Once we signed the contract on the Austin house, CJ and I reflected on how smoothly the process had gone and how we saw God’s hands at every step. With the Austin process coming to an end, we realized that we needed to get the Salida process started. I contacted our realtor in Colorado to ask him about rental houses in downtown Salida. However, since he lives in Buena Vista, which is about 25 miles north of Salida, he referred us to a woman that specializes in Salida rentals. I contacted her, gave her our wish list (i.e., location, type of house, etc) and let her know that we would be moving July 1st. When she asked if we had any pets, I told her yes…5 (3 large dogs and 2 cats). You could almost cut the silence with a knife followed by a great big “OHHHH”. She said that it was going to be very difficult to find someone willing to rent their house to someone with so many animals. She also told us that many of the places don’t notify her until a month before move in, so many of the houses up for rent at that time were available June 1st. She said she would keep her eyes and ears open for a place that would take our pets with available of July 1st.
We waited for several weeks for our rental contact to call us back. We didn’t want to seem pushy or impatient, but after no response and concerned with the lack of time we had, I finally called her. She answered but didn’t seem too excited about finding us a place. All she had to say was that nothing had come available and that she would call us when something came up. After more waiting, I called her again and left a message, but more days passed and no return call. So we prayed about the situation and took the lack of response as a sign that maybe we weren’t to rent in town. By this time it was mid-May, and the reality of us being homeless as of July 1st really started to hit us. Both of us started to feel a sense of urgency.
We originally sensed the direction that God wanted us to go was to rent a house in town (in order to connect with community) and buy land which we would then lease back to SWR. Well, not finding a rental house prompted us to check our budget again, and we realized that we actually wouldn’t be able to afford to pay both rent on a house and a note on property. We took this as a door closing, not on SWR but on our original understanding of how we were to go about this. We knew God had a plan, we just weren’t sure what it was. So, we continued to pray for a clear vision of the next step in His path for us.
After much prayer, CJ felt led to start looking at houses for sale in the Salida area. My initial reaction was negative: (1) because it was not in the direction that I thought God was leading us (towards land for SWR), and (2) I had never bought a house in an area that I hadn’t lived in for a while (I’ve always felt it was important to get the lay of the land before making a commitment to a certain location). Well, we continued to pray about this direction and soon I realized that I wasn’t trusting that He was going to provide. My fear was that if this endeavor didn’t work out, we would be stuck with a house in an unfamiliar.
With CJ getting the idea to look at houses for sale, the rental market being non-existent, and me trusting Him, we had a strong sense that God was redirecting us to buy our own home and then have SWR buy the land at a later date (which actually makes better sense from a tax perspective). In faith, we dove in head first. I called our realtor about pulling all the house listings in Salida, Buena Vista and the areas in between. The next day he sent us the MLS listings for all the available houses. Sifting through them, it quickly became clear to us that for what we can afford, living in town wasn’t an option. The houses in old town Salida within our budget were too small (like 800 sq. ft small) and/or needed a ton of work. This was discouraging, given that we felt very sure that God wanted us to connect with the local community and town living was the best way to do that. However, with that door closing , we then focused our efforts on the houses in the rural areas. While we were reviewing the listings, our realtor contacted us about a rental house that would be available when we needed it and that would also allow our 5 pets. The catch was that it was in a subdivision in the northwest part of Buena Vista, which is about 40 minutes north of the Salida community that we felt God was leading us. So we discussed what this could mean and we prayed about it. Two questions came up in our discussion, is God directing us away from the community we thought we were to become a part of and towards the community in Buena Vista? Alternatively, could this rental be a distraction and an easy way of relieving our fear of being homeless? After prayer, we both sensed that we were to continue to move forward on the path we were on until a door closed. I talked to our realtor about what we were sensing and he said that the rental could aslways be a fall back if we couldn’t land a house by July 1st.
As a side note, even though our realtor knew that we weren’t ready to buy land, he also sent us MLS listings of available properties in the areas between Salida and Buena Vista. In this area, property appears to be on the market for some time, so it wouldn’t hurt to start looking. All properties were a minimum of 35 acres due to the lesser development restrictions on larger lots regarding water rights and such.
Well, after reviewing over 40 MLS listing for houses and properties, we found two houses and two properties that we thought had a lot of potential. The houses were located very close to each other in a prime location along US 50 about 8-10 miles west of Salida and about 8 miles east of the Monarch Ski Resort. The houses were also located about 10-15 minutes south of the two potential properties for SWR, which are located about 3 miles west of US 285 in the area which we envisioned between Buena Vista and Salida.
Now that we found some houses that warranted a closer look, we needed to fly up and see them as soon as possible. Our window of opportunity in finding a house within the typical month timeline necessary for loan processing was quickly closing. I had to go it alone this time because CJ couldn’t take more time off of work at that time. She was really bummed that she couldn’t go, but was ok with me going alone because she trusted my prayerful judgment. 🙂
I don’t want to make this blog too long , so my adventure back to Colorado will be in my upcoming blog.