Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Marvelous Story of Our New Home - Part Two

Remember that house that Shawn didn’t really want to see because it only had a one-car garage? Well, that house came up ready to be shown right at the end of our house hunting tour that day (the second Friday that we went looking). We liked that one pretty well, but there was another one we saw earlier that day that we had fallen in love with. That one we loved needed a lot of work, and we were concerned that there might be structural damage. We put an offer in, contingent upon the home inspection, and prayed for a speedy answer. We put the bid in on Friday. Sunday afternoon we found out that there had been a previous offer on the house that had been withdrawn because the home inspection had uncovered approximately $15,000 worth of structural damage. Well, we felt God answered our prayer for a speedy answer and withdrew our bid. That evening we put a bid on the house with the one-car garage. Our offer was accepted the next day!

We closed on the house on Friday, January 30th. From the day we seriously started looking for a house to the day we closed was only 26 days! Even with making three offers! All the closing preliminaries were completed in two weeks! We were able to purchase the house for several thousand dollars less than its appraisal value, including closing costs! And, unlike the other two houses that we had bid on, this one meets our needs so much better. The day of the closing we were $200 short of the total settlement. We had wrapped the closing costs into the mortgage, but had underestimated how much we needed by about $1,000. We were praying really hard that day for God to provide that $200 before we got to the closing table. Our real estate agent told us to bring what we had and we would work it out. While it was hard not to be anxious, I felt sure that God was going to get it worked out for us. We made it all the way through the closing without anything changing. Later that afternoon, after the attorney’s office recorded the deal, our agent called to let us know that she had the keys to give to us. Then she told me that “they” had cut our title insurance by half! Not only was that $200 covered, we also got a check back from the attorney for $62.00! I love God’s timing! He definitely has a way of keeping things from getting too dull!

As I’m writing this, I can really see God’s timing in the entire story. If we had rushed and bought the house we are living in right now we would have needed to move to a different school district a few months later and would have been stuck. If we had tried to get financing sooner we wouldn’t have had Shawn’s raise yet and would not have gotten as good of a deal on our financing. We also wouldn’t have had enough resources to cover the down payment. And, if we had tried to buy a house last year we would not have qualified for the tax credit. The house we bought does need a little work, but it meets ALL of our needs and it falls within our price range. God had us looking for houses at the right time for that house to become ready for us. Not only did we find a home within the 60-day time frame, but we also have a whole month to get it ready and to get our things packed and moved, and to clean up the old house.

I also see how God works through His family in this story. Both our real estate agent and our mortgage broker are members of our church. They both worked very hard to make sure we could close on the house by the end of January. God used other people in our earthly families (who are also a part of our heavenly family) to help provide some of our financial needs. And now that we are in the process of getting the house ready to move into by the end of this month, several other family members (both heavenly and earthly) are helping us do the necessary work so that we can move in.

Further, I can see how God is faithful to fulfill His promises to us. Throughout this whole process, and long before, we have been faithful to tithe and give as we felt God leading us. Like any good parent, He rewards our obedience. He says over and over again in His Word that if we give, He will make sure our needs are met. He has definitely done that for us. I can also see how each thing in the house that needs to be repaired or improved is just another opportunity for Him to meet us in our need, and it's another opportunity for His glory to be realized in our lives, even though the need may seem small. I find His faithfulness because of us, and in spite of us, astounding. Because of His faithfulness, we are prospering in God's economy in the midst of the poor state of the world's economy.

God truly has done something amazing and unexpected as He has orchestrated the circumstances for us to buy our new home. And I know that as the weeks and months and years go by that He has more and more amazing and unexpected things in store!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Marvelous Story of Our New Home - Part One

Late last Spring I was praying about our housing and financial situation. At that point we had been renting the home we currently live in for about two and a half years. Things were very tight financially and we felt we needed to buy a house. We had gone back and forth several times about buying this house (the one we’re living in), but we really weren’t sure if that was the right thing to do. When I was praying last Spring, God told me He was going to do something “amazing and unexpected” with our housing and finances. As time progressed, it became more and more clear that we were not supposed to buy the house we are renting. Part of that is because of Todd’s services for his speech therapy. We need to be in a different school district so that if he needs to go to a special needs preschool when he turns three-years-old in April, he can go to a school that has a good program.

We decided it would be best to wait until after all the craziness of the holidays before we tried to start house hunting. I was really dreading house hunting, but then after Christmas we started looking online at some houses and found some things we really liked. Then I started getting excited about it. We emailed our friend who is a real estate agent and told her that we wanted to start house hunting in mid-January. Well, around a week later we get an email from our landlord stating that she needed to move back into this house. We are on a month-to-month lease right now, but she was gracious enough to give us 60 days to move out, and said she would give us more time if we needed it. Well, there’s nothing like a deadline to put some fire under you to get you motivated to get something done. And, just in case we had any doubts left about whether or not we were supposed to buy this house that we’re renting, God removed ALL doubt, speaking through the voice of our landlord.

We received the notice from our landlord on January 5th, a Monday. That day we called our friend who is a mortgage broker to get financing, and we started looking in earnest for our new house online. As for the financing, we got a much better deal than we expected, thanks to the raise that Shawn got last fall, and the cost of living adjustment he got last month. God also provided for the down payment, and because it had been more than three years since we had owned our home in Virginia Beach, we qualify for the first-time homebuyers tax credit! The day we got the notice from our landlord, we also contacted our friend, the real estate agent, and made an appointment to look at homes that coming weekend. There was one house on our list that we weren’t able to see that weekend. There had been tenants in it, and the homeowner wanted to make a few repairs before the house was shown. Shawn wasn’t really excited about that house either, because it only has a one-car garage.

So we looked at houses on January 9th & 10th. We found three that we really liked and considered putting an offer on. We did put an offer in on one of those three houses. The crazy thing was that house had been on the market for several months, and there had been no offers as far as I know. Right after we put our offer in, someone else also put a bid on the house. We had the opportunity to change our bid, but Shawn and I both felt that we should keep it as it was and see what happened. We knew that if our bid wasn’t accepted that just meant that God had something better for us. Well, our bid was not the one accepted. So we went house hunting again that Friday.

(To be continued until tomorrow…)