If you missed Part I, you can read it here.
Several years ago I shared the amazing story of our home in Arkansas selling so quickly with a group of friends and after I'd finished, one friend asked: "Oh, do you just LOVE your home in Colorado?" And I cringed. Because honestly? No. I don't love it. Some days I struggle to even like it.
Most people think that's such a weird thing to say. Some have even asked why in the world we would buy a home we didn't love. It's a fair question.
After we sold our home in Arkansas, we began to quickly search for a home to buy (or rent) in Colorado. We had a nice down payment, but with houses selling for double/triple what we were used to, we were looking at a pretty large mortgage. We'd also taken a pay cut to move to Colorado. It didn't make much sense to move to a more expensive area and live on less money, but we were confident that God was in this move and that he would work out all the details. But we also knew we had to make wise decisions.
We had been out here to visit a few times and had looked at few houses with a realtor. When our Arkansas house sold, we decided to make an offer on a house we had looked at and liked on our most recent visit. It had been on the market several months and so we made a reasonably low offer. That very day, another buyer made a better offer and got the contract.
Our friends who lived here (the one that John was going to co-pastor with) called the next day and said that another house a few streets over in the same neighborhood had JUST been put on the market and the price was right. They asked if we wanted them to go look at it for us and we said yes. Armed with a digital camera they checked it out and reported back, and basically chose our house for us.
The sellers were motivated and were willing to close quickly and so we made an offer on the house-we-now-call-home SIGHT UNSEEN. Just so you know we're not completely crazy, we made our offer contingent upon approval once we arrived in Colorado. It's a pretty unorthodox way to buy a house, and I don't really recommend it.
Before we made the offer we knew that:
This house was small. Very small.
The bathrooms were carpeted. Carpeted.
The backyard wasn't finished and needed lots of work.
The basement wasn't finished either, which cut the livable space of this house in half.
Those seemed to be the biggest cons. The biggest pros were that:
This house had central air conditioning! Few houses here have it, and I'm immensely grateful ours does.
It was in a great location.
It was in a great school district.
It had curb appeal and was in a cute neighborhood with lots of kids.
And it had sidewalks. Our former neighborhood didn't and it's so much more fun for kids to ride bikes when they don't have ride in the street.
We also knew that the price was right and we strongly desired to own instead of rent. Plus, the mortgage (though double the mortgage of our previous home) was going to be cheaper than most of the rentals we had looked into. Our thought was that we could live here a few years and sell it when we found a home we really loved. I suppose we could have bought a bigger, nicer house from the get-go but we would definitely have been strapped financially. Buying this house felt like a wise financial move.
Little did we know that a year after moving here, John would resign from his job and our income would be drastically reduced. I cannot tell you how many times I've thanked God for leading us to a house that we could afford. If we'd chosen differently, I have no doubt that our financial state would be very, very different at this point in our lives. And also, if we'd chosen differently, I would probably be a working mom. Please don't hear me saying there's anything wrong with that. It's just not our desire for our family at this time in our lives.
October will mark seven years of calling this house a home. And after seven years, I still don't love this house but I do like it a little more. But that's Part III. Finding contentment.
[Side note: The realtor we worked with here to buy our home was so amazed by the way God seemed to work out every small detail of our selling/buying that he ended up visiting our church. We became friends, his family became church members, and though they moved a few years ago we still keep up with them. Cool, eh?]