Family Sells $1.5 Million Home for One That's Half the Price

Atlanta family learns to live with less, gives half of home's sale to charity.

ByABC News
February 7, 2010, 10:46 PM

Feb. 8, 2010 -- It was a simple observation that led to a major lifestyle change -- and a much smaller home -- for the Salwen family of Atlanta.

Kevin Salwen, 51, entrepreneur, was driving with his then 14-year-old daughter Hannah, when they stopped at a notoriously slow traffic light. Hannah noticed a homeless man at the corner of the intersection panhandling, while a few feet away, a Mercedes idled. She pointed out that if the man driving the expensive car traded it in for a lesser one, maybe the homeless person could get a meal.

At the time, Kevin did not think much about his daughter's remarks. "The light changed, we went on and I thought the incident was over," Kevin said. "It wasn't until Hannah brought her anger about the situation back to the dinner table that I realized she was just fuming about it."

The family had volunteered for years at a soup kitchen. But Hannah's parents realized something had changed for their daughter that day. She wanted to do more. Hannah, now 17, started questioning why her family lived in such a big house. In a fit of frustration, her mother, Joan, 49, asked, "What do you want me to do, sell the house?"

That eureka moment led to the Salwens rethinking how they lived. "If we lived with less, we could offer an opportunity for hundreds or thousands of people to have the opportunity to have a better life," Kevin said.