4 October 2014 by Lim Poh Ann –
Does God’s wisdom merely guide us along the correct moral path? Has it no relevance to us when we make mundane decisions in life—like buying a home?
Whether we intend to purchase a house from a developer or a homeowner or plan to build our own house, we have to be sure we’re able to afford it. There are many hidden costs as well as pitfalls for the unwary, which we would do well to take heed.
Luke’s Gospel reminds us to count the cost before we think of constructing anything—be it a tower or house:
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’” (Luke 14:28-30).
Truly, we need much wisdom when we contemplate buying a home as it is—for most people—the largest single investment we will ever make in life. By the way, have you come across anyone who has bought a yacht that costs more than his home?
By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Some of the factors to consider when purchasing a home include location, price, timing of purchase, track record of developer, freehold or leasehold status, whether it is guarded and gated, its proximity to amenities as well as any negative factors such as traffic jams, tolls and the noise level. Future developments may impact the value of one’s property. For example, if it is near to an upcoming MRT station or international school, then it would have greater potential for capital appreciation.
Those homes with favourable factors naturally cost more. So while we may have such homes on our radar, we must also be realistic. Can we really afford it?
Of course, it is generally safer to buy a ready-made house where one can view the finished product and assess the neighbourhood before making a decision—rather than try to picture how it would be like from a brochure or model of the house.
A property under construction carries the inherent risk that the developer may not be able to complete the project due to various reasons. Once that happens, one may be hit by a double whammy—as if being saddled with a bank loan isn’t bad enough, one is forced to rent as one’s dream house is still adrift in the clouds. Thus, if one is eyeing new property launches, it is wise to buy from an established developer with a good track record of keeping their promise to buyers.
Money has to be allocated too for renovation and moving-in costs such as buying furniture and appliances. As for renovation cost, the longer one waits, the more one has to pay for less work done; cost of labour and building materials continue to escalate. So there we go again; we need to count the cost.
We really need to pray for wisdom, seek counsel from trustworthy property agents and friends as well as do our own research as to what constitutes a good buy.
While we seek help from others, we must also play our part such as attending property fairs and new property launches, and browsing through property magazines. We need to be reminded of God’s rebuke: “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
Nehemiah, the cupbearer, prayed hard before he went back to his homeland to rebuild the broken down walls of Jerusalem. But he also worked hard. On arrival in Jerusalem, he first surveyed the extent of the ruins and ascertained the scope and nature of the work before he rallied a team together to implement the task of reconstruction (Nehemiah 2: 11-17).
God specifically told the prophet Jeremiah to buy his uncle’s field. And true enough, this uncle approached him, asking Jeremiah to buy his field. How we wish that God would speak to us with such a clear rhema word that we need not doubt whether our decision is aligned to His will (Jeremiah 32: 6-8).
Have we earnestly sought God for His rhema word before committing ourselves to a property deal (Proverbs 3:5-6)?
Next, we must build our house on a solid foundation. Jesus exhorts us to be wise by building our house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27). That rock we must build on is the truth of God’s word. At the physical level, it means we must not build our home on soft soil such as former mining land or at a location where there is an underground stream. Regarding the need of a solid foundation, nothing drives home the point better than the shocking Highland Towers tragedy.http://bit.ly/1catYLk
Finally, we need to remind ourselves that though we may have freehold property in our name, we are all “leasehold”. We have been given an average lease of three score and ten years (Psalm 90:10). So let’s not get carried away by the thought of building and staying in a lavish home on earth—that we quickly forget we will have to vacate it one day and live in our eternal dwelling place.
Jesus’ words of comfort remind us that God the Father is preparing a place for us in the hereafter:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2).
Truly, we need to stay humble and set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-3).
And not forget the goodness and faithfulness of God who has blessed us materially:
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them” (Deuteronomy 8: 11-12).
“Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8: 17-18).
Is it any surprise to you that scripture provides guidance on earthly decisions such as buying a home?
God is interested in every aspect of our lives. His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). And that includes the mundane aspects of life—like buying a home.
DOES GOD WANT ME TO BE RICH
Is there anything wrong with getting rich? What does the Bible say about abundance and riches?
BACK FROM HEAVEN AND HELL
Two men share about their supernatural experiences in heaven and hell. The choice is ours—whether we would like to stay in a cubicle, apartment, community home or mansion in the hereafter.
DOES GOD CARE WHETHER WE MAKE A PROFIT?
Yes. Why not? His wisdom, guidance and blessings apply to every area of our lives.
MAN PROPOSES, GOD DISPOSES
John had great plans for his retirement. Having made his pile in the Malaysian real estate business, he dreamed of spending his twilight years with his wife in his own retirement cottage.
PENNY WISE, POUND FOOLISH
A couple who had just returned home after spending many years overseas wanted to sell their house in Petaling Jaya, the modern satellite city near to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They reckoned they would sell the house by themselves as they did not want to pay any commission on the sale to a real estate agent.
MANY FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HOUSE
BUY A HOUSE WITHIN YOUR MEANS
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ABOUT Author: Dr Lim Poh Ann is a medical practitioner. He was the former editor of Asian Beacon magazine (December 2008 – October 2011). He can be reached at his blog, Porridge for the Soul