Tag Archives: churchfunding

Churchfunding Update 10: We Might Have a House!

I’ve been too busy house hunting lately to blog! But it’s high time for a brief update.

In short, we placed an offer on a house, the offer has been accepted, and closing could come as soon as this Friday. The sudden action has left us dizzy and grateful and relying more than ever on God!

This house is not the same house that I mentioned in my last post. That house turned out to have multiple problems that we couldn’t see until we looked inside–especially water damage in both the basement and the attic, with a slope to the property that promised more flooding problems in the future.

Most of the run-off from two properties drains here, then—unless the sump pump is fully dependable—right into the basement.

The moment we stepped out of that house I asked our realtor what he had scheduled next. Did he have time to immediately look at another house?

Regrouping outside the house we rejected. L to R: Me, our realtor, Steve, Zonya.
Regrouping outside the house we rejected. L to R: Me, our realtor, Steve, Zonya, our middle daughter.

He did. So we all drove right over to a house that our realtor and I had looked at back in January. At that point it appealed to me in a lot of ways, but seemed beyond our budget.

Since then it dropped in price. We are currently under contract for buying it for $65,000. More price negotiation may yet happen based on an inspection we had done this past weekend, and we can still back out if we wish.

This “new” house (definitely a well-used dwelling) has a lot going for it. Most importantly, it has lots of room inside and out for hosting church gatherings and piano students, there is plenty of parking space, and the street is quieter than some in the neighborhood. While we might not often walk from there to Steve and Christy’s, the park, or the library, we can drive there in about five minutes or less.

The main hosting area. L to R: living room, kitchen, dining room. The door in the center leads into the "piano teaching room," a bathroom, and a laundry.
The main hosting area: Living room on left, dining room on right, kitchen through archway. The door down the hall leads into the “piano teaching room,” a bathroom, and a laundry.
Two Smucker boys marching over the stream into the back of the backyard. Under all that brush is a lot of stone landscaping, including an outdoor fireplace.

(I’ll likely share some better pictures of the house after/if we actually buy it. For now I’m exercising caution for privacy and purchase negotiation reasons.)

The churchfunding effort that many of you have joined on our behalf is making this house purchase possible! And since we can make a cash purchase offer, it is giving us a leg up on price negotiations, too.

If any of you want to help out more—and make your money go further, and see our house!—then here are some ways you could help:

  • Offer to stay in our new house—starting almost ASAP—to help keep it secure while we wrap up things in Iowa and prepare the house. Sign up to stay for a few days, a week, or a month. Free Atlanta lodging! Not luxury at this point, but hopefully with water and electricity. 🙂
  • If you have already offered to possibly help prep the house, confirm if you still think you might be able. An experienced (and hired) contractor to oversee the repairs would be a blessing. Steve can offer part-time oversight, which is great and may be enough, though he does have a day job. Work tasks will include HVAC installation, wiring, drywall, painting, doors, flooring, replacing window panes and at least one window, and other similar things. House cleaning and yard cleanup will also need to be done.
  • Pray! As first-time home buyers, we are on a steep learning curve. Pray we can make wise decisions that will free us long-term to serve God and others.

I think that’s all for now. Send me an email or Facebook message if you want to discuss any of this further.  (Or comment below with more general responses.)

One more thing: It was a great blessing to have the Gingrich and Smucker families all together again this past week for the first time since last summer! Children and adults all enjoyed it. Sharing a Lord’s Day together—including celebrating the Lord’s Supper for the first time as a fledgling church fellowship—was especially special.

For Christ and his Church,
Dwight Gingrich

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Churchfunding Update 9: An Answer to Special Prayer?

On the morning of February 16 I sent out an “invitation to special prayer” regarding our Atlanta house hunt. On my lunch break that day I spotted a house that had just been listed for sale that same morning. Unlike any house I had spotted for several months, this one seemed to be a good match for our ideal criteria. Given the timing, I couldn’t help wondering: Is this the answer to our prayers?

The days since have been full of nothing. Full of waiting, that is. We were waiting on responses from the seller’s agent… and he was apparently waiting on a house key from the owner… who reportedly was waiting on the renter to provide a copy of the key… since the owner had lost hers. Some of you have been following my blow-by-blow commentary on Facebook. Finally, yesterday, the log jam started truly moving.

Today we finally placed an offer on that house. However, our offer was not accepted.

What does this mean? Several things could happen:

  • We could receive a counter-offer from the seller tonight or tomorrow.
  • The seller might not respond to us at all, especially if they have received another offer they prefer.
  • We may try again with a bigger offer.
  • Regardless, our realtor will be contacting the seller’s agent in the morning to see what we can learn.

If we do come to an agreement with the seller over a purchase price, then we will have some busy days ahead! There will be a “due diligence” period of about a week. During that time, the house will need to be inspected, with an assessment of the cost of any needed repairs. We will need to decide if it is indeed a good match for us. Then, if it is a good match, we will need to process the paperwork to close on the house.

Thankfully, closing should be less complicated than sometimes, since we plan to make a cash purchase—thanks to many of you! If we can secure this house, our realtor says closing could come yet before the end of this month—maybe even within two weeks. We actually might own a home before we start making our promised “mortgages payments” in April!

Is our Atlanta house hunt nearing an end? (And will Steve and Christy Smucker finally see our promising words translate into actions?) We don’t know. But we do know that our God is strong, and wise, and good. He will answer our prayers in the best possible way.

And we also know that your prayers and words (and emails and “likes” on Facebook) have been strengthening our hearts as we wait on God’s perfect timing. So, once again, we say Thank You!

Please continue to pray with us as we continue our attempt to purchase this house! This house seems like it could be a very good fit—even better than the one we wanted last fall. We would dearly love for this to be the one…  May God’s will be done. (Please pray also for the renter, who has lived there for over 5 years and may soon be looking for another home.)

For Christ and his Church,
Dwight and the Gingrich tribe

PS: Once we indeed close on a house, then I will joyfully share some pictures and links with you all. Until then, please be patient as we try to avoid leaving the illusion that several hundred people are all interested in “our” house! If the seller sees that much “demand,” we might all be reaching deeper into our pockets…

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Churchfunding Update 8: An Invitation to Special Prayer

We invite friends near and far to join us in special prayer over the next week, asking God to lead us to a house in Atlanta. Our hunt for a house to buy is taking longer than we had hoped. The wait will soon become more expensive, unless we can move into a house before April (more below).

Unless the Lord provides the house, they labor in vain that look for one! We know that we can’t force God’s hand (and we don’t want to). But we also know that our Father invites us to “pester” him boldly with our needs (Luke 18:1-8), confident in his wisdom and goodness. We invite you to help us do this.

What has been happening with our house hunt? The  winter months have been really faith-stretching. We missed our first-choice house in the late fall, partly because we didn’t find funding in time. Few new houses came on the market in December. Steve and Christy Smucker (our future teammates) discovered they had a bad mold problem in their house, so we thought they might also need a new house. In addition, I had some really unnerving health problems that led to a colonoscopy early this month. (I sincerely thank God that my health has been returning!)

So we did little house hunting for a month or two.

I did, however, make a solo trip to Atlanta in late January. I met our new realtor for the first time, and he seems to be a good fit. We toured several houses and drove by more. One house was really nice, but a bit pricey for its location. Another (a fixer-upper) was in a superb location—but we discovered it about 5 days too late. My emotions took a roller-coaster ride. But I got a better sense of neighborhoods and streets. I met with Choice Books managers and confirmed that I have a part-time job offer. And Steve and Christy Smucker seem to be conquering the mold problem in their house, so we have some clarity again that our preference is to find a house in their neighborhood.

If we were just looking for a place for our family to live, we could probably settle for one of the houses currently on the market. But we are looking for a place where I can also teach piano (not-too-scary neighborhood, a suitable room, enough parking so neighbors aren’t disturbed), since we expect that to be an important source of our income. And we’d also like enough space to effectively host small church gatherings.

Not many new houses have come on the market since my last Atlanta visit, and it seems to be a seller’s market right now. So, we are torn between waiting for something more ideal or significantly adapting our expectations and simply buying something that will get us to Atlanta. Zonya and I are ready to move, and Steve and Christy are ready for us to come!

Waiting is disorienting. We still feel a peace about moving to Atlanta, but things haven’t been falling into place. Why not? God knows. (Strange thoughts come to mind, like: “God sees we aren’t that preoccupied with specific ideas for serving him in Atlanta, so he’s not feeling urgent about getting us there, but Satan sees our presence in Atlanta would encourage Steves, so he’s hindering our move; thus we are doubly doomed.”) Last night at Bible study we were reminded to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). What does this look like in our situation? (What does it look like while many are homeless this very moment?) I’m not fully sure.

Another factor that increases our sense of urgency is our promise to our lenders that we will begin monthly repayments in April, house or no house. This is only fair, and we do not expect this commitment will bring us any immediate financial difficulty. But it does mean that, unless we are in a new house by April, we will be making $500 loan repayments on top of $450 Iowa rent payments each month. I keep telling God that it would be wise financial stewardship for him to provide a house before then!

In summary, I have started asking God to please lead us to a house before the end of this month. I don’t know much about prayer, and I realize God’s plans for our family might be very different from my hopes and expectations. But I continue to ask, and we invite you to do the same.

So as you remember us over this next week, I invite your prayers.

Please share this post with anyone else who may want to pray.

And thank you! The support of God’s people has greatly encouraged us many times in this house-hunt saga! If you have any counsel, prophetic word, or other encouragement, please comment below.

For Christ and his Church,
Dwight and Zonya and the three little ladies

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