Moving is a big decision. It is even bigger a decision the more dramatic the move. Granted, there are plenty of moves that are more life changing than ours, but it is a major lifestyle change no matter how you slice it. When we first made the decision to list our home for sale we really didn't think it could be accomplished. Sell our home in this market? We were upside down in our mortgage. How would we ever be able to get out of this with our excellent credit rating and no lingering debt? With God ALL things are possible. (Matt. 19:26)
Our first blessing was the referral we received from the law firm that handled our adoption earlier in the year. My husband was on his feet enough to have thought to ask if they knew anyone that would be good to work with in our situation. The lawyer referred us to Ben Lang, and so began our journey. We met with Ben, filled out the paperwork, and waited. Nothing really happened, so we continued to pray and lowered the price. Honestly, we were pretty laid back about the whole thing. Having no real expectations does make waiting much easier. Patience coupled with faith is an excellent remedy to such situations.
After some time a few offers came in that were so low there was no way we could accept them in the traditional manner, so we decided to pursue a short sale. It was after all Ben's specialty. The paperwork involved is very detailed and time consuming. I was certain there was no way we could qualify not being able to show any sort of financial hardship. However, we were able to use our quality of life as the basis and move forward with the request. We explored a couple of other options, but nothing panned out. The only thing we could remotely attempt would be a short sale.
This process began in April. I was in no hurry to make anything happen as I wanted to be sure we were being led in our decisions as opposed to forcing something to happen. It was very important to me that any decisions we made were in accordance with God's will for our family. That being said, I dragged my feet on every part of the process pushing deadlines and doing everything last minute, sometimes literally. By some miracle the process just kept moving forward; at a snails pace but forward nonetheless.
God used this time to great advantage. My husband and I learned some valuable lessons through the experience due mostly to the timing of events. Had things happened quickly like we usually desire there is no way God could have taught us patience, faith, reliance, guidance, and how to look to Him and His Word for all things. Even with all the traumatic things I have experienced in my life there is no other time where I felt closer to God. I literally felt led by the hand.
Our qualifying for the short sale is only the beginning of our list of blessings. The bank accepted the offer made by a local business man and investor. We continued to jump through hoops as required by the bank and the government. By December of 2010 we had sold our family home with no remaining mortgage debt, no promissory note, no real damage to our credit, and the ability to rent our home for as long as we needed until we found a new one at the tune of $500 less per month than we were paying for our mortgage. The weirdest part of it all was giving a security deposit to a landlord for the home we had remodeled and continuously improved for the past 15+ years.
On the advice of several financial experts we waited three months, ran our credit, and started the procedure of pre-qualifying for a mortgage. Ben referred us to a great broker, and we got the ball rolling. Certain aspects of the process leave on feeling a little uncertain as to the outcome. See, our sole purpose in selling our home was to purchase a new one out of the city and in the country. Should any part of this process worked out any differently that would have been impossible. Beginning the mortgage aspect was a little nerve wracking. Were they going to turn us down due to the short sale? We had excellent credit, but we needed to prove ourselves to them in a big way. Could we muster up? The process of gaining the mortgage and being able to purchase the house was just as involved, intrusive and time consuming as the short sale process, if not more so. The deadlines are more real in the mortgage process to be sure.
We began actively looking for a home in April. Our original intention and desire was to stay within Macomb County. I am a big fan of the library system as well as Macomb County Community College; not to mention we own a business there, and our next to youngest son is finishing his senior year in Fraser at Arts Academy in the Woods. In my mind these are all great reasons to stay in the county, but God had other plans. It wasn't too long into the process that we realized finding a home with the amenities we desired and in the price range we wanted was going to be challenging. There just didn't seem to be much out there, which seemed so contrary to the current statistics supporting a buyer's market. One thing led to another, and we began to start looking in St. Clair County. Poor Ben! That guy was driving all over creation with us. We ended up being referred to Tanya Nettnay through our brother-in-law. She specializes in St. Clair County properties, and grew up a country girl. What more could we ask for? Due to our love for Ben, and his dedication to us as his clients, we arranged a formal referral. It was time to move on to uncharted territory.
I grew up in St. Clair County, but I lived in the city. My husband grew up in Macomb County and had no clue about anything out that way. Who knew God's direction would lead us to a location better than we could imagine? Honestly, I really didn't even think the house anything too special after we looked at it. One thing that did strike me, though, was the happiness of the previous owner. She and her husband raised six children in this home, and their story is so similar to ours that it was uncanny. The similarities did get my attention. We looked at the home a second and third time and could find no other homes on the market that even came close to meeting our needs. In prayerful consideration we made an offer. There was a counter, and we accepted. One would think the story ends here, but bureaucracy is never simple. It was time to jump through more hoops and appease more red tape.
We gathered more information, submitted more paperwork and documentation, hired inspectors, and met the demands of FHA. Not a simple process. From acceptance of offer to signing of papers we passed through nearly three months. We even cancelled our vacation to make ourselves available for the process. See, the thing about this process being so lengthy and never really knowing if it would all work out until we actually signed the papers was a huge opportunity for us to learn and grow. This transition is not about us at all. Rather, it is about God and how we can work to glorify Him. It has been my constant prayer that He place us exactly where it is he needs us, and I believe with my whole heart that we are where He wants us to be. I do not claim to know His plans, but I have faith and confidence that I did not put myself here. God led, opened the doors and the windows, and bid us to come through. We did just that all the while checking to be certain that each step was guided and not self-directed.
It is truly amazing the things that can happen if we only stay out of the way. Is my new home perfect in every way? No. Does my new home have all the attributes listed to meet my desires? No. Would I have it any other way? Absolutely not! I am happy that we "Let Go, and Let God". I cannot imagine the blessings we would miss, known and unknown, had we not allowed ourselves to be led.
As faith would have it we are now close to family members that we've always lived far from, close to some that moved away, and in a much better position to share our blessings with whomever God sees fit. Our hearts are open, and it is difficult to imagine things any other way. Also, the investor that purchased our old home was able to sell it immediately after we moved out. We prayed in earnest for the new owners that the home would be a blessing to them. Working with the investor was a privilege and another opportunity to shine for Christ. He does indeed use all circumstances to His glory. (Romans 8:28)