The Secret About My Lottery Dream Home You Weren't Supposed To Know

If you happen to be a sucker for Cinderella-style, rags-to-riches stories (*raises hand), chances are you never miss an episode of "My Lottery Dream Home." Other reality shows sometimes merely showcase the wealth of the Housewives or the Kardashians who already lead luxurious lives. This popular HGTV series is all about average folks whose lives change literally overnight thanks to one lucky Powerball ticket, scratch-off lotto card, or other game of chance. Suddenly, families who could barely afford to pay the rent on a one-bedroom apartment are deciding whether to get a house with an in-ground pool or one with a gourmet kitchen. 

Of course, part of the show's appeal also lies in its host David Bromstad. His bubbly personality and unique style — not everyone can pull off a huge tiger tattoo on their neck — make him the perfect person to help the winners find their home sweet mansion. The star was actually an illustrator for Disney before going on to win the reality competition "Design Star," according to HGTV. From there, he hosted the shows "Beach Flip" and "Color Splash" before being tapped for "Dream Home."

As we all know, so-called "reality" shows are sometimes anything but real. Typically lots of planning, edits, and guidance from the producers combine to make the finished product look both believable and interesting. "My Lottery Dream Home" is no exception. While the people on the show are real lottery winners, their house-hunting journey isn't always what it appears to be.

Lottery winners don't always rush to buy a house

Given the popularity of "My Lottery Dream Home," it's easy to imagine that winners get on the phone to the show's producers immediately after seeing "JACKPOT" on their scratch-off ticket. The truth is that the folks we see on TV have likely done a lot of work prior to filming. Newly minted millionaires should hire a lawyer, financial planner, and accountant before they even claim their prize, according to State Farm. It's wise to set up a trust and look into investments to make sure that money lasts a while.

That's not to say that these lucky folks don't go on spending sprees, but even then, not all of them are looking for a bigger house. Some of the more interesting things lottery winners have done with their cash include contributing to the building of a water park, funding a breast-enlargement surgery for their sister, and donating to a marijuana-legalization event (via Business Insider).

And while "Dream Home" portrays lottery winners living happily ever after, that's not always the case. One woman from New Jersey actually won the lottery twice in two years, according to AskMen. But the millions soon slipped from her fingers thanks to her continued gambling, impulse buys, and generosity to the masses who were looking for handouts. Sadly, she's now broke.

Not every My Lottery Dream Home family wants a mansion

Those lottery winners who do decide to buy new digs don't necessarily want eight-bedroom mansions with swimming pools and home theaters. While "My Lottery Dream Home" has featured some spectacular properties — like the $5.8 million mountain home a California couple splurged on in one episode — many others are much less grand. David Bromstad once told the New York Post, "It all depends on how much money they've just won. Some people are living paycheck to paycheck and they're pretty smart, like, 'Wow, I'm 35 years old and I've just won a million dollars — it's going to change my life for the moment but I've got to be smart about it'."

"Dream Home" families choose their houses according to their personal needs, and sometimes those needs are quite modest. An HGTV story about the wish lists of past winners included the story of a man who picked a house because it had a large play space for his grandkids. One woman was looking for a home that could comfortably accommodate her 25-member extended family for gatherings. Another winner asked for a spacious back yard for growing fruit trees. And one family simply wanted enough bathrooms so that nobody had to share.

One lottery winner reportedly chose his dream home before filming the show

Being on "My Lottery Dream Home" may seem like a dream come true, but, as with any TV show, there's a lot of time and work involved. Filming just one episode of the show can be a six-hour-a-day grind as cameras and lights are set up. Scenes are shot and reshot to get different camera angles. One winner from Washington state told the HeraldNet that he and his wife had to pretend to be surprised to see the same room over and over again.

Another winner apparently had to be a really good actor. A woman identified as "Jennyd40c863665" told BuzzFeed that her uncle appeared on "My Lottery Dream Home." Only he was on the show two years after he'd already bought a beach house with his prize money. In order to appear like a new house-hunter, he agreed to tour his own home, along with two others, before pretending to make his selection. Jenny revealed, "They also did a 'three months later' follow-up segment that was, in fact, filmed the day after the house-hunting shoot."

Still, most of us would gladly put up with a little fake reality if it meant having a million dollars, a gorgeous place to come home to, and David Bromstad — who lives in his own dream home — to help us find it.