My lack of substance/lack of posts lately has some justification: besides the nearly 60 pages I'll be writing before the end of the semester, we have been in the process of buying a house! I wanted to document the whole experience in play-by-play format, but since this is a public blog and because things were up in the air for a while, I didn't want to post anything too soon. We close April 30, so I'll post pictures and more details when it's official, but suffice it to say that God has very clearly led us to this house, starting a year ago before we even knew it could be a reality. Until it's all official, though, here's what I've learned about home-buying in the last month:
- Home-buying is a spiritual experience. Seriously. It has reminded me of God's sovereignty and has made me long for heaven. So often, I ask God to give me more faith and wisdom, and my expectation is that some switch will go off in me and suddenly I'll be a woman of great faith and wisdom. But God doesn't work that way. Instead, He gives us opportunities to exercise faith and wisdom. So, as things outside my control have come up and as confusing decisions have presented themselves, my prayer has changed to, "Thank you for these opportunities to trust You and to need You." As for longing for heaven, I'm realizing that all houses are imperfect structures built with imperfect materials by imperfect people, so there will always be a to-do list on houses. And this never-ending toil reminds me off the fall, reminds me that I'm not made for this place, reminds me that I'm a part of a much bigger story.
- Learnin' some lingo. Like any field, real estate has its own lingo. I know maybe 10% of it, and most of that I've learned in the last month. More than anything, I know that I have so much more to learn, which is probably a good place to be.
- Buying a house is like playing poker. You know your cards and make a move. They know their cards, see your move, and make their own move. At any point, one of you could be holding out on the other, waiting to score big or completely ruin your game...and you have no way of knowing when and if that will happen.
- $300 here, $450 there. I knew that buying a house would involve costs beyond the amount on our contract, but good grief! Everyone wants a buck--my buck! I've never written so many back-to-back checks for hundreds of dollars in my life. We'll make it financially, but until I start my job and get paid for it, we'll be pinching a few pennies. As hard as it is, it's kind of refreshing to simplify our lives, finding ways to cut back and cut out what we don't need. And there's a LOT we don't need.
- I never want to be a realtor. If I had to deal with all the paperwork, crazy people (especially first time home owners), and constant emails and phone calls of the real estate business, I think you would find me in a mental hospital somewhere. It's just not for me. Thankfully, it is for other people, and we are so grateful to have a very patient, wise, and godly realtor.
- The "oh shit!" factor. While we are extremely excited about buying this house, there's a large measure of what I call the "oh shit!" factor. Those of you who have bought a home know what I mean; the rest of you can figure it out.
- House vs. Home. It's so easy to get caught up in the details of a house--what the floors are like, what light fixtures are there, how much yard work you'll have to consider, how you want to arrange the furniture, what the to-do list is for the house you haven't even moved into. But we're trying to remember that this is not just a house; it's a home--a place of peace and rest to all who enter, a place where we will share our lives with one another and with others, a place that will be more than bricks and mortar. We buy the house, but we make it a home.
There's so much more to share, but no one likes a super-long blog without lots of pictures, so I'll stop for now. Besides, I have a little paper writing to do.