After Marsha Coulthard beat out more than 21 million entrants to win an $850,000 "green home" in Hardeeville in June, HGTV showed her in tears, celebrating with her family.
At the time, she told a reporter she entered the contest almost every day and couldn't wait to sit on the front porch of the mint-colored, eco-friendly house in Tradition Hilton Head off U.S. 278.
Coulthard sold the property last month to the community's developer, Core Communities of South Carolina, for $700,000 and told the developers and the cable network she plans to buy a house in Florida to be closer to her aging parents.
Tradition spokesman Marty Sauls said the developer of the future 9,500-home development intends to sell the house, which it has touted in promotional material and advertisements.
Coulthard was the inaugural winner of HGTV's Green Home Giveaway. She also is the latest in a series of winners who have sold houses the network gave them. She could not be reached for comment for this article.
HGTV is preparing for its 13th annual Dream Home Giveaway, and none of the 12 previous winners still owns their homes. All but two sold their prizes within a year, said Emily Yarborough, HGTV's public relations manager.
"A lot of people just aren't ready to pack up and move across the country," Yarborough said. "Once they win it, it's completely theirs to do what they want to with it."
Coulthard, a former Bluffton resident, was a 43-year-old single mother at the time of her victory. She won the 2,000-square-foot cottage, which boasts solar panels on its roof, a 500-gallon cistern to collect rainwater and a permeable patio and driveway to reduce stormwater runoff. Inside, it features energy-efficient lighting and appliances, a heavily insulated plumbing system and many recycled and organic materials.
Coulthard also won a 2008 GMC Yukon hybrid SUV. She kept the vehicle and some of the home's furniture, the network and developer said.
Coming into such good fortune can prove less fortunate than some might think.
The house has a $16,000 county and city property tax bill, according to the Jasper County assessor's office.
Contest winners also have to pay hefty federal and state taxes on their prizes.
After they won HGTV's Dream Home on St. Helena Island in 1998, Southern California residents Tina and Dennis Carlson were so excited they barely ate or slept for two days.
In addition to a fully furnished and landscaped home in northern Beaufort County, the couple won a boat, a car and a trip to claim everything. The package was worth about $500,000, Tina Carlson said.
The Carlsons were in for another surprise when they discovered they owed almost half that amount in state and federal taxes. They took out a mortgage to finance those costs.
The Carlsons and their relatives used the place as a vacation home and bird-watching haven for eight years. They made the difficult decision to sell about two years ago because they no longer visited enough, Tina Carlson said.
The couple enjoyed learning about South Carolina and making lifelong friends in the area, she said. They recently made a return visit and found the house for sale again.
Despite the costs, the Carlsons enjoyed winning the home.
"No one should ever hesitate about attempting to win a sweepstakes like this," Tina Carlson said. "No matter what, it's just a great experience."