Kristin and Geoffrey Pierce thought it was too good to be true when they got a phone call earlier this month saying they had won the Taylor Morrison Dream Home Giveaway.
The win finally hit home this week when the San Tan Valley couple picked out the cabinets, flooring and appliances Wednesday at the homebuilder's design center in Scottsdale. On Friday, they chose the exterior details for the new home and signed the contract for the lot.
"It couldn't have come at a better time because we were in the process of buying a foreclosed home a couple of blocks away," said Kristin Pierce, 35, a stay-at-home mom. They were just four days away from the deadline to receive their earnest money back when they got the call about the contest win.
"Now we can make it our own. It's great," she said of the Taylor Morrison home.
The Pierces and their 2 1/2-year-old son, Anson, moved to the recently named San Tan Valley area more than a year ago from Utah. Geoffrey Pierce took a job as a project coordinator for Cox Communications. They leased a home in Pinal County just outside of Queen Creek.
After their year lease ended in March they started looking for a short-sale or foreclosed home in their price range.
On a whim while out on a walk, the two toured a nearby Taylor Morrison model home. The sales representative told them about the dream home giveaway and gave them an entry card worth 50 entries.
Kristin entered online, and then entered again about five more times. The thought of winning never entered her mind because of the number of Taylor Morrison communities in Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado and Texas. The contest received close to 150,000 entries.
Kristin received the happy news on June 9. She remembers the call vividly because her mother, sister, friend and several kids were visiting, and it was "pretty loud." After she got the call, she excitedly announced, "I won a house. I won that dream home."
Geoffrey automatically was "skeptical" because he didn't remember entering the contest.
"It's been fun and overwhelming," said Geoffrey, 40, adding the two have never won a contest before. "It's also been kind of hectic."
After driving around in several nearby Taylor Morrison communities, the couple finally decided on a lot in Stratland Estates in Gilbert, at Germann and Higley roads.
"The lots were deeper, with a bigger backyard, and we liked the location, the nearby stores and the Higley School District," Kristin said. "It's close to (Geoffrey's) job and cuts his drive time in half."
The couple chose a single-story, 2,650-square-foot home with four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and an additional play room.
Construction should begin in mid July, and the home could be finished in about four months.
"The only difference between us and a typical homebuyer is they're knocking off $200,000 of the price," Geoffrey said. "So we like that."
Charlie Enochs, a division president with Taylor Morrison, said the $200,000 is about 90 percent of the home's price.
"It's just fun to do something nice for people in this market," Enochs said. "There's been enough tough news that it's really nice to be involved with this. Every single employee in our company gets so excited about this. We're looking forward to doing this for years to come."
Besides the dream home, the Pierces also won a four-day, three-night trip to Disneyland, including airfare, hotel and park tickets. (Kristin has never been to Disneyland, and Geoffrey hasn't visited the park since he was a young boy.)
Taylor Morrison started a partnership with Disney last year. The homebuilder built the Innovations Dream Home in Disneyland's Tomorrowland.
The couple will receive a ceremonial key to their new home when they visit Disneyland sometime in the next few months.
The Innovations Dream Home is an attraction at Disneyland that has several futuristic features, including voice-controlled lighting and music, digital picture frames that change depending on who enters the room, and fairy tale characters that are displayed on the wall and ceiling of the kid's room during storybook time, Enochs said.
The Pierces are the second winners of the contest. Last year's winner was a family in northern California. Both winners were randomly chosen, Enochs said.
"We spend a lot of time with our buyers going through the design center. You build a bond and a personal relationship, and it's always great when any customer is like the Pierces," Enochs said. "They've been excited, and at the end of the day, they've just been great customers."