Requesting Jubilee So I Can Buy a Cheap House, Or Lamenting Status Quo

Taking a different turn today.

My wife and I are looking into buying our first house. Not the most straight forward process in the world – its similar to my theory on college that it’s not so much about what all you learn but its more about jumping through all their hoops and putting up with it for several years on end – that’s what they’re looking for.

It struck me as we’ve been going through the process that in order to buy a house these days you need to pay $1000 a month for 30 years… Doesn’t that seem a bit absurd? The next thirty years of your life – just to own a shack of a place on a small plot of land.

We live in a BEAUTIFUL town in the Cascade mountain range where people from across the country and globe come to visit. As such real estate is at a premium, I understand that. We can barely afford an 85 year old house. A house we loved was snatched up investors who could over $50,000 more than us.

From all this I can understand the Old Testament Jubilee period (probably popularized by Shane Claiborne), where every 49 years the land was allowed to rest from farming and properties were returned to the original owners (that’s a very abbreviated list).

Now obviously it would be a total collapse for our society to try to embrace even a fraction of this, so I’m not suggesting it. However maybe they were onto something – because I am now seeing the build up of hundreds of years of property ownership and control – where all of the land is purchased at a high price and only the wealthy have a shot at it. The common person is at the mercy of the rich, who because of their wealth are able to invest and perpetuate their riches nearly endlessly.

I’m not sure if I’ve got some big lesson or question to leave lingering. This is simply a lament that our systems slant and that the solution, a Biblical one, is totally out of reach.

Go ahead and tell me not to store my treasures up in heaven by worrying about this house. I’m probably still going to buy one so I’m not paying someone else’s mortgage.

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6 Responses to Requesting Jubilee So I Can Buy a Cheap House, Or Lamenting Status Quo

  1. David says:

    A couple of facts:
    There are some lifetime housing calculators which show that unless you have a property that produces some income, such as a 2-family home, you will probably break even in the long run renting. I admit it, I was surprised too.

    Home ownership – the American Dream for every American is probably a political ploy. Not everyone can afford home ownership. We’ve proved that.

    In terms of Jubilee – hey we have bankruptcy. For the Americans that choose this route, within 2 years they can rebuild their credit, which in many cases, is better than bad credit. And in America you can do that every 7 years.

    The system is tough, but you couldn’t buy a shack here in Metro-Boston for $100K – try $300 and up for 3 bedroom, 1 bath on a few hundred square feet.

    But think positively, you will have guaranteed healthcare, some national security and your newborn will grow up looking at about a 50% tax rate.

    • I have worried that wanting to own my home is me buying into the American Dream – even though we want a small house, no white picket fences allowed. But we figured since rent can be just as expensive as a mortgage we’d rather have a place we can invest in (ie GARDEN big time) rather than simply live in. Great thoughts to consider.

      • David says:

        Yes, with home prices and interest at an all-time low, it might be a good investment. We are spending about $500 per month more than we were renting for. We are losing about $600 a month on our old house. If we had socked that away, it would have been more profitable in a fund. If you own, the first 10 years of a 30 is pretty much all interest. If you rented and save enough to get a 15-year – you’d be way better off.

        BTW – We have lived in places where they allowed us to do pretty much anything but burn it down.

        Good luck.

      • my parents paid off their 30 year loan in 8 years – which is crazy. Saved them tens of thousands… not gonna be possible for us I’d say.

        Unrelated funny story – we toured a house the other day from the 20’s built on a rock foundation. Well the floor is falling in, each room has dips. Therefore I have to disregard the teaching of Jesus to build my house on the rock, because it’s not a good idea. FHA won’t even approve the loan because of that.

  2. Su says:

    I would also like to get in on the Jubilee method of buying a house.

    I followed your link from a comment on the Church of no People blog. Looks like you have some cool thoughts! Guess I’m adding you to my endless blogroll. 🙂

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