Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Buying a house

My great-great grandfather, William Sherman Booker, knew that it was important to own your own land.  He was born just before the end of slavery in February of 1865, and spent his formative years working alongside his father, Daniel, sharecropping to help support the family.  When he started a family of his own in 1887, he was also a sharecropper, renting land and equipment from others to farm a small plot, and slowly going into debt.  But somehow he turned his financial situation around, and by 1915 he had saved up $350 to buy 21 acres of land (that would go for about $80,000 today), thus securing a place to live for his family that no one could take away from them.  I thought of him when Jon and I felt like it was the right time for us to buy a house.

As much as I love modern technology and comforts, I wish there were some things that were still as simple as they were back when my grandparents got married.  After Charles Demps and Nellie Booker had been married married for 2 years, in 1935 he wanted to provide a place for them to live.  So he saved up some money, bought a plot of land for $30, had it recorded in the deed books, and proceeded to build a house on it.
Now, I understand that there are safety protections in place nowadays that weren't there before, but seriously, I think we have printed out an entire ream of paperwork for the house we are buying.  We feel like we are signing our lives away!!!  There are contracts and addendums to contracts, disclosures, buyer information forms, acknowledgements, applications, and agreements.  They come from the realtor, title company, mortgage broker, home loan company, homeowner's association, and homeowner's insurance agent.  It is crazy!

But in the end, we should have a house, a place to raise our children.  Even though our house will have been made by builders 20 years ago and not by our own bare hands, we can still build our family on the same principles that our predecessors lived by not so long ago - faith, love, hard work, service, and self-reliance.  And even though we have to jump through hoops and kill a tree for all the paper to do so, we feel like by owning our own small plot of land, we are following in the footsteps of those who made it possible to be where we are today.