We bought a new house!
What should I tell you about it? Should I give you the plain story about how we went about buying a house? Or should I get philosophical about how I once owned a home many years ago and thought I’d never own one again due to multiple adversarial life circumstances? Let me tell you a little about both.
Setting the Financial Stage
First, let me set the financial stage. Four years ago, my wife and I decided to get out of debt. We followed Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps after hearing him on the radio and taking his Financial Peace University course. We paid off a significant amount of debt over 19 months. It was an amazing feeling to make the last payment and be debt free! No more car payments. No more student loan payments. No more credit card payments. We were (and still are) debt free! Over the following two years, we saved up a three-month emergency fund and enough money for a down payment on a house.
Our next step was to look for a house. Since we were very fond of Dave Ramsey and his instruction, we found Gordon Crawford through Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers. Gordon was wonderful! He took his time in showing us houses and pointing out important features and flaws in homes which we would not have thought to look for. Gordon was so good natured. He will be remembered in our home as the guy who first introduced our toddler to Fruit by the Foot.
We began looking for a home in July. We quickly realized there was steep demand for homes due to people flocking out of New York City into the suburbs. Here’s an example from a New York Times article dated August 30, 2020:
Over three days in late July, a three-bedroom house in East Orange, N.J., was listed for sale for $285,000, had 97 showings, received 24 offers and went under contract for 21 percent over that price.
Trust me, East Orange is not a town in New Jersey where people would normally rush to spend $285,000 on a house. But it’s an indication of the level of demand for houses at the same time we began our search.
We found a house we really liked on a Friday evening of torrential downpour when there was some miscommunication between the listing agent and the seller, who had no idea potential buyers would be washing up on his porch. He was kind enough to let us see part of the house. We had to wait a few days for the open house to come back and see the rest. That was a sunny day and we liked all that we saw. We made an offer quickly to get ahead of the New Yorkers.
Oh, the Drama!
Despite that sunny day, there ended up being quite a bit of drama in order to get to closing. I don’t feel like writing about the gory details. It went on for three months. At one point we walked away from the deal. Even after the deal was re-initiated, we found ourselves wishing we stayed out because of further drama. But ultimately we closed and the house was ours.
Now let me get to the philosophical part.
I owned a home at one other time long ago. I once wrote about that home. As I said there, that time of my life “feels like a tale from someone else’s life, or a portion of an old book that I vaguely remember.” That was 25 years ago. That’s almost half my life ago. Think of how much a guy experiences in half his life, all the downpours, all the waves that wash over him, and the many currents that carry him through depths and breadths in life’s ocean, until he reaches the balmy shores of his new home.
Well, isn’t that some sappy philosophical flotsam and jetsam that just washed up into your browser! The truth of the matter is that I’m now a guy that has a mortgage payment who has to fix anything that breaks around here because I ain’t got no landlord to do it for me. But the shiny side of that coin is, in addition to being free from debt, I am free from the obligation of paying another man’s mortgage to live in a house he owns while I have no real equity to my name. BOOYAH!
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotish, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferane of these colonies, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having, in direct object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:
He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature; a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the meantime, exposed to all the danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose, obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in time of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.
He has combined, with others, to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them by a mock trial, from punishment, for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nations.
He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and the, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.
George Read | Caesar Rodney | Thomas McKean |
George Clymer | Benjamin Franklin | Robert Morris | John Morton | Benjamin Rush | George Ross | James Smith | James Wilson | George Taylor |
John Adams | Samuel Adams | John Hancock | Robert Treat Paine | Elbridge Gerry
Josiah Bartlett | William Whipple | Matthew Thornton |
Stephen Hopkins | William Ellery |
Lewis Morris | Philip Livingston | Francis Lewis | William Floyd |
Button Gwinnett | Lyman Hall | George Walton |
Richard Henry Lee | Francis Lightfoot Lee | Carter Braxton | Benjamin Harrison | Thomas Jefferson | George Wythe | Thomas Nelson, Jr. |
William Hooper | John Penn | Joseph Hewes
Edward Rutledge | Arthur Middleton | Thomas Lynch, Jr. | Thomas Heyward, Jr. |
Abraham Clark | John Hart | Francis Hopkinson | Richard Stockton | John Witherspoon |
Samuel Huntington | Roger Sherman | William Williams | Oliver Wolcott |
Charles Carroll | Samuel Chase | Thomas Stone | William Paca |