Back when we first decided to sell our house (hmm...maybe 2 years or so ago almost!), we talked with a realtor, one of Dave Ramsey's ELPs. He took us through evaluating our home value and what we would need to do to coordinate buying & selling. We knew, back then, that just putting our house up for sale and then just buying whatever was available would not work for us. We needed a miracle to be able to pay cash for a house! So we decided to save up money like crazy, buy a place with cash, and then sell our home once we got moved out. He appraised our home at about the same price that we purchased it for 10 yrs. ago. A little disheartening, but at least we would be able to pay off the mortgage with a little profit.
Now, here we are with our new place bought, trying to fix up our current house - and we call the realtor again to talk about putting our house on the market. Bad news. The housing market has plummeted, and our house (best case scenario), is worth about what we owe on it. That means that after paying the realtor we will actually have to PAY MONEY to sell our house! It's worse than breaking even. It's true that "riches maketh wings and fly away". This is all due to banks lending people money who can't afford to pay it back, and those people actually BELIEVING the banks and BORROWING more money than they can pay back. What's more, now that banks have changed their lending policies, fewer people qualify for a mortgage. That means, too many houses on the market, esp. foreclosures which are being sold for not much at all, and not enough people who can afford to buy! As the realtor says, "People don't want to buy your house, they want to STEAL it!"
Borrowing money is presuming upon the future (Jim Sammons quote). Presuming that your house will always be worth more than you owe on it. Presuming that you will be able to sell your house if you need to. Presuming that you will always have an adequate income to sustain your mortgage. Houses are not always appreciating assets. Jobs change. Moves sometimes need to be made quickly.
What if we took our financial limitations to be a sign of God's direction? If we didn't have the money to buy something, then that must mean that it isn't God's will for that time. "God's work in God's time will never lack for God's funds" - Jim Elliot. What if, as Christians, we decided to live in, drive, wear, and use whatever God has provided the cash-in-hand for? What if we taught our children how to work hard and save at an early age, so that by the time they are ready for marriage, they will be able to pay cash for their first home (however humble it may be)? What if, instead of foreclosing or filing for bankruptcy, we paid back what we owe, even if it took a long time? What if we believed God for the impossible?
We don't know what will happen with the sell of our house. We just know that God provides. I love how Dave Ramsey says that when you start moving in the right direction, it's like God puts a moving sidewalk underneath you, accelerating your progress in the direction He wants you to go. Will God work a miracle and help us to sell our house with enough money to pay off the mortgage and the realtor? Will He, in spite of a low selling price, provide the money from another source to pay it off? Will we find a renter instead to tide us over until the market recovers? Will we just have to scrimp and save (hey, we've done THAT before!) to make up for the difference? We are paying our stupid tax, as Dave Ramsey says. If it isn't too late for you, please heed the warning - the one in Scripture "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7 or "Owe no man anything but the debt of love" or what about this one: "If thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger (banker!), thou art snared with the words of thy mouth (or thy ballpoint pen!). Do this now, my son, when thou are come into the hand of they friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe (or gazelle, as Dave Ramsey says) from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler." Proverbs 6:1-5