Extreme Makeover House Going To Foreclosure

Here is a tour of the home.

EUGENE, Ore. — An Oregon family gained national attention when it was featured in the ABC hit show Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Since then, the family of Janessa “Boey” Byers has been dealt a tough hand.

Ty Pennington and his team built boey a new home to help her during her fight with cancer in October. Boey passed away in late December and now, the family is struggling to pay for the expensive new home.

The Extreme Home Makeover Crews demolished the Byers old house, but the old mortgage still stands. There’s still $250,000 dollars left on the old mortgage that they have to pay, plus they’re paying property taxes for the value of the new home because it’s worth more than the old home was. On top of that, utility bills now cost anywhere from $500 to $700 dollars a month.

Compounding the problem, family friends say Boey’s dad, recently lost a major client through his cleaning business. For a family that just lost a daughter, a sister, a warrior like Boey, it’s hard to imagine the situation getting any worse.

If you’d like to donate to the byer’s family, go to www.kezi.com

I am curious why they can’t sell and take the improvements unless it is a choice and not a rule as suggested in the comments.  Sentimental value cannot be priced but being forced out of their home will be devastating and tarnish the memory more than selling it to a happy buyer.

Here is a clever rule that let’s them and other home owners from the show avoid paying income tax on the improvements.

Renovations to an existing house are considered tax exempt by allowing the said property to be leased or rented to the production company for 2 weeks while the work is happening. “Extreme Makeover” employs this strategy to avoid incurring taxes for the work they do. There’s actually a tax provision that allows homes to be rented for less than 15 days a year with no tax consequences, even while improvements are made by the tenant for that time period. The voluntary improvements should be considered of no value to the owner — obviously that’s something the owners here would claim.

Some more information on the taxes and winnings.

UPDATE: Recent news on a Georgia home that was in the foreclosure process but may have been saved.

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49 thoughts on “Extreme Makeover House Going To Foreclosure

  • Linda Bayusik

    I don’t believe it is the intention of the Byers to sell their home. The house was built out of love for their daughter Boey who had a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma and she passed away due to pneumonia – not cancer – just after Christmas. Boey and the family love their new house. Selling this house would be devastating to them.

    If there is any way you can help the family, I encourage you to do so. Thank you.

  • Anna

    But they have to remember that they have two other children that they have to think about. Where are they going to live if they lose the home? If they sell the home they will at least be able to get something that they can afford so those children will have a home to live in.

  • Katrina

    While I do believe selling the house would be in their best interest, you also have to remember the suffering this family went through. To sell the house with the one room in it that probably brough Boey many fun times in her last couple months (her bedroom) would be devastating. This house represents hope for them and I think it is up to those people who have more than they do to donate. Even if not all the money is raised atleast it helps them.

  • John Smith

    They should sell and put the money into their kids college fund. Then rent an apartment. Their carbon footprint would be smaller as a result due to lower utility usage and that is good for all of us.

  • Cara

    A blessing doesn’t come with burdens. This house was a blessing for the family, the mortgage should have been taken care of and bills for at least one year.

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  • Laura Stack

    I thought that the houses they were building were way over the top. These people needed simple and clean homes that were safe. They did not need all the fancy furniture, etc. When I saw some of the houses being built, i looked at the high ceilings in some of them and wondered who was going to pay the heating bills. it was clear that is was an advertising gimmick for ABC, Sears and all the other furniture companies that contributed top of the line furnishing. Didn’t anyone think of taxes and the old mortgage?

    Some of the money spent on luxuries could have been used to pay off the old mortgage and help pay the taxes. They don’t need to build houses with such high ceilings which would make their utilities go through the roof, especially with oil going up so high.

    I would like to donate a small amount of money. My husband has been put of work for 2 1/2 years so funds are low. We both have medical problems but if I send any money I would like to know that there is a legit fund set up for these matters. Habitat for Humanity builds simple yet nice homes; homes that people can afford to live in.

    Clearly they need some who can look at the complication that arise when you put someone in an extravagant house with a high tax rate. Everyone feels great for a while but at some point reality has to set in.

    I know what it is like to be sick and poor and I think these people would be just as happy to have a simple and safe home. Good luck to all.

    Laura Stack

  • Doug

    ABC got their money. Sell the damn thing and get yours. I am not a monk but how do you get attached to a home like that? Move on. The people just get used to an amazing home. Idiots.

  • lio

    These houses are way over the top for these people. Let’s be real how can they afford the upkeep. Sell the house buy a smaller house that you can afford and be happy that you are no longer stressed out just thinking about where is the money coming from to for everything that is so elaborate.

  • A Batey

    I agree with the ones who are saying to sell. I am sure they could get a really good price for this fancy house and even some of the furniture then still have enough left to move into something less elaborate. Who says you need hot tubs, jacuzzis, granite counters, etc. to lead a comfortable life. I don’t have all that. The average American home owner doesn’t either.

    On another note, I have often seen the show when the extra money was raised to pay off the existing mortgage. I didn’t see the episode in question, but wonder why that didn’t happen for them.

  • Tony

    Why does this show make a spectacular for one family and give them a home worth over 500,000 when the economy is bad and they know they can’t afford the bills, I love the show but why can’t they spend that same 500,000 for like 100 families and make more people happy and cofortable instead of trying to make a MILLIONAIRE out of a peasant???? I just don’t get it. they knew they were not going to pay for the utility bills and taxes on that HUGE HOME!!!! how quickly happiness can turn into sadness……

  • Tony

    I hear people above saying they should just sell the home, well if you have looked a Gerry Willis’s show on tv the home selling market is gone down the drain they would not make much of anything off that big monsterously large Home and it may not even sell its so big, but maybe a real estate agent may have some tricks for selling? I would just advise the show to stop building these homes that are just plain too dorn big for one family and just be modest and make more people reasonably happy. they build these big HUGE 5,000 plus sq foot homes for like a 4 member family knowing its gonna cost UTILITES, hello!!! then they pack them full of like Plasma tvs and etc and what they really need to be doing is taking some of that money they use to put all that luxury in these homes and help feed the hungry who can’t find any food to eat on the streets.

  • Tony

    it seems like the forclosures are on the uprise for these winners of these homes on that Extreme Home Makeover show because this is the second family that i have heard about. as the laura stated above, this is all a big Publicity stunt to get people to watch ABC instead of them focusing on the future of these people. they say seek a Financial advisor and that is all they can do but they know themselves what these people are facing just like those PREDATORY LENDERS they know exactly what position they are placing these people in and yet they still Go Completely over Board!!! Who wants to live luxurious for a few years and then Plummit down lower than you were before you won on this show? not only will you be poor again but this time you will be hauling around these HUGE debts this time so its not a good picture they are painting and everyone sees it and want the same thing these people are having……We are not Donald Trump so we all need to realize that……..people that hit the big Lottery Jackpot don’t have homes as large as those I have seen on this Extreme Home Makeover show. they need to revise the show and the building plans and call the show HOME MAKEOVER and not extreme…..its just too much!!!!!!

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  • Amy

    I for one have stopped watching EM because they have gone too far over the top with these ridiculous homes. Yeah, give the poeple a nice, safe, clean home and throw in a few fun things but let’s not get ridiculous about it. So many more people could be helped if they just reduced what they spent on each house by half.

  • gina

    While I feel bad fro the family loosing their home, it seems very disrespectfukl to all of those neighbors who spewnt many long and hard hours building the new home for them. The hiouse should be sold to a cancer center or used as a hospice that way to still serves the intended puspose of helping Buey heal. Their is a major childrens hospital less than an hour away from the home . The family wqas given money to pay off the old billand to heklp with utilties. Go to the shows website to see what they got.

  • babette

    They can’t sell it because they took out a $450,000 mortgage on it that they can’t pay back. Is anybody up on the housing problems? Houses are not selling these days. This is why I stopped watching the show. People that they build homes for are indeed worthy, no doubt about it – but the show went so over the top with the projects, to me it became disturbing. Instead of rejoicing with the family, I was thinking, “wowh, that’s going to cost them a bundle!” Looks like the construction of the new home left them with a whole lot of bills they can’t pay (including the old mortgage) and to add insult to injury, they took out a huge loan that they can’t pay back. This was going to happen eventually. Sorry to sound harsh, but many people are suffering incredible losses these days.

  • Idiot Report

    The fact is they borrowed $450,000 on the NEW house against the equity. What was that spent on? I agree that the situation with their daughter is devastating but this proves that if you “win” it instead of “earn” it you’ll never keep it. Like it or not, they “won” the house. And now they’ve lost it.


  • Holly

    Did Sad & Babette get confused about the family(s)? It was the Harper family in an EM house in Atlanta, Ga that took out a $450k home equity loan 18mos after getting their EM. What confuses me about the Harpers is that the loan was for a construction business…..If they knew anything about construction what did they need a makeover for ?????

  • Carol

    EM has gone thru the charts in that they find these really deserving, desperate families that are living in a ramshackle house; someone in the family is ill. All very, very sad and emotionally upsetting. But these people can’t make ends meet now; so, enter EM and they build them a Taj Mahal!!! I sit and watch and wonder… “how are they going to pay the utilities? How are they going to pay the insurance? How are they going to pay the maintenance and upkeep?” Some guy is a wonderful man… he’s a teacher or plumber; the wife or kid is dying, etc. etc. etc. I mean, come on! Build them a regular house that does what they need and what they can afford! These gigantic homes with 20′ ceilings and all the high-priced furnishings are just too much for these folks to adjust to. I mean… how many lottery winners do you hear about that win millions, to only be broke in a couple of years? The show needs to be more practical in their building and decorating designs so that these people have a nice, normal, safe home that they can afford to upkeep. Now for the Harper family, their problem is that they were given free and clear a huge house that they turned around and slapped a $450,000 mortgage on. He’s in the construction business! Duh-uh…. hasn’t he seen all the news about the housing economy, etc? How did he think he’d come out? I’m sorry about his daughter and all his problems, but I gotta say … this dude brought this problem on himself! He’s after more sympathy… some other EM type will waltz in and bale him out and I’ll bet you in 2 years he’s back in the news with another heart-wrenching story. I mean, come on… life’s a B**CH sometimes, but you gotta get a grip, and make the best of it. Try to sell the house and move in to something you can afford to heat, cool, insure, maintain. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist.

  • trish

    I’ve said it from the beginning that if the family lived in a shack before don’t build them a mansion but a nicer shack. This show goes too over the top. Keep it nice but simple.
    As for the house in foreclosure there is no reason for this. They received enough money to pay off that mortgage. It’s just being greedy. What happened to all the money????

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  • give me a break

    EM raises money for each person to pay off the existing mortgage. I have also seen them give extra money for whatever medical issue, college funds,etc. It is not ABC’s fault that these people do not use the money that they were given wisely! When are we going to take responsibility for our own actions??? Yes, they all have issues, one way or another, but when you are given something as fabulous as these houses are, and the mortgage is paid for, you should be able to find a way to pay the taxes. The money not used to pay your mortgage can now be used to pay the taxes on the home. These people apply to be on the show too, so it is not like they were blind sided by this gift! The show has been running for over 2 years now. Why is it when one or two families have to forclose, it is ABC’s fault? The family in Atlanta, in my opinion were being greedy! They have this free home, no mortgage, so lets borrow against it to get the money!! People are plain stupid!!!

  • C Scott

    What is the matter with you people. Both EM houses, Atlanta and Oregon were given to supposedly deserving families. The houses were a gift, true. But with ownership comes responsibility. I am sick to death of hearing ‘poor me’ stories in conjunction with the housing crisis. It is the responsibilty of the homeowner to determine what is affordable. If you cannot do the math, you should not enter into the contract. I for one am sick of having my hard earned tax dollars bail out those who know perfectly well they are getting over their heads but chose to do it regardless. Why doesn’t EM build houses for those willing to work for it. Habitat for Hhumanity requires sweat equity prior to ownership. EM sends you to Disneyworld. As long as we as a country continue to give to those who chose to act helpless, we will continue to read stories of how it was all wasted. Every freeloader has some bleeding heart excuse. Make people accountable and they will work to preserve what they have earned!

  • Pablo

    I feel for the families loss but there are many other poor families with sick children who have passed away. I’m sure they would have loved to have been given such a wonderful gift.

    People just don’t appreciate money unless they earn it. They couldn’t even keep their original house in decent shape. That’s why they got on the show.

    Now they will just have to live within their means. Your doing them a favor if you don’t send them money. I won’t be sending any checks to this family. A society that expects everyone else (goverment) to take care of everything will not stand. It may already be too late for the US. I think a lot of generous loving people in their community have already done more than enough.

  • Craig

    In response to John Smith on May 14th, the house would still be there if they moved so how would the carbon footprint be smaller? Unless of course you’re suggesting demolishing the house, but that kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

  • evonne

    This is the problem with this show…it’s just great to give these poor families a new beginning but they build the over the top extravagant homes they can’t afford. They can’t afford the real estate taxes, they can’t afford the utilities and, and they can’t afford the upkeep. If they could they wouldn’t be in this position for needing assistance. Instead let’s give more families help with homes that fit their needs and capabilities. This show is just setting families up for more dissapointment. More homes <2000 sq.ft. for more families. I couldn’t possibly keep the housework up on a 10,000 sq. ft. home without a maid. I don’t think they can afford a maid anymore than I. Are the producers insane? I think they’re CRUEL.

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  • ronda

    I’m watching now and I can’t believe this travesty! I couldnt pay for the upkeep, utilities, taxes, etc even without a mortgage!

    How are they helping these people? I even noticed a spectacular home being built in clearly a neighborhood that won’t maintain the value as the homes around this mansion are all shacks!!

    I’d be thrilled if they painted, recarpeted, replaced the windows, doors and broken appliances in my existing shack. I know I can keep the roof over my head after the show is over.

    I am a fulltime caregiver for my husband who has had a stroke. There is no way I could afford anything more than I have. Like most of these people, my home has fallen into disrepair but at least it’s paid for.
    Our limited income has forced us to do what these people haven’t learned–live within your means!!

    Rent an apartment, pay off your debts and learn to do without like we have!! We aren’t photogenic, can’t cry on command, and don’t have cutesy kids to feel sorry for. So I dont think ABC would do us any favors. In fact, they are by leaving us to live as we can afford to. But, that doesn’t make for good tv.

  • 5th

    I agree that some of the houses are over the top, and not in keeping with the other homes in the neighbourhood. I disagree however about the families being greedy. The Atlanta family made a foolish decision in my opinion, but I can certainly appreciate Boey’s family being reluctant to move. While the home may be too much for them I can see how it may seem umgrateful to pack up, move out and sell what is basically a gift.
    It’s difficult to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, but perhaps the network should consider scaling down the gifts, to be appropriate for the neighbourhood, and within the means of the recipient family to maintain.
    There are many deserving families out there, but it seems like sour grapes to me to begrudge these families what amounts to a gift from the hearts of all the volunteers. I’d love to have someone come in to my house and remodel all the things I’d like changed, but I thank my lucky stars that I’ve got a job, a decent house, healthy kids and I can manage on my own. I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the EM recipients for anything.

  • Peggy

    I have watched the show since it started and do believe sometimes they go to extreme. As a homeowner myself I understand the larger the house the higher the taxes. Maybe they should scale down and think of how much it will cost to keep it up in the future. Lets all remember there have been only two families that have had issues at least that we know of. That is not bad. I wish the families all the best and my heart goes out the Byers family God Bless.

  • Meg

    If you check this out – it isn't true. Boey's family is NOT in foreclosure, it's the Harper's in Atlanta that took out the loan and can't pay it. They have stated before that the rumors aren't true about their home – maybe the guy reporting this should have actually 'investigated' first, then wrote his piece?I do agree though, that so many of these homes – there is NO WAY the people can pay the utilities on them, much less the darn taxes. Why put a $200,000 home in a $60,000 home neighborhood?

  • Rory28

    I just love how much people now seem to “love to HATE” this show…LOL …EVERY tv show known to man is a PUBLICITY STUNT to get YOU to watch COMMERCIALS…LOL,that is TV's one and ONLY purpose…So when ever the common folk can get a lil piece of that HUGE FILTHY CHUNK of revenue DON'T HATE…More and more they are attaching mortgage/tax/scholarship relief…Those houses are BIG,but there also WELL built and you probably REALLY DON'T need to use much of that heating energy,AND last time i checked having MORE lights and MORE tv's than one could possibly ever use…Leaves the ability to TURN MOST OFF more of the time…its NOT really the catastrophe you all are bandwagoning it to be,AND just because someone gave you a nice house,they DID NOT “guarantee” your lifes utter perfection

  • NMRod

    You'd think the Byers would have had better advice given that Mike Byers, the family's grandfather is a leading real estate agent and investor in the area. However, Mike's ReMax office has recently been closed down – many simply could not see the downturn in the boom and credit coming and unfortunately an expert in the field didn't either.

  • salem12345

    I think ABC owes it to these families to sit with them and explain the real costs of owning these homes, including taxes, utility costs, not to mention the IRS taxes they have to pay for winning these homes, to the IRS these are prizes they competed for therefore they have to pay taxes on the value of the home/prize. Its so unfair to dump these homes in their laps, the homes are highly extravagant (for ratings purposes) and could be scaled down to be more affordable after the fact. If some of these families could afford a home like the ones given to them, they would have one already, obviously guidance and expectations need to be discussed early in the process, otherwise you elicite disaster.

  • MikeRohrig

    There is a actually a tax loophole to avoid the taxes. Taxes aren't the issue it is often the new property taxes adding up and most refinance to pull out the money. I don't know if they are counseled but I do know that professional sports rookies are often counseled on the pitfalls but still make mistakes.

  • salem12345

    It's just so sad that these families are given the chance of a lifetime andvery little assistance after the tv crew leaves.

  • Guest

    It’s just so sad that these families are given the chance of a lifetime and
    very little assistance after the tv crew leaves.

  • Guest

    It’s just so sad that these families are given the chance of a lifetime and
    very little assistance after the tv crew leaves.

  • Crabella76

    No, I think ABC should have these families sign agreements to which they agree not to try to profit from these houses and that they understand that ABC’s gesture is meant as a gift to help the families and not solve every single one of their problems that may arise or have already been happening.

  • Crabella76

    The famiiles accept their ‘cruel’ help with open arms and smiles. I don’t see anyone holding weapons forcing the families to come out and greet Ty when he’s yelling into his megaphone.

  • Judy

    This is why, either the designers or the home builders now raise money to pay off the mortgage. They sometimes, more often than not, now that the show & recipients have gone thru this, now raise large funds (that are set up thru an investor) to handle the taxes & insurance for the family. Can you imagine the devastation, if they handed all that cash to the families to just blow, not realizing they have taxes, insurance, utilities to pay. This way the bills go directly to the investment company & they pay them out of the funds.  True, it was a hard lesson to learn. Thank heavens the more recent families are helped this way so they don’t have to learn the hard way or risk the chance of losing their home.


    I think it is great to help a family, this show has started building  the homes bigger and on a recent show they really built a mansion that would have interested a big hollywood star.  My husband and I used to watch this show all the time but we get angry if we watch now . They started out keeping it real then it got shameful as they build these huge homes worth more than a million dollars leaving  the family to pay higher taxes and utilities and upkeep. they could go into a poor neighborhood and help 10 or 12 families in need by doing some remodeling and maybe new roofs if needed. They sink way too much money in one home leaving the family too look like they don’t belong in the community of  80,000 dollar homes.  They need to scale back and maybe they would regain some viewers they lost.

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