If you follow me on social media, you may know that we recently bought our first house. We’re very excited and grateful for the process that led us to it. The housing market in the country right now is insane and God truly truly found the perfect place for us. It’s a bit of a long story, so I’ve written it all out below. Feel free to jump around to what you find most interesting – or read it all for a full Robinson life update!
The Long Road To Home Ownership
If you were to tell me five years ago that I’d own a home one day, I’d call you a liar. I left college with an insane amount of student debt (hello, private university!) and although hitching myself to Neil significantly helped in the pay-off efforts, a debt-free life still felt forever way. Because my payments were so high (partly because we were trying to pay 20 years of debt off faster, partly because interest rates are no joke), we put home ownership on hold until more of our income was disposable. Then came Peter, and daycare costs, and we just started to assume owning a home wasn’t in the cards for us.
Flash-forward to the Pandemic. Like most of you, we started working from home and, due to family health concerns, we withdrew Peter from daycare indeterminately. Thus began one of the most stressful years of our lives as we tried (and often failed) to balance working full time while also caring for Peter full time. The pros of this crazy situation is that we received several stimulus checks and were able to save way more than usual due to not paying for daycare –which led to paying off my student loans in May 2020. Plus, although Neil was laid off in July 2020, his new job came with a serious pay raise and I got a higher-paying job myself in February 2021. All in all, we had our downpayment and much more disposable income at the ready.
Moving Away From Montrose
Another reason we had yet to buy a house is because for the past eight years we have felt called to minister to the Montrose neighborhood in the center of Houston. In fact, we even helped plant a Montrose-focused church in the area. If you are unfamiliar, it’s a quirky place with a lot of heart. It’s also slowly being taken over by the ritzy, affluent River Oaks. We’ve always had dreams of buying in Montrose, but have been praying over the last year for God to either make it happen or show us another way. And two things changed:
1. In the past year, the church we helped plant officially shifted to a House Church model. That means that instead of having a central building that hosts a weekly Sunday service, we meet as a network of smaller “churches” that meet in people’s homes. So in addition to a Montrose-focused group, this new model allows for house churches to be created for a variety of Houston neighborhoods as part of the same community.
2. Our hearts changed. Cynics may say “you got priced out” and that is also 100% true. This housing market has officially made owning a home in Montrose not possible for us. But while we were looking at houses and praying for guidance (or a miracle), Neil and my hearts shifted. We started to see that God might be calling us to a different area, and perhaps to even start a house church there, too.
Home At Last
We dreamed of a place with enough room for guests to stay over and would allow us to host church events and social gatherings. But the places we viewed kept falling short. A month before our lease was up, we found a house listing in the Sawyer Heights area of Houston that seemed…weird. Despite the the crazy housing market, this townhouse had been listed for seven months and reduced its price several times – with no offers. I knew God had set it aside for us. We did a viewing and put in an offer under the asking price. The inspection came back A-okay (shocker for those wondering WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE HOUSE?). Our realtor (my Dad) did a bit of negotiating. And boom. The house was ours.
What’s Next for Us
We’re in the midst of decorating, renovating and discovering the joys and pains of home ownership (if anyone has a handyman they love, hit us up!). We hope to have a house warming soon and plan on hosting watch parties and game nights soon. Additionally, if you’re interested in joining a house church with a focus on the local community, let us know!