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HGTV Dream Home in Portsmouth awarded to bread delivery man from Texas. Will he make the move?

Scott Barrett
Newport Daily News

An independent contractor who owns a bread delivery route could be moving from one of the largest U.S. states to the smallest.

Jeff Yanes, a resident of Austin, Texas, was named the winner of the HGTV Dream Home that sits on the waterfront in Portsmouth, the network announced Tuesday. In addition to the fully furnished, three-story Cape Cod-style home, Yanes also was awarded $250,000 in cash from Rocket Mortgage and a 2021 motorhome from Camping World — a grand prize package valued at $2.8 million.

"In the back of your mind you always think about it, but then it’s like, ‘Nah, it’s not going to happen to me,’” Yanes told the network.

More:HGTV officially unveils 2021 Dream Home in Portsmouth

“Things like this don't happen to normal people," said Yanes’ girlfriend Jody.

Yanes has been entering HGTV sweepstakes for almost five years, but this time he tried something new, signing up to receive daily email reminders. He entered twice a day, rarely missing a day, and his diligence paid off as his name was drawn from more than 136 million entries.

To inform Yanes of his winnings, an HGTV crew set up a virtual interview with Jeff and Jody under the pretense of appearing on a show about an uptick of sweepstakes entries across the country. Little did they know, HGTV Dream Home designer Brian Patrick Flynn was on the other end of the call, waiting to surprise them with the good news.

More:Q&A: Interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn talks inspiration for Portsmouth HGTV Dream Home

When Flynn announced that Yanes had won, he didn't believe it at first. "I didn't think it was true,” he said. “I thought someone was messing with me.”

When asked about his favorite space in the home, which has a nautical theme, Jeff said “it's everything you could want in a house. It's hard to pinpoint one room." But if he had to choose? "The rooftop deck overlooking the river. (It's a great place to) have a cold beverage or a cup of coffee."

Jeff Yanes of Texas is the winner of the 2021 HGTV Dream Home that sits on the waterfront in Portsmouth.

Now the question remains: Will he actually make the move?

In 2014, Laura Martin of Boise, Idaho, was stunned when she learned she had won a 3,200-square-foot home with three bedrooms and 3½ bathrooms situated minutes from Lake Tahoe in California. Martin’s name was chosen from the more than 72 million entries.

Ultimately, though, after filming the episode for HGTV, she didn’t keep the home.

“Unfortunately, Uncle Sam was the reasoning,” she wrote in an email to The Daily News in October. “I was completely ready to pack up and move to Tahoe to live in the house but Uncle Sam decides that he wants his tax cut and that was too cost prohibitive to retain the home.”

Instead, she took the cash prize option and “bought our own different dream home in our current city.”

A look at the living room inside the HGTV Dream Home.

And Martin, an account director for a creative services company in Boise, is not alone in giving up the house.

According to a report from CNBC, 2019 winner Beverly Fulkerson won a $2.3 million prize package that included a “Dream Home” in Montana. But the estimated tax bill would come up a staggering $789,140.

In February 2018, Country Living magazine reported that of the first 21 winners of the sweepstakes, only six actually lived in the home for more than a year. “The vast majority either took the cash alternative or sold the house back to the developer within a year of winning,” the report says.

Martin has no regrets about her decision and looks back fondly on her time in the winner’s circle.

The rooftop deck has stunning water views.

“The whole thing is a dream, it’s an amazing time and a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she wrote. “The reality is that you may not be able to live or keep the dream home due to taxes but you are afforded a different dream of altering your reality and your immediate situation.

“Also, you get to be a part of a reality episode on HGTV, which my husband would say is one of his favorite parts about winning!”