Sunday, October 30, 2011

House Hunting

Conventional advice is:  Sell your house, then go look for another one and put an offer in on it.  My mom told me that Dave Ramsey's advice about renting property is to pay off your primary home then purchase another for rental.

But, what do you do if you need to move and your house isn't selling?  I think most families choose to move and either rent their home for a time or split up their family and remain in the house until it sells while the wage earner goes on ahead and lives in a studio apartment or with friends/family until his or her family is able to move there as well.

We are in an interesting situation.  My mom moved to Maryland three weeks ago.  My husband and I both thought it would work out well, but we had no idea how well.  We all get along well.  My husband and I go in a closed room and fight when we need to sort something out.  My mom is able to help us as we go through this house hunting journey by watching the kids for us as we go see houses and put offers in.  I try very hard not to take advantage of her as a babysitter.  She also has been helping with the cooking, laundry, and dishes.  Amidst this very stressful time right now, she has made my load bearable.

Our current home doesn't have enough room for us and for my mom to live in.  So, we need to move.  We'd also like to move closer to our church family and where our church meets.

Our house has been on the market for two weeks, but no one--No one has called to see it.  It is priced right (we even lowered the price $10k) and it's in wonderful shape.  Every major system in the house has been replaced except the water heater because it's in great shape.  Still no one's even looked.  What is God doing here?

A lot of things, I think.   We are considering purchasing a new home while retaining this one.  We'll keep it on the market and my mom can live here until it sells.  Or there's several other possibilities.  God has provided so that we could cover both mortgages.  By purchasing another home before selling this one, we will have time to fix whatever needs to be done to the other house before we move in.  I know this goes against traditional logic, but it will decrease the stress on my family.  My husband has a very stressful job and very little time during the week to work on house projects.  So, I would be squeezing the work in amidst moving in and homeschooling--eek!  We are going to refinance this house and lower the interest rate.  It will lower the monthly payment a great deal.  This goes against all traditional financial wisdom, but we are trusting the Lord with all of this.  Really, it's his money, not ours.  We are seeking to be wise in these decisions and praying through out this process.

In the past week, we put an offer in on two different houses.  The first was an older home that was going to need a lot of modifications in the kitchen.  It was a great home, but it had an in ground pool (added yearly maintenance cost) and an acre of woods.  Our offer was not accepted.  It was countered.  We were surprised!  When the owner countered, we pulled back.  One friend pointed out that though the house came with an acre of woods, it couldn't be used.  Given the market, the house was also overpriced.  Another issue we didn't consider at the time was that the bedrooms were upstairs, so when anyone went to bed, the people downstairs would hear all the walking (which sounds like stomping) around upstairs.  We took our offer off the table after seeking counsel and decided to keep looking.

In the middle of the week, I went to a house that had no garage but had 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths (which we need!).  At first, I completely discounted it.  But, when I mentioned it to my husband, he wanted to see it.  On Friday we went to see it together.  He fell in love with it.  I loved it even more than I did the first time.  It has an amazing kitchen--perhaps not for everyone, but for us because of the kind of cooks we are.  It had character that we loved.  But, we got a call on Saturday afternoon that there was another offer.  So, we met with our realtor to put an offer in.  Later last night, she called to say that there were 3 offers in total, so did we want to increase our offer?

Did we?  No.  My husband and I both felt it was wise to offer what we simply felt we were willing to pay and trust it to the Lord.  It felt a bit like eBay.  And eBay often feels like gambling to me.  Even though we love the house it isn't wise to pay more than it is worth.  We can take the elements from this house that we love and add some of them to another home we find.  One thing we've realized is that we really want a rancher!

We won't hear back until later today.  My husband is at peace about the outcome and I am too.  I don't accept our offer to be accepted though.  I rejoice for the woman selling her home!  What a blessing all of this is to her!!  She has to move because of health reasons and I am so thankful that the Lord is providing for her.  God works through many ways--even house hunting--to bring people together.

You see, we're going to buy her piano from her.  She wants to meet our kids.  I want to help her.  So, today we're going to see her after church.  It doesn't matter if she doesn't accept her offer.  God brought someone into our lives that we can care about.  As always, God does unexpected things.

The other blessing of this situation is that my husband and I now have hope.  There will be another home out there for us.  We will look and wait until we find it.  Our house obviously isn't going anywhere!  We took a hard look at our finances and figured out our new price range and even realized that we want (and I'd say even need) a rancher.  In the long run, a ranch home truly is so much wiser with my mom living with us.

House hunting is very stressful.  It isn't easy.  These past three weeks have pushed my husband and I hard.  We've been very stressed out at times.  There is no perfect home.  But, there has also been joy in the adventure.  As we climb back up from the lows, I see God working and renewing our hearts and minds.  Our pastor preached on Psalm 23 last week.  His sermon was very different than any I'd heard before on Psalm 23.  The point that stuck out to me the most was that it says we will "walk" through the valley of the shadow of death.  It doesn't say "run", "fly", "hop", or even "skip" through it.  It will take time and we put one foot in front of the other.  We press on.

We're pressing on.  We'll see what this day holds.  At the very least, it holds a new friend for me as she meets my kids and my mom.  A new person to love with the love of Christ that He has put in my heart.

1 John 4:7,12

English Standard Version (ESV)
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

No comments:

Post a Comment