Friday, March 23, 2012

902 Jefferson, Here we come! (well, in a few months)

Trusting God is the only reason this happened. Most of you know that less than two years ago I was desperate to get rid of our house in Noblesville, Indiana. Thus, you're probably confused as to why we are moving forward with purchasing a home again. Especially after I swore it off in the past.

My first answer is, "it's me!" so you shouldn't be that surprised. There were so many thing wrong with living in Noblesville for us.
  1. I hate yard work, so why did I purchase a home with a GIANT yard?
  2. At the time of purchase, it was close, but far. It was in the middle of our jobs and church, which seemed like it would be a good fit, until both of our jobs changed. Then we were up there for no reason. When I changed jobs to The Met, we basically had to be a two income family to pay for my gas to get there. (I can't imagine what it would be like if we were still up there and I was driving everyday.)
  3. The suburbs are a great place to live, however they generally do not offer the style of living that Heidi and I were drawn to but didn't exactly realize how much we were drawn until it was too late. (walkaiblity, bikeability, art, non-chain merchants, easy access to museums and cultural events)
  4. Neighborhood Association. (I still think they owe is money)
  5. It wasn't really a place we felt like we could 'live' because most of our 'living' took place in a car getting from place to place.
  6. We were never settled there. Even before we purchased the home we knew we were going to move in the near future. At the time, we thought it would be 5 years or less. We didn't want to 'throw our money away' renting, so instead we decided to throw a whole bunch more money away purchasing a home.
  7. We didn't pray through any of it, we just acted.
Those are just a few of the reasons it wasn't a good fit for us. Luckily, The Eriksen Group was good and got us out with as little financial damage as possible.

We then moved to our first crappy downtown apartment and LOVED it! Okay, love might be a little strong considering it was in the basement of a really old, unrenovated building with exposed pipes, broken windows, and horrible laundry facilities. Did I mention it was like 800 sq. ft.? The location and price were excellent after we moved from Noblesville. We did have a lot of good times because we could walk to the library or any of the downtown parks in minutes. The bus stop was across the street and I could easily take it to work (that is if it was ever on time.)

We then moved into what seemed like The Palace on College Ave. Compared to the Barbee on Penn, the Walbrook was a palace. In the picture, our apartment is on the second floor on the corner of the street. This apartment added a few sq ft and had excellent walkability to Mass Ave. The Monon was across the street and the cultrual trails were a few blocks south. It, unfortunately, is just like all the other Zender properties, but the price was good. We anticipated staying here for two years when we moved there, but that all began to change.

Earlier this year, Mark Vroegop recommend that I read a book about the future grace of God and how trusting His past provision was evidence enough to trust Him for future provision. Heidi and I began to surrender several aspects of our lives, including our finances. In all the ups and downs, God provided. We prayed about what God wanted our family to do with our time, money, career, and for the first time, where to live.

Enter the Abels! I met Joshua at my son's Sunday school class and we discovered we both lived downtown. He and Laurie are very persuasive, and, before we knew it, Heidi and I were looking at houses in St. Clair Place. Heidi and I kept praying and life circumstances seemed to lead us to believe it was worth considering. I fixated on a rather large house that was amazing on the inside. It had beautiful wood work, large and great lay out, and the option to finish the 3rd floor to add even more space. It did, however, have a very creepy basement. The original anticipated price of the house was at the top end of the payment Heidi and I were comfortable with, so it seemed like a great option. We visited the house a few times and I was basically set on purchasing it. Heidi had a reservation, mainly because she was fixated on another property.
She was partial to the 'Dutch Colonial' home with the incredible wood work and stair case. It was slightly smaller than the house I liked but was still very good size. The basement also had the option to be finished! It would have been a great option. The anticipated price was also in our range, but then the prices went up. The one I wanted ended up going up in price a possible $15,000. So Heidi's seemed to be a great option but this time I had the reservation. I figured that if my house was going up, so would this one and both would be out of our price range. I started to get really discouraged because purchasing didn't seem like an option. Heidi and I continued in prayer and I tried to keep my spirits up and hoped in God's future provision.

There was a home tour shortly after and we decided to revisit some of the houses we went to with Elaine the first day we looked. When she met with us, she told us right away that God was going to lead us to the right house. Her faith was encouraging! 902 was the second house we went to and Elaine mentioned how much natural light came in through the windows. Heidi and I loved it, too but it didn't seem to have the character we liked in the other homes. When we went it, it was all white and looked like new construction. When we went back on the home tour, the kitchen was in better shape and was reason enough to purchase the home! It was still a little smaller than we thought we would purchase, but it wasn't off the table. The day of the home tour was the first day the house was officially on the market.

We went to another house to visit with Jay Pearl, a listing agent in the neighborhood. He seemed to be very excited about the listing price and mentioned he recommended that they bump out the back a little as a room addition. What a great idea!

Heidi and I went home and her calm plan was to make a pro-con list of the 3 homes, while my plan was to pace and be anxious. She started writing down notes on each of the homes but we both had reservations about 806 and 838. God kept leading us back to 902 and the option of a room addition made all the difference (thank you, Jay). The two larger homes were of interest as a 'if you build it they will come' kind of thing. The idea was that our family would be able to grow into those homes. 902 fit our current family plus a few more, and if it got too small, could have an addition. The price was great, the renovations beautiful, the kitchen amazing, the location incredible, and it seemed that Elaine was right, God did lead us to the right house.

We called our agents that night and met with Jonathan to write a purchase agreement on Sunday. We visited the house with the listing agent, Mark Nottingham, that afternoon and hand delivered the offer. Monday evening we got the e-mail that it was accepted (with a few counters). I still think we should get an award for the quickest sale. At least a coupon for free nice dinner somewhere. :-)

So why is this a good option?
  1. We prayed and God appears to have said, YES.
  2. It was a much toned down financial decision.
  3. The neighborhood isn't perfect, but that is part of why we love it. We don't exactly have to sign up to 'serve' with our church because we will pretty much be doing it daily.
  4. The Abels. (plus several other familes we have already met in the area)
  5. Committed neighbors who care more about each other then the length of your grass. (at least that is the impression we get!)
  6. We lose a little walkability, to the glory of Mass Ave, but we are close to two major bus lines and can still bike downtown. I can still bike to work (will take about 25 minutes) or take the bus.
  7. Our kids will have a back yard to play
  8. Heidi can fulfill her life long dream of having chickens
  9. The yard is small!!! Yard work may take 30 minutes a week!
  10. We have lived in the area for a while and we want to settle downtown. Speaking of settling, our mindset going in is not 'what will we do next,' but that we really want to plant ourselves here for a long time. Lord willing, employment options will remain close to our home.
  11. Our family will have room to grow without concern of getting evicted from a two bedroom apartment. (law states only two people per room.)
  12. The list continues.
So I did swear off home ownership, and I still believe that it isn't for everyone! It is not an investment as many people make it out to be. You're lucky if you do make money, but I don't see that happening any time soon. You probably should rent in an area you're thinking of moving to before you move there. If you're planning a career or job change, don't buy. If you think you might move in 5-8 years, don't buy. Know yourself and what you want in a house and yard. Don't let conventional wisdom guide you, let God.

I don't regret living in Noblesville, but I probably wouldn't do it again. We had some good neighbors. If we didn't own that place, we probably wouldn't of had kids when we did. My biggest regret would have been not having Edmund and Mildred. God provided through that whole time and taught us a bunch.

So there you have it. We plan to close on the house June 1 and move in shortly after. Who wants to help?

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