Gay Couple Wins HGTV House in Ann Arbor

BY BTL STAFF

ANN ARBOR - Brandon Hickson-Hamilton was sitting at home with his husband watching HGTV when he saw an advertisement for a contest to win the Urban Oasis house in Ann Arbor.

As a self-described fan of the channel, he'd seen several of the homes the channel has remodeled and put on the market as part of a contest.

Not expecting anything to come of it, Hickson-Hamilton entered the contest anyway, setting up a daily reminder in his email to submit his entry. So it came as quite the shock when he received the news that his entry was chosen out of the 52 million entries received.

"It was a daily routine for me. I entered every day, twice a day," Hickson-Hamilton told MLive.com. "I never in a million years thought that I could have won."

The 28-year-old resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland says he almost didn't answer the phone when the strange number came across his caller I.D., but something told him he should answer the phone anyway.

Brandon Hickson-Hamilton (in the hat) and his husband Raymond plan on visiting Ann Arbor soon to see the Urban Oasis house they won in an HGTV contest. Photo courtesy of HGTV

"I'm extremely, extremely excited. It's definitely a blessing. Words can't really describe how I felt or how excited I am. I've never won anything in my life so to win something as great as this is a blessing," Hickson-Hamilton said. "All I could do is say thank you."

Hickson-Hamilton has never been to Ann Arbor but says he's heard nothing but wonderful things about the city. He and his husband Raymond are finalizing plans to come see the house and tour the city before deciding if they want to move into the house permanently.

"We're still considering all of our options. The most important thing is to see the home and tour Ann Arbor," Hickson-Hamilton said.

Hickson-Hamilton can either decide to keep the house or accept a $350,000 cash payout on top of a $50,000 cash prize from Quicken Loans. So far, deciding what to do hasn't overwhelmed Hickson-Hamilton and he says handling the process hasn't been as difficult as one would expect.

Still, he wants to consider his options before committing one way or another. The estimated taxes on the house are $17,000 a year.

As word spread about his win, Hickson-Hamilton says he received several phone calls and messages from people who heard about his big win.

"I've received nothing but congratulations. I enjoy that people have been reaching out to congratulate me on the win," Hickson-Hamilton said.

The 1,500-square-foot house was remodeled by the television network over the last year as part of the contest. The house was originally built in 1925 and was nearly half the size, coming in at 825 square feet.

The house was renovated to include two master suites, a laundry room, a powder room, a high-tech kitchen and a large screened-in porch. The two-story house features two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms.

See more photos of the Ann Arbor HGTV House online at MLive.com.
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