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