Florida Keys News
Monday, February 2, 2009
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'Dream Home' idles on the market

Even a "Dream Home" is tough to sell these days.

Stephanie and Thomas Dee, winners of the Home and Garden Television Dream Home on Plantation Key in May, listed their famous bayfront home for $2.5 million in July. So far there have been no takers.

"We've had some phone calls, but you know, in this market I think people all over have been waiting for things to come down," said Kathy Rogers, the Dee family's real estate agent.

The winning couple, from Salon, Iowa, beat out 40 million entries for the fully appointed 3,500-square-foot home adjacent to Founders Park.

Their prize package, valued at $2.2 million, included a 2008 Yukon Hybrid and a luxury dog house sporting a blue and gold exterior that matches the home.

Stephanie Dee, in a recent interview, said the family, including her two small daughters, Sydney and Taylor, had a great time when they visited the home in June for a couple weeks.

"The whole house is amazing," she said. "There was nothing we changed. The views were amazing."

Their decision to put the property on the market is in keeping with what most of the first 12 Dream Home winners have done. The high cost of upkeep and property taxes on the fancy homes typically prove unaffordable for middle-income families.

The Islamorada Dream Home, for example, brought the Dees a property tax bill in excess of $13,000 this year. Plus, there are taxes from the winnings. The $2.2 million bonanza would have been treated as income by the IRS.

Stephanie Dees is a physician's assistant when she's not out winning houses. Thomas Dees is a contractor.

Despite the big tax hit, winning the Dream Home has been a great experience, she said.

"At times it's still hard to believe it happened," she said.

If the couple is able to fetch anywhere near the $2.37 million the home is listed at, they'll end up faring quite nicely in the pocketbook as well.

"At this point we just want to get the Dream Home sold so somebody can enjoy it," Rogers said.

rsilk@keysnews.com

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