Well, it’s been a long time in the coming, I just hadn’t quite come up with the perfect time to tell the story of how we came to own a house. However, Christine over at welcome to my brain posted about a book that led us to consider SERIOUSLY living life in common. Check out her post (linked above) to give your brain a refresher.
So, I’ll backtrack.
After over a year of getting together with Dave and Crystle and talking about ‘community living’ and what it’s all about and how we’re all interested in it, we organized, along with another couple, Graham and Emma, to get together every few weeks and talk about community. Over the summer (and after inviting everybody we knew to meet with us!) the group grew to be us six plus three or four others from different churches all over the city.
We planned a prayer walk on October 14 and were originally were perplexed about where to hold it. North end? East end? If you know anything about Hamilton, you’ll know that it’s a very needy city. We settled on prayer-walking the neighbourhood in which Graham and Emma had just bought (and were in the midst of renovating) a house. We figured at the least we could ask God if this was the neighbourhood in which He wanted us.
As we were starting off on the walk, Emma said jokingly, “Wouldn’t it just be great if our neighbours would put their house up for sale?” We all laughed and agreed, parting for some prayer and solitude.
We decided that day that we were more committed to developing community than we were about living in an area of need. I think maybe it would have been too much pressure for us to “fix” the neighbourhood if we chose a very needy area, and that’s not why we were looking to do this.
That Wednesday, Crystle called me. This was our conversation.
Crystle: So you know the house beside G&E?
Kim: Yeah …
C: It went up for sale.
K: You’ve got to be kidding me.
C: Yeah. And it’s a duplex. With one three-bedroom apartment and one two-bedroom apartment.
C: I think we need to get together and talk. Can you come over for dinner?
So we got together that night for dinner (a difficult feat, since my nausea and food aversions were in full swing!) and to talk. Brad and I had previously (that summer) decided that buying a house at this point was out of the question, but that if C&D or G&E wanted to buy a duplex we would be quite happy to rent from them for some time. However, this house was a little out of C&D’s price-range. Together, however, it was doable. Brad and I decided that if this was what God wanted from us, and that if the house was as amazing as it seemed, then we would be willing to buy.
We made an appointment to view the house that Friday night at 5:00. We arrived at G&E’s (next door!) at 4:55 and prayed all together. Our agent came (with an offer pre-drawn up) and announced that there was to be at least one offer and perhaps two to be made on the house that night at 9:00, and that if we wanted the house, we needed to make an offer too.
We viewed the house. It was (is) incredible. Beautiful original oak hardwood flooring, high ceilings, claw-foot bathtubs (!!!), sigh. The one side had two bedrooms and a massive loft, while the other side had two bedrooms. One side was nicely finished, the other needed a bit of work (they had been renting out the back half of the house and had CLEARLY not cared about the decor! Teal-coloured sponge painting? California lighting in the beautiful old bathroom? Ratty carpet over the beautiful flooring – although perhaps saving the wood for us – ? Red diner booths in the kitchen?).
Ack. It would have been so much easier if we’d hated it – but we loved it. So here’s where faith came in!
We went back to G&E’s and prayed. And our agent chatted with us a bit and had to go to a meeting, to be back at around 8:00. We prayed some more. More praying. We discussed what we thought would be a good offer. We discussed whether or not we needed a home inspection. We prayed. More discussion. More prayer. We decided on $5000 above the asking price, as our agent had said that the house not at all over-priced for the area and size of the house and that if we really wanted it, we should probably offer over the asking price.
Our agent came back, filled in the paperwork, and left to present our offer at 9:05 pm. He came back at 9:45 and announced as we opened the door for him, “Well, you’ve got a house!”
We laughed, some of us cried, we cheered, we hugged, and then we all bowed our hands, our heads, and our hearts, and thanked our God for His provision. I was floored. We went from “let’s do a prayer walk” to “we have a house” in less than a week! God was clearly on the move!
(It came out at the open house on Sunday – due to some major digging by my mom – that the other two offers were also over the asking price, in case that bit made you concerned!)