Foreclosure looms for Gilbert TV-show home - East Valley Tribune: News

Foreclosure looms for Gilbert TV-show home

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Posted: Monday, February 15, 2010 6:21 pm | Updated: 3:23 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The Gilbert house featured on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in 2005 could be sold to the highest bidder in a foreclosure auction this May unless a buyer steps forward.

The Okvath family, whose poignant story involving their sick 8-year-old daughter was aired during a two-hour episode of the show on KNXV-TV (Channel 15) in March 2005, just dropped the price on the home by $100,000 to $699,000 over the weekend, said Tony Moore, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty.

“We’ll get as aggressive as we need to on price to get it sold,” he said.

The Okvaths’ original ranch-style home on the property was leveled and replaced with the new 7,200-square-foot, six-room Spanish Colonial-style mansion replete with extras such as a movie theater, hardwood and travertine flooring, granite counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms and ultraviolet-light air and water filtration systems.

Nichol Okvath, the family matriarch, said she and her family struggled to pay to maintain the huge home, saying power bills during the summer reached $1,800 a month.

She said she took out a $405,000 loan to help make it more energy-efficient and to pay for other necessities. She mentioned other pricey fixes including the stucco, which began to come off the exterior, and a clogged drain that flooded the downstairs, requiring new flooring.

Okvath said in retrospect the family should have sold the home when they realized how much it was going to cost them to keep it up.

“We were living beyond our means,” she said.

But Okvath said the home and all the volunteer work put into it meant too much to her and her family to simply turn around and sell it.

“It became really personal for us,” she said.

The home was built after the couple’s oldest daughter, Kassandra, who was battling a rare form of cancer, requested that the show’s producers do a makeover on some of the hospital rooms in which she was living. The girl wanted to do away with the sterile and depressing white walls and make the rooms more cheery and inviting for her fellow patients.

ABC officials could not be reached for comment.

The house was eventually put on the market with a $1.2 million price tag last summer after a string of bad luck.

First Okvath’s husband, Bryan, lost his job in 2008 at Western Pilot Service, a company that extinguishes brush fires by dumping slurry from the air. He found employment as a truck driver later but stopped working after a bad fall from the cab of his truck, which severely injured his back.

Moore said a trustee sale date has been set, but the family still has until early May to find a buyer.

He said the sale is taking so long because there’s an 18-month inventory backlog on luxury homes in the $600,000 to $700,000 price range in Gilbert, and it’s harder to get financing for an expensive home than a moderately priced house. Lenders are now requiring a hefty down payment, he said.

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