Call them crazy.
Carlos and Juanita Garcia, co-owners of Icon Custom Home Builder, plan to give away a new $200,000 house, fully furnished, to a deserving family that could use a nice home.
And it won’t be the first time.
They made their first giveaway in 2017. Then, in 2018, they sold one of their new houses and gave the Child Crisis Center of El Paso a $115,000 check from the proceeds.
“We’re life-long El Pasoans,” he said. “I used to be a fireman. My wife was a teacher. We left to go into business, and before we knew it, we were building more and more homes every year – to the point where we were lucky enough to be selling 80 to 100 homes a year.
“We’ve been doing it for 17 years, and we wanted to give back to the community.”
Carlos is 46. Juanita is two years younger, and they have three children. The oldest is 24 and an El Paso firefighter – like his father, grandfather and uncle. Another attends UTEP, and the youngest is in high school.
Icon’s higher-end homes go for more than $700,000. Their standard houses sell for around $300,000, and they have 65 employees, plus the subcontractors they hire.
The subs and vendors are participating in the project by gifting materials and labor.
In 2017, the Garcias and their staff at Icon combed through more than 500 applications to find the family that would receive the new house in Socorro.
“The hardest part was picking the top 10 and then the top five because you’re rating some gut-wrenching stuff,” he said.
The new four-bedroom, three-bath house they’ll be giving away is at 13683 Everingham, off Darrington Road in Horizon City.
So far, they have about 350 applications and expect to have more because they’ll be marketing it on Icon’s website. The application process ends May 31, and they plan to present the home to the winner on June 26.
The registration for the giveaway is online at ICONHomeForGood.com/enter.
The giveaway won’t be a repetition of the ABC television show “Extreme Makeover” in 2009 when thousands of El Pasoans showed up for the presentation of a new home that was aired on national TV, he said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing recommendations, this presentation will be a small affair, aired live on Facebook and posted on Instagram.
“We’ll put the recipients through Cadence Lending Group’s orientation on home maintenance like we did the first time, and we’re looking for someone who’s employed because we don’t want to give it to someone who can’t afford the taxes.”
So they’re requiring a combined household income of at least $30,000 along with three references.
And, as they did the first time, the Garcias will report the donation to the IRS as a gift, so the family isn’t saddled with having to pay income taxes on the value of the home.
Email El Paso Inc. reporter David Crowder at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (915) 534-4422, ext. 122 and (915) 630-6622.