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


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.

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.

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.