Each year as part of its Urban Oasis sweepstakes, HGTV gives one lucky winner a free home. The TV network renovates, refurbishes, and remodels a house, and awards it to one of the tens of millions of people who apply. This year, the home is a $650,000 “maritime retreat” in Portland, Maine.
Your dream home might be a few clicks away. Here’s what you need to know about the 2020 Urban Oasis Sweepstakes.
HGTV’s 2020 Urban Oasis
This year, HGTV is giving away a picturesque home in Maine. The recently remodeled building is loaded with stunning artwork, decor, and interior design. The house also has a front porch, back deck, and patio, and the property has ample backyard space. View the full gallery tour on HGTV’s website. In addition, the Urban Oasis sweepstakes winner will also take home $50,000 cash courtesy of LendingTree.
You can submit an entry every day on HGTV’s website every day until Nov. 25. To boost your chances, you can submit an additional daily entry through TravelChannel.com. The sooner you start, the better chance you have of winning!
Applications for the HGTV Urban Oasis are open to legal U.S. residents age 21 or older. The winner also must not work for one of the companies involved in the sweepstakes or be directly related to anyone who does.
One grand prize winner will be notified in early December and have the option to claim their home or take a $300,000 cash prize instead. Last year’s winner chose the cash prize, opting not to take on the taxes of the new home, but there’s really no wrong answer here.
Life in Portland, Maine
If you’re thinking about entering the sweepstakes, one holdup may be relocating all the way up to Maine. No matter where you’re from, Maine is likely quite far from you, and a move that serious can be intimidating. Before making your decision, check out some of these crucial facts about the state.
Around the country, Maine is famous for its delicious seafood, stunning views of nature, and a friendly, easy-going lifestyle. And all of that is true if you live there! If you move to Maine, expect some of the freshest lobster, chowder, mussels, oysters, etc. of your life – and a great food scene in general. In fact, Portland, Maine, was named the Restaurant City of 2018 by Bon Appétit.
Portland is also filled with scenic hiking trails and nature walks, but you might want to get some L.L. Bean boots to really fit the Maine vibe. According to a WalletHub survey, Maine residents are the 30th happiest in the country, but Maine ranks in the top 20 for work and community environments.
Maine was long a shipbuilding and fishing capital of the country, and while those industries still exist in the state, others like manufacturing and healthcare have become more prominent. Also, Maine typically enjoys lower-than-average unemployment levels. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, just 6.1 percent of Mainers were out of work, compared to 7.9 percent of Americans overall.
Politically, Maine is a relatively unique state. It’s one of the most Republican-leaning regions of the Northeast but still tends to tilt Democratic in recent elections.
What Happens if You Take The Money Instead of the House?
Should you win the sweepstakes but not take the house, you’ll get a $300,000 cash prize. However, you won’t actually get all of that money, as a chunk of it will be lost to taxes. Unfortunately, HGTV doesn’t offer a lot of guidance on this, instead recommending that the winner consult a professional with tax questions. This is good advice, but we can offer some guidance in the meantime.
First, Income from sweepstakes needs to be filed with the IRS through a 1099 form. Off the top, 25 percent of the prize money will be withheld for federal taxes. If you live in a state that collects income tax, you can expect roughly another 5 to 10 percent to be taken off. That means on a $300,000 grand prize, you’re looking at roughly $200,000 in your pocket.
If you win, you should definitely consult a professional about how the prize money impacts your individual taxes, but that estimate should give you a sense of what to expect.
The Bottom Line
To stay plugged in on sweepstake news, you can keep up with HGTV on social media or sign up for daily email reminders.
The HGTV Urban Oasis contest ends on November 25th, so get your submissions in (daily if you want) while time lasts. Good luck, and happy housewarming!