Ways we have seen God in the house-hunting process:
1. God moving us to one of the only places in CA where we could afford a decent house with a mortgage equal to or less than what we’d pay for rent for an apartment.
2. Obama passing the $8000 first time homebuyer credit, even giving us a CHANCE at becoming homebuyers after one year of marriage…I had long written off the possibility!
3. Our buddy, Joe, passing along the message about a real cheap condo on sale. Though we didn’t bite, it got the wheels in our heads spinning as to what actually could be possible.
4. Hooking us up with sibs that make a ton of cash and would lend us the $8000 for a downpayment. Definitely not talking about Timmy.
5. Originally, it looked like we needed RJ’s parents to co-sign on our mortgage, which they graciously agreed to. However, a couple weeks ago, our loan officer said she could probably do our loan without the parents! Which leads to…
6. God’s perfect timing in the house hunt. Our ideal timeline was to close on a place by August when our lease ended, and get moved in before the school year started. Not needing RJ’s parents on the loan meant we really didn’t need to wait so long to search and put an offer in. In retrospect, we really believe it was God’s way of making us wait for the house He wanted us to have and not settling for less than His best just to make our own timeline happen.
7. I always had my heart set on a little house, but we weren’t sure of the safety of the neighborhoods by campus in our price range, so we thought we’d end up in a cute little condo. Little did we know that the condos in our price range were just disgusting, in horrible shape, really disappointing. RJ and I would have had to put in $5000-$8000 up front just to make it livable. I remember thinking, “Ugh, we’re buying a place that is a dump, is this worth it??” Plus an extra $230/month in HOA fees equals about our rent. We started considering houses after visiting a bunch of condos in bad condition, and stumbled upon our house. We drove by and felt safer than we expected in the neighborhood, and decided to officially take a look.
8. Our realtor said inventory last year at this time was 3000 houses. This year it is 400. That means there are a LOT of buyers fighting over a few houses. When we submitted our offer at market value, there was another one $15,000 higher, plus 6 other offers. I think RJ and I had to emotionally detach ourselves from the house, but lo and behold, a couple weeks later, our realtor calls and says the highest bidder dropped their bid, and it was down to our offer and two others. Eventually, ours was chosen, which is CRAZY! A lesson learned in believing and trusting God for impossible things.
9. The house is less than two miles from campus, an easy bike ride!
10. Interest rates have dipped below 5%! Our realtor had suggested we lock it in, so I called our loan officer, who said it was still at 5%. The next day, she called me and asked if I wanted to lock in, because it had dipped to 4.87% overnight! She told us a week later that it had gone back up above 5% the next day.
11. Escrow can be a long process, especially for FHA loans. FHA loans usually take at least 45 days. Our loan officer got our loan done in about 20 days. She is awesome, and a feisty, sassy lady, really good with homebuying noobs like us.
12. Closing on a home before the November 30th first time homebuyer credit deadline for this year. We’re cutting it close!
13. Last year, they had a first time homebuyer credit of $7500, which taxpayers had to pay back over a span of 10 years. This year’s tax credit is a straight $8000 refund!
14. The location of the house is right across the street from the future site of a medical school, which is required to open by 2012. This means that the home value is anticipated to jump up another $100,000-$200,000, allowing us to have a decent down payment for a future house when we move.
15. An amazing realtor, who believes in the work RJ and I are doing with Navs, and will be using part of his commission to put back into our new home in the form of garage roof repairs. Bill O’Rafferty with Trademark Realtors. He has sold many of our friends’ homes here. He’s like the official Nav realtor of the Inland Empire.
16. The inside of our house was in move-in ready condition, and though the price was higher, not having an HOA makes it about the same monthly cost as the condo, plus we get our own yard and aren’t sharing walls with neighbors!
17. We were prepared to shell out a bunch of money for closing costs, but in the end we got a nice fatty check back from the escrow company (about $1600), allowing us to pay for a washer, dryer, microwave, and other “house” stuff!
18. It’s like 2nd wedding in our home! As we were unpacking, we finally got to open wedding gifts we weren’t able to open and use last year because we had no room to use them. Hellooooo, KitchenAid mixer!!
19. We can fit all our bedroom furniture into our master bedroom! I am beyond excited about this. All we could fit in our room last year was our bed and one nightstand, and everything was crammed up against the wall. Now we have our bed, two nightstands, a chest, and our dresser in the room! With room to spare!!
20. Because the value of our house has gone down, we’ll be paying a third of the amount of property tax the bank needed to previously. We needed to pay the compound property tax for this year at closing based on the previous home value, but we should get another nice check back with the extra money.
21. There’s an oak tree in the front yard! And we think it’s 50 years old!
22. The bank did a great job fixing up the house. New paint, new carpet, new floorboard, new sprinkler set, new stove, new fans, etc. etc. etc.! And we didn’t even have to ask for any of it!
23. After living here for about a week, I am QUITE surprised by how safe I feel here! And I have anxiety and fear issues, so if I’m not freaking out, then anyone will be okay! Our next door neighbor is an older man, and he said he hasn’t had any complaints since he’s moved in a year ago.
24. We’ve gotten to meet some nice neighbors the first day we owned the house, way more personable than our neighbors at the apartment. We hope we’ll be able to develop good relationships with our neighbors and have great community here.
25. RJ’s parents so generously bought us a brand new fridge, and it is AMAZING! Way larger than our apartment fridge, and definitely more energy efficient. It’s beautiful!!
26. We LOVE storage! We have a garage for storage, and PLENTY of closet space! We just LOVE space! You know, at 1000 square feet, our house isn’t huge, but compared to before at 700 square feet, we are just so thankful!
27. We have room to invite more than a couple guests over! And we’ve already had guests over, which I love!
Okay, I wrote your ear off about how we’ve seen God in this whole house and the house-hunting process. I’m the kind of person that gets buyers’ remorse after a purchase and starts looking into other options we missed out on, but I haven’t at all. When I start to wonder, “Is this really the house God wanted for us?” I look back on this list and am convinced that we are exactly where we are meant to be. And I haven’t looked at the housing market since!
All in all, this is God’s house. And we are grateful for it. =)