This post won’t necessarily about choosing between renting or mortgaging, but instead a third way that I have tried to drum up over the last little while which incorporates both. For the longest time I have been trying to understand what community means and the effects and sacrifices that should happen as a result of true community. I’m starting to realize that community takes on all forms, shapes and sizes and looks so different depending on the individuals that are part of it. Some communities are more shallow or deeper than others and some have different vices than others. So my idea I think would only work with a community of people that were sold out to each other on a number of levels, including financially, spiritually and emotionally. This is hard to come by, and usually the only time you see this happen is in communes (at least that I know of) but I’m hoping that it can exist without living in communes.
So imagine if I decided to rent for $550 a month, total expenses with insurance, cars, food and everything else was $1200 a month to live. Let’s say I’m making $2200 a month net pay. Now most people would say that I have enough money coming in that I could purchase a house and make the payments without a lot to worry about. However, what if instead of buying a house for myself I started paying off someone else’s in my community’s mortgage payments (personX). So $1000 a month more is going on personX mortgage which means that the mortgage would be paid of faster than double what it normally would be paid off. So if someone has 12 years left on their mortgage it can now be paid off in about 5 years. So now you have personX who has this extra money left over after five years and then they would be committed to helping someone pay off their mortgage for a minimum of that seven years (whatever was left on their mortgage.) So then we move to personY and now you have personX’s payments, my payments and personY’s payments all on the same mortgage which would pay it off even faster. And the cycle would continue until everyone in the community is debt free. Then the community’s money could go towards helping people outside their community survive, live or be debt free.
An idea like this has quite a bit of problems, and most of them are in the fact that we are dealing with humans. What happens when you get someone who is part of the community that wants help paying off his half a million dollar mortgage because he thinks he ‘needs’ a house that big? What happens when someone makes a bad decision with their money? How do you decide whose debt gets paid off next and how do you not hurt the people’s feelings when they aren’t chosen to be next? These of course are all normal problems that would suffice when you are dealing with money, but I think you could work around them if you have a group of people who cares about each other enough. Doing something like this reminds us that we are to share and take care of one another instead of just worrying about ourselves and our own equity.
There are only a few ways something like this could start. The first way is that someone has to take the first hit. Meaning if I want this to start maybe I should just stay renting at this great low price and then send all the access to personX’s mortgage so you can get someone else on board who can help you take it further. The second way I thought about doing it is if you could get ten people to give $100 a month and all of that goes to one person’s mortgage and then when that’s person’s is paid off they would start taking their extra money and putting it on whoever is next. The key to remember in something like this is it’s based on the idea that we don’t own anything, we are only stewards. My community is just as important as I am, and is just as much my responsibility as they are to themselves. Unfortunately we’ve been so pulled apart from each other and told the lie of independence that it freaks us out whenever we think about using our resources for someone else’s good. But this of course is our call isn’t it. To use what God has given us to bless those around us. So what do you think, do you think something like this could work? Would you ever be interested in doing it with your community?