ft with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths average in the US? To me, this seems to be about 1.5-2 times the amount of space needed for a single man and two kids.

I live in a fairly large home -- a 2,200 sq ft 4 bedroom with my wife and 3 kids and I don't feel the need for any more space. I also do not pay that much for heat even though I live in a snow belt region of Canada...

I have a personal friend who recieved a home from Extreme home Makeover. What a Joke!! They only "show" what they want. I am not saying my friends were not grateful. They were. This is MY opinion not theirs!!! After hearing of what happens behind the scene I personally would NOT except a free house. Let me emphasize FREE. Which it definately is not. They still had to pay on loans of furniture that they didn't even have anymore. Personal items like pictures of people that had passed away were missing and never found. It turns into a bigger headache than what it is worth. Your bills triple if not more. I would like to know how many people who have recieved these "free" homes actually are able to keep them after a few years? With the increase in taxes, heating expenses,electrical bills etc... They say on the TV that the mortgages are paid but I don't think that is true either or at least it wasn't for the person I know. Extreme MakeOver and ABC only donates their time. They donate cash. So unless the community has raised enough money to pay the mortgage off, it doesnt get paid! Considering most of the recipients have health or financial problems. Most of them don't or can't work. Isn't that why they were chosen to begin with. I think the producers of Extreme Makeover need to rethink their decisions when building these homes. Be more realistic and not so big. Give these people a chance to afford to keep their homes. If anyone knows the percentage of how many kept the houses verses how many were built, I would love to know.

Re: Leslie's comments:
Give me a break! What a load of crap. "I personally would not "except" a free house. Let me empathasize free. Which it definately is not." So what if they still had to pay their previous loans? Poor people - they had to live up to their previous financial obligations but what they are paying on has been replaced by something of much greater value. They have the option to sell - there is no contract to state otherwise that I've heard of. They didn't apply to have their loans forgiven. There is nothing on the show stating all mortgages or previous loans, etc., will be paid. So what is the problem here? I don't get it. What arrogance. I believe one of the bigger problems we have in the world today is no-one wants to take any responsibility for the choices in life. Everything is always someone else's fault or responsibility. If a person can't afford a nicer, bigger, etc., house, don't actively apply to a show for it to give them one. It's as simple as that. Why can't people just look at the positive side of things or the good side. Why must we focus on and build up any negative aspect of things? This is just sad.

I work for a homebuilder involved in an Extreme Makeover home build. Everything was donated, by the builder, by the suppliers, everything. It's all donated for advertising value.

The houses are exceptional, and the producers now work with people to get around paying income taxes. For example, a 'free' house would be subject to income tax. So they now rent the property for 14 days because when a tenant makes improvements to a property, it wouldn't count as gift or income tax. However, the owners are still liable for local property taxes, and these usually increase with the value of the home. For that reason, our company paid off their mortgage (we have a mortgage division), and employees and suppliers raised money for college for the kids and for a lump sum that they could invest (after taxes paid) to help defray the costs of upkeep on a much larger home. The producers also recommend that families receiving a house get a financial planner to help then budget. Many are now given a cash stipend (taxable, but ABC makes it high enough to have a decent amount left after income taxes are paid) that they are to invest to help out with upkeep. However, this practice varies with the build. ABC, the homebuilders, the suppliers, etc., tend to vary in their largesse. Our company chose to do so much because we really liked the family and felt that they had the intellectual means to carry on and maintain the house properly. We also built it extremely energy efficient.

Where people usually run into problems is if they use the value of the house as collateral for a loan. If it's a business loan and it goes bust, they lose the house. Also, poor people who qualify for Medicaid may lose that coverage because the value of the house makes them ineligible. So if they then have to go on private insurance, and have huge medical bills, they may also lose the house. And finally, some people just don't realize that their property tax bill will double or triple. They spend the cash given them, and then don't pay their property taxes.

There are many reasons for a family losing a house. Very few are out of their control.

"There are many reasons for a family losing a house. Very few are out of their control."

I think this is my biggest issue with "giving" a home or other large support to people. I just know too many cases where the people being "helped" created their own situation and don't have the personal lifestyle or discipline to move their lives forward. Too often, "helping" isn't helping.

Until recently, I was a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity. I have personally seen several houses built, felt like this was a good thing for the families. But the families don't make it, and in a few cases, the houses are now gone because they were in the wrong neighborhood or due to urban sprawl, what have you. So I don't know what the answer is, but I'm hesitant to "help" anymore.

what happens to all of their personal things when they are on vacation...all the clother and everything

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