First things first: Praise the name of the Lord Jesus! He has delivered a house in our neighborhood that we can (almost) afford to buy.
The rest of the story: Cari and I have been married for almost 10 years, now, and have been renting all the while. While driving home from work about 2 months ago God put on my heart that it was time to set my fears of committing to a mortgage aside (grow up), settle down and buy a house. It's very fitting that we may be moving into our own home right about the time of our 10th anniversary. Our search began about a week after God gave me that impression, somewhat out of the blue, when Cari's friend shared what God had done in her friend's life - home ownership with $500 down payment. Hmmm, we began to muse - maybe we COULD own our own home... We'd need to set aside more than unfounded fears: my salary ranks in the bottom 10% for my field; my credit can't be great (bankruptcy a few years back); medical bills arising from Cari's MS and ongoing treatment of secondary maladies can absolutely wreck a budget. But, hey, God's bigger than all those things - let's just put it out there and watch Him do the seemingly impossible while we do the humanly possible. It's clear that His fingerprints are all over this endeavor, so, after being pre-approved for a USDA loan for somewhat less that the median price of a home in our neighborhood, we knew that we'd be seeing more of His great work in action.
The home: Cari and I had seen this place up on the hill from where we currently live bearing a foreclosure notice on the front door. After researching public auctions, etc. we pretty much gave up on that 1 acre spread with the big north-facing back porch. Between then and now, we'd seen some other places in our price range get snapped up off the market and began to get a little discouraged (lack of faith?). Lo and behold, our Realtor called to say that she'd been poking around for us and stumbled across a house that would be coming on the market in a few weeks - our dream house (although it doesn't have a garage). It's awesome watching God in action!
- In order to qualify for the USDA loan with the Fed's first-time home buyers program that rebates up to $2000 per year in mortgage interest, we'll need to come up with a chunk of cash (about 1% of the loan amount) to enroll in. That comes to something like $2500 immediate need on top of any earnest money, etc. (my mind boggles at parts of this process). If we miss out on the first time home buyer's progam then we'll end up in a higher interest loan.
- After closing, the first thing that we'll need to do is fence our dogs in the back yard - there's another couple of hundred bucks if we stick with rabbit wire and "T" posts.
- The "master" bedroom is tiny! We'll be knocking out a wall between the "master" and the adjacent bedroom just as soon as the dogs are secure.
- We must move the air conditioning unit that we installed a year ago in the house we are renting. The way MS works, heat sensitivity / over-heating can lead to all sorts of worsening symptoms so it will be crucial to have this done before summer really sets in.
- There is no garage (oh, yeah, I did mention that), but there is a slab that will support a nice stroage shed of some sort. Coming from a place with a two-car garage with only one vehicle parked in it means that we've got tools and equipment that all need their own place to live.
- Getting an approved wood-burning stove in place where the old one has been removed will be necessary in order to keep our heating bill down ($40 per month last winter) before winter arrives. Fire wood is cheap here - living at the foot of Sierra mountains, it's not too difficult to get a couple of cords per season.
- A garage - beyond my wildest dreams - If we could pull this off in the semi-near term it would be truly, supernaturally amazing!
Please pray for God's plan to be revealed and lived out in our lives.
And God bless you for taking the time to read all this and for considering our plight.
And thank you from the bottom of our hearts!