'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' Turns Into Extreme Heartbreak for Disabled Family

This Just In 64

Extreme Makeover Home bus

Every single time I watched an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I usually wound up in tears over the struggling family's story and felt guilty and horrible for all I take for granted in my life. And while the show always reminded me of just how lucky I am, it was also such a "feel-good" family program to tune in for, because seeing those families get the homes of their dreams did nothing short of warm my heart.

And that's why it's so sad to hear that the Llanes family of Bergenfield, New Jersey is being forced to sell the gorgeous home Extreme Makeover: Home Edition renovated for them in 2006 because they just can't afford the taxes anymore.

And what's even worse is that they are struggling so badly financially as a result of trying to maintain the home that they were forced to leave Bergenfield all together and move to Virginia Beach, Virginia to live with relatives, and to start over where the cost of living is much less.

The family was one of the lucky ones to receive help from the show back in 2006, when their church urged the show to give their split-level home a much needed update. Three of the Llane family members are blind, one is deaf, and the mother of the family is in remission from thyroid cancer. The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew transformed their modest house into a technology-filled fantasy land, complete with a home computer system and reading systems for their blind and deaf disabilities.

The state-of-the-art home may have made their lives easier for a while, but it also appraised over $200,000 higher than what they originally paid for it, which made their taxes go up thousands of dollars per year. And now, living there is just no longer an option.

And while I'm definitely saddened for this poor family, I can't say that I'm shocked that the costs associated with their new home got too high for them to manage. On many occasions after watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I sat there and wondered how the families were going to keep up with the demands of maintaining their homes, not to mention being able to afford the growing costs of owning a larger, more luxurious house. Sometimes so much as adding a bedroom or bath to a place can make the taxes shoot way up, so we can only imagine just how high the taxes of some of the renovated homes from the show have gotten.

Sadly, the Llanes aren't the only family who have been forced to surrender their dream homes because of the financial burden. Several other Extreme Makeover homes have gone into foreclosure as well.

Any way you look at it, this is just one of those cases of a thoughtful and kind gesture going all sorts of wrong, and winding up with a very unfortunate ending. I guess the old saying is true: "No good deed goes unpunished."

Has the fear of higher taxes stopped you from renovating your home?


Image via nan palmero/Flickr

home finances, moving, renovating


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bills... billsfan1104

I think the the show should help with this as well for the next few years. Its sad that it has come to that.

nonmember avatar Sandy

That's horrible that their rate keeps going up. That doesn't seem right. It also doesn't seem right that they can't afford $15,000 a year to live somewhere.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

That is the problem with the show. They hello these families because of their circumstances but then fail to take them into account when rebuilding.

Tiffa... TiffanyMarie80

The few times I've watched, the mortgage on the original house has been paid off by the show, which would put some extra cash in their pockets every month that could be used to maintain the property and pay the higher taxes - if the show isn't doing this for every family, then they should be helping with the costs they are incurring somehow. If they are and the families aren't using what was their mortgage payment to cover these expenses, then that's on the family.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

From what I understand, the mortgage is taken care of by the show. All the family has to do is maintain the property and pay their property taxes. It's your financial responsibility. 

UgtaB... UgtaBkdnMe

This is probably normal, that show doesn't help anyone.

PinkB... PinkButterfly66

The show doesn't pay mortages, there was an article in the paper a while back that listed the plight of some of these people saddled with mortages used to finance these makovers.  These are not free gifts.  The material and labor can be donated but sometimes its not.

sophi... sophiasmommy27

I never understood the point of that. like don't you think if they could afford that kind of house. they'd already have it. I mean. really. I get they're trying to help and all that, but no one takes into account bills, property taxes, ect. if they were that bad off in the first place, how is having a three million dollar house gonna help? lol i don't know. I'm just typing as the thoughts are comming.

nonmember avatar Rach

What would actually help these families is making their homes livable while keeping them modest. Paying off their mortgages would also be helpful as the families usually are in a financial hardship due to illness. Turning decrepit homes into luxury dwellings doesn't seem like a good idea for families who are struggling.

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