It is nothing short of a miracle that we were able to purchase a home during this time of crisis in our nation’s real estate market. We are so thankful for what God has done and how He worked everything out for us to be able to buy this home. I would like to share the story with you of how God gave us our home.
This is not meant to make us seem more spiritual or blessed of God. We simply want to first glorify God for His provision in our lives. Second, we want others to be encouraged with this fact- God is still in control and He does not forget about His children. And last of all, as Solomon said, “everything is made beautiful in His time.“
The process really began three years ago. As I was checking the mail at our townhome in Chandler, a man approached me about buying property in our neighborhood. We weren’t selling nor planning to sell our townhome at the time. The townhome next to us was selling but the man said that property wasn’t big enough. The biggest unit in the complex belonged to Amy and I and so out of curiosity I asked, “How much are you willing to pay?”
He answered, “How much do you want?”
I thought of the highest, ethical number and told him, to which he answered, “I want it!”
A few days later, we opened escrow- without realtors, without inspections. Because of how quick everything happened, I requested in the contract that we be allowed to rent back from the buyer the property for a few months until we find a place to live.
In the meanwhile, we had the opportunity for a few months to help Amy’s sister, Jeni, by allowing her and her son, Isaac to live with us. How can I say “no” to having my nephew living in our house?
God opened the door by leading us to a rental house that was closer to the church and big enough to house all of us. The house had three bedrooms and a den, a big backyard, and a large great room. For almost three years, we lived in that house.
On one hand, we were disappointed that we could not buy a home. All the home prices in Gilbert were inflated due to buyers’ demands (to which I contributed). We decided that we would rent a home, even though there were homes within our price range just a little bit further from the church. We were able to take some of the equity to pay off all our debts as well as help Amy’s sister as she lived with us for a few months.
Let me insert here that Amy and I have always had the conviction that because we desire to serve at the church as often as we can, we have purposed to always live close by the church. It is a personal decision and may not be right for anyone else. But for my family, it is imperative (with one vehicle) that we be close to the church.
For almost three years, we rented that house. A few months ago, we began the process of looking for a home. We saw every kind of house, in every kind of shape, in every kind of price range. I must say, house hunting can be both enjoyable and torturous! Simultaneously, God was working out a miracle for us on the financial side.
With the way housing values have steeply declined, Amy and I felt very uncomfortable putting a lot of money down on the house. Many have lost thousands of dollars in equity because of the shift in the housing market. Seeking counsel from a few people, we decided that whoever we were going to buy the house from, we were going to ask some very specific things.
First, we were going to ask for the sellers to pay most of the closing cost (which is about 3% of the selling price). Second, we were going to ask them to pay 3% down on the property by donating to a non-profit organization called Ameridream. And thirdly, we were going to ask for a shorter escrow period, seeking to close in less than thirty days.
As we looked at homes every week, God led us to homes we would absolutely love. We usually went out with our realtor on Tuesday afternoons. By the end of each trip, we would find a house we love, put an offer, and wait.
For three weeks, this was the process- find a house, place an offer, receive the rejection of the offer. It was getting discouraging but we always reminded ourselves that God is in control. He has the perfect house out there for us. What was amazing was that every week, the house was better that the one we just placed an offer in for. Because of this, we were excited about what house God has prepared for us.
Usually, after the men’s retreat in April, things at the church pick up pace simply because we are getting ready to end the school year. Graduation season is always hectic with picnics and banquets in between. Then there’s the preparation for special Sundays, VBS, etc. In the midst of all this, we were looking and praying for a house.
One Tuesday afternoon, we walked into a house while the homeowners are home. That is always so uncomfortable. You can’t look in closets or cabinets because you feel as if you are invading their privacy. You feel rushed because you don’t want to inconvenience the homeowners. They come in and out trying to tell you more info about the house. It is just a very uncomfortable feeling.
But one thing was different about this house. We loved the layout, we loved the kitchen, we loved the backyard, we loved the master bedroom. These homeowners did something that we had never come experienced before- they had warm chocolate chip cookies on the kitchen island! That was a deal-clincher!
We got to talk to the owners and complimented them on their home and the delicious cookies. We asked what their plans were. Here I am, trying to gather information so that I will know how to place the offer for the house.
When we got done our realtor asked what we think. Amy and I both loved the house! So right away, she contacted the seller’s realtor. This time, however, she decided to let them know what our stipulations were before writing out a contract. No need to waste paper if the sellers aren’t even interested.
After the seller’s realtor contacted the sellers, he called our realtor and said, “They really like your clients and would like to sell them the house. They are willing to work with them to make it all happen.” Can this be?
Meanwhile, just in a matter of days, all of our loan items have been processed. We have been pre-approved for way more that what we wanted to spend. God is so good!
We went through the inspection phase and you are not going to believe what happened next. The home and termite inspection did not reveal anything drastically wrong with the property. There were a few small things that needed to be fixed, about thirteen items to be exact.
Not wanting to jeopardize the contract, we asked for just three items to be fixed. The rest I can take care of myself. To our surprise, when we did our final walk through, the homeowner fixed every single item on our list, including the others we did not even ask for! On top of that, he showed me how to work every switch and every equipment in the house. They even left us with all the manuals for the house. Unbeknown to them, God used them to be such a huge blessing to Amy and I.
We closed in about three weeks. The homeowners paid for all the closing costs and the down payment. The upgrades that we get with this house are unbelievable- from cabinet hinges to tile floors, from the jacuzzi to garage cabinets, from the water softener to the reverse osmosis sytem- the Lord had to be in it! And we paid a whole lot lower than what we had budgeted for. God is so good!
Today, we have hung a lot of pictures on the wall. We have decorated some. All the boxes have been unpacked. The house is fully functional. And the guest bedroom is ready for company!
The moral to this story. What we want may not always match what God wants. Simply “trust the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” God knows what’s best for us, God can do what’s best for us, and He will do what’s best for us. Just “Delight thyself also in the LORD, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” His ways are defintely better than ours!
God has now blessed us with a beautiful home. Now we’re just waiting for Him to fill it up with children. Stay posted to find out when that’s going to happen!