We've been looking at houses for a couple months now. We currently live in the church parsonage, and while I really like the house, and I kind of even like living next door to the church building, there are a couple of reasons we began to think about buying our own home.
For one thing, this is a buyer's market. Houses are fairly cheap, there are a lot of them for sale, and interest rates can't get much lower without just giving loans away. That was probably a lot of why we started looking. Initially we thought maybe we would buy a house and just rent it out until the day came when we would need a house of our own. I mean, it's bound to happen at some point; and better to start looking now than to wait and have to make a snap decision. Plus, not having anymore dependents living at home, we're going to get killed on taxes.
However, as we've thought about it, there might be advantages to buying a house and actually moving into it. Not only do neither of us particularly like living in the country, but we really would like to live in town. And not just in town, but in a "neighborhood." I think there are some people that we're just never going to be able to get to know simply because we live in a parsonage next door to the church I pastor. If we lived in a neighborhood area in town we could actually possibly get to know some neighbors and develop some relationships where we might be able to speak into people's lives without them feeling the need (or guilt) to attend our church. I hate to label it as such, but it seems like the "missional" thing to do. Plus it would be kind of nice to be able to just make some friends for ourselves too. So we have some pretty specific things we're looking for in a house.
For starters, as I said, it needs to be in a neighborhood area. So far we've been looking in Fort Wayne, because that's where Jane works and where our granddaughter lives. There are some really nice neighborhoody-sorta areas just south of downtown that wouldn't be that far for us to drive to the church building either (and there are at least half a dozen church people who live in that area). The two main things we want in a house are a big front porch where we can hang out, and sidewalks where we can take walks. Some of the lesser particulars we would like are: 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, a dining room, smallish yard, and some kind of garage. Also, we want something that's affordable enough to keep us from being married to a mortgage. I don't want to own a home at the expense of being able to live a life. I'd rather have something a little less nice, and still be able to do other things too.
I don't know for sure how many houses we've looked at so far. Maybe 15-20. There has been one that we've looked at twice, and we were going to pursue it because it was just what we were looking for. We were bummed to find out there is currently an offer pending though, so we'll have to wait and see. But we looked at one this past Saturday that we REALLY liked too. We'd actually driven by it a number of times already. The problem is, it's just a little out of our price range. So we're thinking about making a real low offer and just seeing what happens. If it was $20,000 less it would be perfect. An interesting side note is that the three houses we've liked the most so far were all built in 1925 - the same year Jane's mom was born. I find that innaresting.
We've been fortunate to have found a nice real estate agent too. He's a young guy, and he doesn't put any pressure on us at all. He sends us emails about houses that fit the description we're looking for, and we look at them online and then either say we want to see it or we don't. I'm glad he's laid back, because I don't do well with pushy people.
To be honest, I've been a little worried about how some people in the church might react to us not living in the parsonage. Even among the few who currently know, it's already been suspected this means we're thinking of leaving the church. I actually see it the other way though. To me this is a sign that we're planning to stay in the area. Up until recently I always kind of thought we would move back to Illinois some day. But I think this is home now. I don't think I'll ever become an official "hoosier"... but we like the Fort Wayne area, and I can see us settling down here. I'm not real sure what we would do with the parsonage if/when we moved out, but there are a number of options available - some of which might actually be to the church's advantage. So I don't see that as being a problem.
So... that's kinda what's happening. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. I would miss being able to watch over our home from my office window every day, but the thought of living in town is pretty appealing too. Wild times.
Peace out; and in.