Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Does the Bible Say About Buying a House?

Well, the short answer is absolutely nothing (at least explicitly). The Bible never comes out and says, "In order to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, you shall have a house that is no larger that 2,500 square feet and with mortgage payments no more than 34% of your income."

Honestly, if you looked long enough you could probably cherry-pick a verse or two that would suit whichever side you lean on when it comes to buying a house.

But if you look at the main theme of the Bible - "it's all about Jesus" - and then proceed through the home buying process, you will be a lot safer and more focused on Jesus and eternity. The main question you need to be asking is not "how much house can I afford" but”is this what God has for me right now."

Whenever people ask me if they think they should buy a house, I am usually a cynic because I have seen the bad and the ugly side of buying a home. I have met with people going through foreclosure, or they are so house-poor that they can't even buy furniture for their house.

Buying a home can be a great investment, but all too often people buy a home too quickly and don't count all the costs. So below we’ve listed some tough questions to ask yourself before you buy a home.

Heart Questions to Ask:

  1. Am I content with where I currently live? 
    • Be honest with yourself about how much media and what others have is affecting your desire for a new place
  2. Will buying a home put unneeded pressure on your family, marriage, or financial life?
    • Finances are the number one cause of stress and tension in a marriage- Now just throw in there the largest financial decision of your life
  3. How much house do I really need?
    • Versus how much house do I want (remember that God often loves to give extravagantly to us).
  4. Is this the right timing for us to buy a home?
    • Even though it might be realistic for you to purchase a home, sometimes it might not be the best time

Financial Questions to Ask:

  1. Do I have an emergency fund in place?
    • What happens when the washer goes out? What happens when the car's transmission goes out? You need to have some type of fund in place for when the "unexpected expected" happens.
  2. Am I including all of the costs of owning a home in my budget? 
    • Purchase price, closing costs, house maintenance costs, increasing property taxes
    • When buying a home there are hidden costs that you don't have to pay when you are renting
  3. Can I rent for a period of time while saving, so that I will be at a more secure place financially?
    • While you are not having to pay all the expenses to upkeep your own house, put this money aside into a savings account
  4. Can I actually afford this? 
    • We encourage people to keep their house payments anywhere from 25% to 35%
    • Also, pay as large of a down payment as possible- with a goal of 20% or more (while still retaining an emergency fund)
    • Have enough money to pay for the closing costs and fees with cash- otherwise you will be paying this out over 15 or 30 years with interest
    • The purchase price should be no more than two-and-a-half times the family's gross annual income- but using only the main breadwinner's income

Remember when looking to buy a home: don't go at it alone. Proverbs 24:6 says, "for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisors." You need the input of a handful of people whose wisdom you can trust and who have your best interest in mind (not including a real estate agent or mortgage lender).

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