HGTV Dream Home's Loophole: The High Cost of Boosting Your Odds

You Can Get You More Entries... But It'll Cost You

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Many people want to find a way 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, hoping that a winning secret would be revealed.

However, the headline did not live up to its promises. The promised "loophole" is simply an alternate entry method that HGTV has been offering for years. Furthermore, using it (or at least over-using it) is not a great deal for entrants.

Note that the Inquisitr article deals specifically with the 2014 giveaway, but the information is valid for all of HGTV's recent Dream Home giveaways.

What's the HGTV Dream Home Loophole?

While the Inquisitr promises "a potentially game-changing loophole," all they are actually talking about is using an AMOE to send in entries by mail. The Dream Home Sweepstakes generally lets people enter twice per day online, but they can send in as many entries as they like through the postal service.

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. And entering sweepstakes online and by mail increases your risk dramatically, since money is involved.

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 $0.50 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 $0.55 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 valuable time to fill in. 

Do the Math Regarding Your Chances of Winning Before Deciding to Use this "Loophole"

Getting more legitimate entries always helps to improve your odds of winning, but when we are talking about big giveaways with lots of entries, the boost to your odds may not be significant.

The odds are going to be long, no matter what you do. 2017 Dream Home winner Anna Spangler's entry was chosen from among 131 million entries. And that winning entry? It was made online. When entering costs you money, you have to take a hard look at the payoff.

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 in postage alone. That's a lot of money for a prize with such a long shot of winning.

Recently, HGTV Dream Home winners have been drawn from among 100 million entries or more. 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? 

By entering every day online, you bring your odds of winning from "impossible" to one in a million. By paying around $50, you only increase those chances from one in a million to one in a half a million. And if you lose, which is realistically the most likely outcome, you're out the $50.

So is the chance to send in mail-in entries a "loophole... that can dramatically increase the chances of winning" as Inquisitr states? The increase is not that dramatic, and the cost is pretty steep.

If you want to, you can go ahead and use the online entries, too. You never know which entry will win, so you could send in a single mail-in entry, a dozen, or more. 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.