I’m convinced Josh and I are the same kind of crazy.
We adore walking and biking the 2nd most dangerous city in America. We willingly obey the Detroit code that red lights are a suggestion to pause, that you never leave your grandma’s Buick (our one car) without its club, and that most people of Detroit are anxious to talk and might even invite you to their grandson’s birthday party (where you will pin cash to a four year old’s shirt).
Since we’ve been down here in our temporary apartment, we’ve become even more convinced that Detroit is the place for us. We love it here. Now if only we could actually complete the home-buying process…
Way back in April, before we were even engaged, we started looking at houses in Detroit (we pretty much knew we were going to spend our lives together after our first date). The pickings are slim around here, but we fell in love with a Duplex on a street lined with trees and kids. We couldn’t get it out of our minds, so we made an offer ($12,000). It turns out that said $12,000 house was going to need over $30,000 in repairs to make it livable, but we were on board and ready to do our part in bringing Detroit back to it’s glory. After a long process (including waiting a month for the City of Detroit to turn utilities on for our inspection), our closing was within reach.
However, just before we closed, the owner decided to take the house off the market completely. We had no idea why and though we trusted God was at work, we were pretty devastated.
Josh and I don’t sit for long, so the next morning he met the realtor to walk through more houses. I was hours away running summer camp, but there was one particular house I was rooting for (thanks to zillow.com). Upon seeing it, Josh thought it would be a great fit for us. It was right across from a Detroit Public School, three doors from our church, an incredible entertaining house AND had a 3rd floor apartment for rental income. We made an offer immediately- the first week of July. It was a foreclosure, and we were pleased that the bank responded quickly and after some negotiation, they accepted our offer.
We thought we were living the dream and that we’d actually have a place to live when we came home from our honeymoon.
But this is Detroit, you know…
I’m hoping that husband of mine will blog all the details of lining up inspectors and contractors and all the tricky steps of purchasing a home in the D. A lot of these historic houses have been flooded, and ours was no different. Why, you ask? The copper pipes are quite valuable to thieves. Luckily, the neighbors saw water pouring down this house’s driveway and got someone on it within a day, but it wasn’t soon enough to save the electrical system, the boiler, the hot water tank and the mold from growing on those old asbestos covered pipes.
Knowing that we’d have to invest money to fix up anything in Detroit, we pressed forward with this house, jumping through the many hoops required to obtain an FHA 203K Rehab Loan.
The process was delayed and delayed and delayed. We were finally ready to close last week when we got an email that threw us for a loop- somehow they’d missed the appraisal and it came back way too low. The deal looked dead, but by this point we were already practiced at trusting the Lord with the home-buying process.
During this season, we loved a John Piper message that reminded of us of Truth:
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved in his sleep.
Piper says, “God can perform more good for those who trust him while they sleep than they can perform with anxious labor for themselves while awake.”
I actually started writing this blog a few days ago and I’m so glad I didn’t finish it. Without anything we worked at and beyond our crazy imaginations (God’s people were praying), the banks agreed to drop the price to the lowest appraisal and to close this Friday. God was at work all along, paving a way for us to have this house at rock-bottom price.
I’ll show you some pictures of the inside so that you’ll sign up to come help us tear out the pink carpet and the gold wallpaper. We can’t wait to get in and start making an impact on that block!
The Living Room:
The 3rd Floor Apartment: