Reality Realty: Hitting the real estate jackpot with HGTV host David Bromstad

Bromstad says his taste doesn't always match that of his newly moneyed clients, but he doesn't judge: "If they're happy there, I'm happy for them."

A stop at the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk can turn you into a multimillionaire — if you pick the right six lottery numbers.

That brush with life-changing fortune can also land you on HGTV’s “My Lottery Dream Home,” hosted by the effervescent David Bromstad, who takes lotto winners with blown-open budgets on house hunts.

Bromstad details the pros and cons of three properties to winners whose jackpots average $1 million to $4 million; some are former apartment renters. The feel-good show is in its fourth season.

We reached Bromstad, 44, former host of HGTV’s “Color Splash,” at his home in Orlando, Fla.


Bromstad says many of the show's winners "are not coming from a lot," so a priority upgrade is often "a bathroom attached to the bedroom."

Your pilot episode featured a Riverside County couple who won $180 million. What did they buy?

They bought a mountain! The home was magical, very chic; it looked like a ski lodge — breathtaking. But as big as it was, it was very cozy, warm. About 16,000 square feet, listed for $5.8 million.

What’s the most common thing winners desire immediately?

The No. 1 thing they want is to move near family, which is really cool and special. I didn’t expect that. I thought people would just move to the nicest neighborhood.

What’s the most surprising feature winners want in an upgraded home?

They just want a bathroom attached to the bedroom. A lot of our winners are not coming from a lot. To have that simple luxury, that’s a huge thing for them. A master suite is a really big deal.

Lottery winners are sometimes judged for having questionable, even gaudy, taste. And we would say: So what?

Exactly. My taste is my taste. I have long conversations with them to figure out what kind of style they have, and most of the time they don’t have a style. Sometimes, yeah, it can be a little gaudy! And that’s great. If they’re happy there, I’m happy for them.

As a designer, you must also educate winners about style.

I definitely give as much design advice as possible. If the house is reaching a little bit of a gaudy moment, I tell them how to tone it down inexpensively. They really appreciate that. It’s fun to see how far I can push them, design-wise.

Host David Bromstad, right — above with newly rich clients — tries to find the house hunters' style or helps them discover one.
Host David Bromstad, right — above with newly rich clients — tries to find the house hunters’ style or helps them discover one.

You play the role of trusted adviser, holding winners’ hands through a major purchase.

They’re bringing me in because they’re stuck. It’s just the overwhelming amount of choices they now have. I tell them to take a breath and make this decision correctly and have good time with it. I treat them like a friend. We have the best time ever. It’s a love fest!

For others who come into sudden money, say an inheritance or job upgrade, what’s your advice?

Having a million dollars is not going to sustain you. It’s just going to progress you. My winners are super-smart. I just had a $4-million winner in the Midwest. They bought a $350,000 house, and they could have easily run out and bought a million-dollar house. They understood that money is about investment.