SANDPOINT, Idaho - A Sandpoint man whose family received a house from the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" television program is putting it up for sale.
Eric Hebert said maintaining the home is too expensive and time-consuming as he raises his late sister's 11-year-old twins, Keely and Tyler.
"It's a little too much for the three of us," he said.
Hebert is worried that community members who helped build his home in November 2006 will think he is selling it to make a profit.
"I'm doing it not to lose money," he said. "I just hope people understand the reality of it."
Hebert is single, works full-time in construction and spends most evenings taking the kids to baseball and soccer practice. He said wants to enjoy his time with his niece and nephew, whose mother, Francine Hebert, died in 2004 of a heart attack at age 37.
Maintaining the 3,600-square-foot home is expensive, he added. Since moving in, Hebert said, his bills have tripled.
Sullivan Homes co-owner Lori Sullivan said she understands Hebert's plight. Sullivan Homes was the primary contractor on the project. A number of other contractors from Bonner County and the Spokane area also helped, along with hundreds of local volunteers.
"It's too bad it's a burden for him," Sullivan said. "We're sad for Eric."
Hebert said he would not trade the "Extreme Makeover" experience for anything. He believes it has changed his life and the children's for the better, citing their opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., meet many caring people in the community and own the home.
But he said he doubts he will ever again live in such a nice home.
The house and the one-acre property it sits on are listed for sale for $529,000. Hebert also owns another two acres adjacent to the home and has listed that property for $160,000.
Hebert said he loves the home's layout and its private location, but after six months of thinking about what to do, he said he had to be realistic.
The home includes three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a bonus room, an office, and a master bedroom with access to a deck that includes a fireplace and hot tub.
Two large windows in the two-story great room overlook a tree farm. The floors are covered with hardwood and slate.
Hebert worried about how the the kids would react, but said they understand his decision.
Hebert is unsure what he will do once the home sells. He may stay in the area, because he has a lot of friends and some family here. He may also move to Montana.
"One thing at a time," he said.
Hebert moved from Montana to Sandpoint to care for the children when it appeared they would otherwise end up in the foster-care system. He moved them out of a rundown trailer and into a "berm house," described as a daylight basement with a roof. In the "Extreme Makeover" program, the berm house was demolished and replaced in a week with a large, two-story house.
Believe me, I am preaching to the choir here. As much as I have always loved EM, I could not help but think at every episode - why don't you build 3 or 4 smaller houses? Why does it have to be so BIG, to be good?. People who find themselves in these situations don't have the financial equipment to clean up long after the EM crowd is gone. How much is too much? Why do we give/do/think in excess believing we are doing a Good Thing? Does it always have to be Over The Top? Are we upset when people can't/won't/chose not to, play along. Helping can be a little thing or a big thing, it all depends on your view. Eric, may your Journey be long filled with lots of love and your days, overflowing with joy. Good luck in Montana!
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org at Tuesday, May 27, 2008