It’s hard to believe we’ve lived over six years here in this small rural Ohio town. A rented house, one we haven’t ever really made a home, as evidenced by the lack of pictures on the walls. But it’s finally time to move, at least in a few months.The house is owned by a family in our church who offered us a generous monthly lease because they wanted us to be able to move down from Toledo even though we hadn’t sold our house there yet. I’d commuted from the beginning of August through the end of December in 2009, when I joined the staff at the church in Eaton. But now the family is needing the house. Just as we hadn’t, they hadn’t anticipated we’d have still been here in 2016.

We’ve been looking for a house for almost two years. Our house hunt has been off and on, nothing too aggressive, primarily because we learned we would have to wait a full three years after the sale date of our house in Toledo to secure financing. Like many people during the recession, we were forced to sell our house as a short sale, not because we’d bitten off more than we could chew — it was a modest “starter home” — but because home prices plummeted in a city where the automotive industry used to be king. We held on to the house for more than three years hoping the value would pick back up, but it never did.

So here we are searching for a house that we will not be able to secure a loan for until the first week of May, though our lease ends in mid June. We’ll certainly be cutting it close — that is, whenever Cindy and I find a home we both like, to say nothing of price.

The nerd that I can sometimes be, I drew up a spreadsheet in order to put some kind of value to the preferences we each had regarding location, landscape, exterior and interior, etc. We ranked each item as:

  • I would really like that (20 points)
  • It would be nice (10 points)
  • Not necessary (0 points)
  • Not something I want (-10 points)
  • Really don’t want (-20 points)

For instance, I really want an attached garage (20 points), as I don’t ever want to scrape an icy windshield again, but it doesn’t really matter to Cindy (0 points), who, it should be noted, seldom has to brush off snow. So I averaged them together for a +10 point score. Now, we both really want a large kitchen (20 points) and either a porch or a deck/patio — or both! I’ve plugged houses into the spreadsheet to see how they rank. Some of these houses we’ve actually seen and some we haven’t (or at least just the outside). We’re hoping to be closer to Eaton, though not necessarily in town.

We realize we’re eventually going to have to compromise on some of the features we’re looking for. (Unlike my sister and her husband, we will not be building a house anytime soon!) Cindy really wants a house with “character,” which is a euphemism for something that might be featured on This Old House. I’d like a This New House that won’t need much in the way of repairs, primarily because I can barely handle light maintenance, much less renovations and remodels. (I prefer America’s Test Kitchen on Saturdays.)

Whatever the case, we know God has a place that will fit our family and a place for ministry (e.g. small group). We’ve been praying about it for a long time, even praying for our future neighbors, whom we hope to befriend and share the love of Christ with. Maybe they’ll have some kids Micah’s age. Really, just about anything would be better than the funeral home we’ve been living next door to! Although, we’ve never had to complain about loud music. They’re usually a quiet bunch.

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