HGTV Dream Home's Loophole: What It Will Cost You to Up Your Chances

This Way of Entering Can Get You More Entries... But It'll Cost You

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It's just a different entry method, people!. Boris Lyubner / Getty Images

Many people desperately want to find a way to get an edge to improve their chances of winning a big giveaway like the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes.

So when Inquisitr.com published an article titled, "HGTV Dream Home 2014: Contest Loophole Allows For Unlimited Entries," a lot of people paid attention. After all, that title makes it sound like they've discovered a big secret.

However, the "loophole" is simply an alternate entry method that HGTV has been offering for years.

Furthermore, it's not even a good deal.

What's the HGTV Dream Home Loophole?

The Inquisitr article states: "...a careful reading of the rules for the HGTV Dream Home 2014 contest reveals a potentially game-changing loophole. While the online entries are limited to two per day, contestants who decided to send their entries by snail mail have no limit."

It's true that you can use the mail-in entry method to send in as many entries as you like, but it's an option that HGTV has been offering for many years. It's not a game-changer. Way back in 2008, the Dream Home's rules inspired me to write this article: Should You Enter Sweepstakes Online and By Mail?

What This "Loophole" Will Cost You:

While it's true that you can improve your chances of winning the Dream Home if you send in unlimited entries by mail, you have to consider that, unlike online entries, there's a cost to mail-in entries.

Unless you had enough foresight to buy a Forever Stamp at a lower price, each mail-in entry will cost you $0.47 for the stamp, plus a little more for the envelope and for the paper you write your entry on.

So if you're planning on boosting your number of entries dramatically, you're talking about $0.50 or more for each additional chance.

And that doesn't even consider the time you'll spend entering by mail. The HGTV Dream Home's mail-in entries have to be hand-written, so they take an annoyingly long amount of time to fill in.

 

Do the Math about Your Chances of Winning Before Getting Excited about this "Loophole":

Getting more legitimate entries is always a good idea to improve your odds of winning. But when those entries cost you money, you have to take a good, hard look at the payoff. Here are some rough numbers:

If you take advantage of the Dream Home's free online entries, you can get a maximum of about 100 entries (this can vary from year to year, depending on how long the entry period is). Just to double your entries by taking advantage of the mail-in option will cost you $50. That's a lot of money for a prize with such a long shot of winning.

And the odds are going to be long, no matter what you do. 2013 Dream Home winner, Carole Simpson, was chosen from among 77 million entries. Sheesh. And that winning entry? It was made online, according to a WKRN news report.

Recently, HGTV Dream Home winners have been drawn from among 100 million entries or more (you can see the number of entries year over year on that page about the Dream Home's winners). So your $50 in postage brought your theoretical chances of winning from 100 in 100,000,000 to 200 in 100,000,000. You'll still be facing odds of 500,000 to one.

Would you bet a friend $50 that you could pick a random number she's thinking of between 1 and 500,000? 

Your answer may be yes, but mine is usually no. I love to enter the Dream Home sweepstakes when it doesn't cost me anything. Despite the slim chances, I do dream about winning, and how much fun it would be. But to pay money for that incredibly long shot? I'd rather keep that cash in my pocket.

So is the chance to send in mail-in entries a "loophole... that can dramatically increase the chances of winning" as Inquisitr states? Not at the cost per entry, to my mind. But however you decide to enter, make sure you're maximizing your free online entries so you have the deck stacked as much as possible in your favor.

Good luck!