How Is the Winner of HGTV's "Dream Home" Picked?

By Lisa Mason

Updated September 22, 2017

i holding winning lottery image by drx from

If you watch the popular HGTV show, "Dream Home," you might be wondering how the winner is picked. Since participants can mail in their entries or enter online, it seems like a complicated process that can get very confusing. Fortunately, there is actually a simple process that's followed that simplifies things quite a bit.

How Does HGTV Pick the Winner?

HGTV picks the winner of their “Dream Home” contest in a way that is similar to the way lottery numbers are picked. It's done in a fair and interesting way that can be a little exciting. It's a process that involves dividing the entries that were done online and by mail.

Entries Get Divided

Entries are divided
i mail to red image by Hao Wang from

The very first thing that needs to be done to the entries consists of dividing them into separate bins. The mail-in entries are physically divided into bins that were assigned a number one through eighteen. There were approximately 900,000 entries received by mail. The online entries are divided into “virtual bins” using the computer system. There were more than 38 million entries submitted online and the bins holding these were numbered 19 through 782.

A Bin Number Gets Drawn

For the next step, balls are placed in a hopper and each one of them has a number from the bins ranging from 1 to 782. The number that gets drawn from the hopper is the first step in selecting the winner. If the number was 1 through 18, it represented one of the physical bins and it would be separated from the rest. If the ball drawn has the number of a virtual bin, it would be pulled up on the computer.

Winning Entry is Chosen

If the bin chosen was a physical one, then an envelope would be randomly selected from that bin and that will be the winner. If the bin selected was a virtual one, the computer would be set to scroll through the entries, and as it's scrolling through the entries, the space bar is pressed. This stops the process and randomly selects the winning entry.

Winner is Later Announced

Once the selection has been made, a winner will be announced. This is usually done in a live presentation show on HGTV. Many contestants and other fans of the show will anxiously await the surprise "ambush" of the lucky winner. The process of how the winner is chosen is designed to be as random and as fair as possible. There is no skill or other requirements needed.