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Dave Olson, Published January 10 2013

Winners of West Fargo ‘dream home’ sell house

WEST FARGO - Michele and Art Gilbertson have sold their dream home.

Last summer, the Kindred couple won a home in West Fargo valued at $500,000 through a “giveaway of a lifetime” contest sponsored by Great Plains Integrated Marketing and Designer Homes of Fargo-Moorhead.

At the time, Michele Gilbertson said the family was thinking of moving out of their 90-year-old farmhouse near Kindred in favor of the new house at 406 Persimmon Place in West Fargo.

Art Gilbertson joked: “18-acre farmstead by Kindred now for sale. Good deer hunting.”

However, the family never moved into the West Fargo property, and in mid-December, the house was sold to a family from the Twin Cities, according to Robert Leslie, the listing agent for the house and the president and owner of Designer Homes.

An analysis done by The Forum at the time of the giveaway indicated owning such a home could cost upward of $2,800 a month, but Leslie said affordability wasn’t the issue.

“They ended up going to their accountant, they got qualified, and they could afford to live in the house,” Leslie said, adding that the Gilbertsons decided to sell the house after their accountant explained how much money they could end up receiving.

“They started thinking about how many things they could do with that for their family and also for their extended family, as opposed to them just being able to have the house,” Leslie said.

He added that in addition to planning for college for their three children, the Gilbertsons also want to help with college costs for the children of Michele Gilbertson’s sister, who died of cancer.

On top of that, he said, the Gilbertsons are planning to upgrade their home in Kindred and would like to take an extended family vacation, something they have never done, he said.

Leslie said that in selling the house, the Gilbertsons decided they wanted others to benefit from their good fortune, so they steeply discounted their initial asking price.

“The Gilbertsons, in an effort to pay it forward, made their price point work on the house so that they (the couple from the Twin Cities) could buy it,” Leslie said.

While he would not discuss details of the sale, Leslie said that after the house was sold and tax obligations paid, the Gilbertsons probably came away from the deal with about $340,000.

He said the appraised value of the home was about $501,000.

An online real estate posting for the two-story, 2,843-square-foot home showed a list price of $439,900.

According to the Cass County Recorder’s Office, the house sold for $406,600 to Paul and Charisse Aslakson.

Messages left for the Gilbertsons were not returned.

The new owners of the home declined to comment for this story.

While the Gilbertsons didn’t live in the West Fargo home while they owned it, they did spend time in it, Leslie said.

“They would go there to watch movies in the family room and have some fun family events there,” he said, adding that a July Fourth celebration held at the house was attended by a couple hundred people.

Leslie said given the success of the first giveaway, others will be held in the future; he’s just not sure when.

“Our goal is to do it every two to three years,” he said. “We definitely will do it again.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555