I’m weird. My husband’s weird. We didn’t buy a house when we got married – or in the five years that followed. With a lot of prayer, research, calculations, and staring blankly at each other trying to figure this out as we go along, we finally put an offer on our first house.
Why’d it take so long to buy a house?
We took Financial Peace University right before we got married which changed everything for us. Instead of buying our first house with that two-car garage and white picket fence, we opted for getting out of debt.
Once we somewhat stabilized our budget (who am I kidding? That should read, “Once we actually made a budget…”), we started increasing the money we put toward debt. Eventually, we lived completely on my husband’s income and put every dime I made (after tithe) toward debt.
In 22 months, we paid off $22,000 and became 100% debt-free. Six weeks later, our daughter was born. Eighteen months after that, her little brother arrived.
So buying a house was pretty low on our radar during those first three years of happy chaos. After my son was born, however, I stopped working and the four of us depended solely on my husband’s job.
Things were tight. Like skinny jeans on man thighs tight.
For more on how we survived (and tithed) on less than $2,000 a month, read here.
Let’s get back to when we put an offer on a house.
Fast forward to last month. We finally found a house that needs just enough fixing up that we could get it for under our budget and it’s in a great location. We also think it will make a tremendous rental property and hope to use it as such in two to three years.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. You’d find my husband and I sitting on our living room floor, staring at our realtor’s text message on my phone asking if we’re ready to confirm our offer on a house. We sat there, staring at our unsent reply “Yes” for the longest time.
Here are the three things we did that helped us make the decision:
- Ran the numbers. And ran ’em and ran ’em and ran ’em, again. We wanted to make sure our estimated mortgage payments would be less than 25% of Dontae’s monthly take-home pay. We looked at future budgets, adding the extra utilities we aren’t paying for now, as well as calculating a few new savings funds:
- Home Repair Fund – Pretty self-explanatory. We want to put at least $100 each month in this fund and still have enough money left over for other expenses in our budget.
- Family Ministry Fund – I’m so excited about this one. We’ve lived out in the country away from our church and really feel strongly about making our home a place of ministry for anyone seeking fellowship or community. What that will look like in plain sight? Inviting the new people sitting next to us at church to come to our house for lunch. Helping them feel welcome. Inviting people we meet in our day to day lives to come over for dinner. Hosting play dates for my mom friends who could use a break. We want our kids to know that money is a tool we can use to show God’s love in our own home, not just in the offering plate.
- Played several rounds of “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” I’m not even kidding. You’d just have to know us. This is a constant tool in our decision-making paradigm.
- Prayed together. On that note, the following are four things we specifically prayed for before hitting “Send.”
4 Things My Husband and I Prayed for Before We Bought a House
For the last five years, we’ve prayed for God’s guidance and He’s given it. We very strongly considered buying a house with zero money down just a few months before having our first child. I mean, a baby needs a house, right?!?! Houses are great, but if we would have gone ahead, we would have still been thousands of dollars in debt about to lose my full-time income with NO money for furniture, repairs, or savings.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.'” – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Wisdom to be good stewards
We figure none of this money is ours, so we keep checking with God to teach us how to manage it well on His behalf. This is the largest purchase many people will make in their lifetime. There are so many things to learn and things that could go wrong, but we’re going to seek wisdom and remember whose house it really is.
“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” – Psalm 24:1 NIV
Unity in our marriage
Money can quickly become a weapon between couples. How much more so a house? My husband and I are very different people who co-exist successfully so far because we’re willing to open up about the stuff that really bugs us. We’re also willing to chill out about some of the small stuff that just doesn’t jive with us.
I know there are 4,937 decisions waiting to be made about this house and we’ll need to make most of them together. It’s bringing up memories of our first trip to Target after our honeymoon when we picked out household items with our gift cards and wedding cash.
Let’s just say, we don’t shop together, anymore. Unless it can’t be avoided. So now we’ll be tested once more, but God has got His hand in all of it. I just have to remember that.
That this would grow our family’s ministry
I mentioned earlier that we started a “family ministry fund” in the budget. It’s nothing crazy, there are no papers filed regarding it, there is no schedule for it, nor are their target goals waiting to be achieved. We just want God to use our new home to bring glory to Him. If that means starting a board game night or hosting a “kids’ fun day,” or inviting Dontae’s co-workers to a barbecue, then so be it.
I’ll keep you posted on our next steps regarding the new house. Can’t wait to get started.
How often do you pray together with your spouse? Do you mostly pray about the day to day things or bigger things going on?
Photo Credit: Caroline Sleeper (UnSplash)