Updated: Jan 25, 2021
Every home has a story to tell, and while mine is just beginning, I feel as though there is so much to already share.
This is a life journey post that I want to share with you about how God so sovereignly and lovingly orchestrated the pathway to finding my Valentine home.
When you are able to see God’s handiwork in your life, when you’re able to experience His goodness, when you’re able to let go of control and hand over your burdens, requests and desires to Him, there truly is a peace that surpasses all understanding. And all of that is what makes this home extra special to me. It’s the mended heart, answered prayers, patience, and small, probably unnoticeable to anyone else, details that gives this home its beauty and what fills me with joy and so much appreciation and gratitude every time I walk inside.
Where to begin...
8 years ago, I would never have thought it would be possible to own a home. I was younger, just starting out, and immature in my thinking and confidence. But as the years went by, my mindset shifted and grew. While I may have been in the same apartment for eight years (prior to owning), I certainly wasn’t in the same spot, emotionally and mentally, when it came to the possibilities of something more.
I tend to stay in my comfort zone, err on the side of caution, don’t take too many risks, so this idea and plan to move forward with purchasing a home was huge for me, not to mention scary!
All of our desires – the desires of our hearts – are placed there by God. They are good and with lovingkindness, He waits for us to recognize and come to Him in prayer with these desires He has given to us. And while we may not always see the desires of our hearts come to fruition, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there for a purpose I believe.
Now, owning a home was a desire I began to strongly feel during the summer of 2019. I began to speak of it to family and close friends, but initially didn’t act upon it. Not until January 2020.
And so began my hustle!
Don’t misunderstand me, I was always conscious of my finances, saving where I could, being diligent, but any other courses of action one would need to take to prepare to purchase a home or even begin the process of purchasing was nonexistent from July 2019 to the new year.
I was growing very impatient with living in my apartment and this idea that had recently grown and taken over all of my thoughts was looking more and more enticing. Thankfully, I knew of a family friend and acquaintance from church that was not only a licensed realtor, but alongside her husband flipped homes and also renovated homes for others – so suffice to say, she knew the industry pretty well. This adventure to finding a home was all in God’s hands, but I also had a lot of well-placed trust in Angie. From insider knowledge, quick access, references, contacts, and not to mention her amazing availability, Angie was a huge help in guiding me to my Valentine home and being there when I needed advice or wanted to look at a house on a whim. Outside of my vision for what I wanted in a home, I relied heavily on her expertise. I’m so thankful to the Lord for her! So on a wintry night, from the comfort of my couch, lit by Christmas lights (yes I still had them up) , Angie and I spent the evening on the phone going over the entire process – what it would look like (generally) from beginning to end, my price range, my time frame, and my home “wish list”. For about the next four weeks, I would visit a handful of homes during each week after work and on weekends, constantly be in contact with my mortgage broker, and would spend hours online scrolling through countless homes, locations, and pictures.
I was growing restless, impatient, and doubtful that this would work or possibly wasn’t the right time for me.
Sunday, Feb 9 I woke up with the Flu. I’ve never had the flu. It was one of the worse experiences with being sick that I’ve ever had. I was miserable for majority of the following week (I’ll spare you the deets). ...BUT GOD! Yes, you’ll hear me say it a lot the rest of this post. But God! Just as I was questioning if this was the right choice to be looking for a new home and moving, I was now bed ridden, unable to move, unable to go out and see houses in person. Thursday of that week I finally was beginning to feel halfway human and normal again. And then Valentine’s day was Friday.
Friends, I’m not joking when I say it was the best Valentine’s Day of my life. I hope one day, a future beau or hubby can top it, but for now, this was a gift from God on Valentine’s Day. My routine was to, first thing in the morning, open up my email and see if I had any new notifications about available homes that I would be interested in based on my criteria in the MLS. That was on pause during the flu, except for Friday morning (V-Day). I was feeling better, opened up Gmail and there it was. My Valentine home! Instantly I knew I liked this place, needed to be the first person there to see it (it was a new listing Thursday night and was having an open house that weekend) and I just had a different sense about this home. Something (God~the Holy Spirit) was telling me, this is it. This is your home Jennie! That weekend, I had visited, fell in love, made an offer, accepted counter-terms, signed the contract and was now on my way to follow it through. BEST. VALENTINES. DAY.EVER. No exaggeration.
...enter, my Valentine Home...
Closed on March 20th. Moved in officially April 5th. And have been a happy homeowner ever since.
If I can help in any way, allow me to provide some practical tips for those currently house hunting for the first time, considering home ownership for the first time, or even for those who have maybe purchased before but it’s been a while and you could use a helpful refresher:
Gather your dream team. I’m not joking on this one. My dream team consisted of my amazing realtor Angie and my mortgage broker Colleen. They are working for you! You get to choose these people and the dynamics, customer service, availability is everything. Angie already knew me in a way, knew my family, was very aware this was my first time and we quickly established a trusting relationship. She knew what I wanted and listened to me, was not pushy, made time for me (any time of the day and on weekends), but also provided the appropriate advice because she also wanted the best for me and wouldn’t want to see me in a bad home situation that would cause immediate difficulty upon purchase. Next was my mortgage broker, who was a contact and reference of Angie’s that she had worked with for several years. I called a few different banks and brokers and after a brief phone conversation with Colleen, I knew she was the one to help me. We instantly clicked and while I had never met her before, she provided me with the same care and more personalized customer service that Angie did. Finally, my parents, my brothers, and my close girlfriends were my trusted teammates praying alongside me during this, providing advice, and being real with me even when I didn’t want to hear it.
Definitely have a budget. (Duh, I know…) Have a handle over your finances. Know where your budget can and may need to be tweaked and possible future outcomes.
Have a wish list. This is not only necessary, but will make the process somewhat easier – no matter how many houses you see – when you know what you want. But be flexible. This is just one of how many homes you’ll own in your lifetime? You most likely won’t get everything you want the first time (depending on your list too) or right away. If you do, that’s awesome! My wish list wasn’t very big and I can honestly say I got 90% of what I was looking for in a home. For example, I was searching for a home with minimum 2 bedrooms, 2 baths (my Valentine home is 2 bed, 2.5 bath); I wanted lots of natural light flowing through (my old apartment was dark and closed off); I wanted a good sized kitchen with oodles of cabinets (I hit the jackpot on that one); I wanted lots of storage space since my small apartment lacked that immensely (my Valentine home made up for my apartment’s storage space 10x over); and a covered patio/porch area, which I did not get and I’m okay with. I have a small outdoor area that’s actually really private, but it’s not covered.
Have a time frame and dates in mind. Remember this doesn’t always happen as quickly, like it did for me, and the process of closing is usually about 30 days but can be shorter and negotiated on.
Remember just because you're under contract does not mean it’s yours yet. There are still milestones and hoops to jump through before you want to say a final Yes!
Pray. Pray, pray, and pray more. This process is exciting, scary, frustrating and rewarding. But pray over the process!
BUT GOD. The practical tips are just as significant, but God is master of this process, the sovereign hand weaving this into your life if it’s His will for you. Buying a home was a desire, but it was also a spur of the moment decision that kicked me out of my comfort zone and had me relying on God, holding tight to his hand the whole time. Looking back it happened so quickly, but in the moment, it felt like the process was dragging and was slow. But I had faith in God and prayed over this home, over the process, over the timing, over His will for me, despite my desires. Did I do it all perfectly? Of course not. I faltered and lost hope at moments and grew impatient. I had my heart broken, I cried, I got really scared at times that I wouldn’t make it and couldn’t do home ownership on my own. But God. He reminded me even in those moments where I didn’t seek Him first and got lost in my fears, that He loves me and has never forsaken me. He knows what is good for me. He is good. And this home was good for me - my Valentine home that He provided and had saved specially for me. I am still amazed at His handiwork, His perfect timing, His love found in every detail, and His faithfulness and His heart toward me. That’s what I find in every corner of this home and its story.
And know His timing is perfect for you friend.
With Love, Jennie
“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.” Charles Spurgeon.