Goodbye House (Part 1): The Mortgage of Death

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This post has stuff about religion and a previous relationship. My perspective has changed


It’s time to dust of my old rusty “Write” button here in WordPress and get to posting! Yay! A lot has been going on lately—wrestling alligators, alien abductions, saving the world…but primarily, our decision to sell our house. I know that this will be shocking to a lot of folks, and I know that it will challenge a lot of paradigms regarding financial planning and investing but let me assure you it has been well thought out and prayed over. In short, we’re selling our house for two reasons. The first is to get out of debt and the second is to pursue a ministry opportunity that we feel God has presented us with. I’ll only deal with the first of the two in this post. To illustrate our financial situation, I’ve created the following chart.

NSI vs. Mortgage Payment

As you can see, our mortgage payment takes up the majority of our Net Spendable Income ( NSI ), that is, our Gross Income minus Tax and Tithe. If you add on the other housing related costs such as electricity, phone, water, and trash then add on a little extra for home maintenance costs we end up spending 99% of our NSI on housing! Not good. According to Crown Financial Ministries, your housing costs should be no more than 38% of your NSI . Really not good.

Idea No. 1: Get Back to Work, Slave!

Our first thought was, “Okay no problem. We’ll just have Mary go to work.” That was our rationale before we bought the house. But when we got to thinking about it we quickly realized that she’d have to work full time in order to get us even close to what we would have to be making in order for stuff to work. That would mean that poor Madeline would have to go to a day care and since the proposed solution offers no long term relief, she’d grow up a latch-key-kid. For us that just was not acceptable. Not at all!

Idea No. 2: The Financial Cocktail

Our second thought was to call our realtor, JD. He had some excellent suggestions (as usual) such as refinance, get a roommate, or get a higher paying job. So we started thinking about those options as well. I called around and found that the absolute lowest we could get the mortgage payment was still well over 38% of our NSI . So then we began considering creating a financial cocktail: Mix 3 parts refinance, 1 part roommate, 6 parts current job, 1 part Mary working…Do you know how complicated that is?! And what kind of financial plan is that anyway. If any one of the four parts breaks down well then our finances go crashing to the ground. And of course there’s still no longevity in the cocktail solution.

Idea No. 3: Saving for an Eternity

We also thought about renting the house and moving to an apartment. This way we could save up until we had the house paid down enough to make the payments manageable. But apart from the obviously very long time that it would take to do that we had other concerns. With renters come more expenses. Who will pay for the carpet that they trashed? Who pays for that broken window or the pool that is now covered in algae? Sure they’d have a deposit but in the long run it would be us. But even if we did decide to rent, who would possibly be crazy enough to pay what we’re paying, but for rent?

Idea No. 4: So Long, Farewell…

I find it funny that the word “mortgage” is derived from the Latin word for “death.” I’m not sure that it would be the cause of one’s death, but one will certainly be responsible for it until one’s death. In our case, we looked at all of the possible solutions—the ones posted here, and more—and could find no suitable answer except to stop paying our bills. Just kidding. In all reality, we bit off a little more than we could handle. We thought long and hard before we bought this house. We considered what might happen if we couldn’t afford it. We even felt peace from God about it. But I don’t think we missed it. In fact, I think we’re right where God wants us. Without this house in sight

  • We would have never sold our last house

  • We would still be paying on student loans

  • We wouldn’t have been able to purchase our car in cash

  • We would still live 23 minutes from our church

  • I would still be driving 2 hours to and from work every day

  • We would have never considered the amazing ministry opportunity that we have been presented with

You’ve been a good house, but it’s time to say goodbye. We’ll be renting an apartment now. I hope you don’t get jealous of our tiny rent payment.