A few years ago a coach informed me he was pondering whether he and his girlfriend had a future. She was insistant that whatever home she live in would require hardwood floors. This was a non-negotiable for her future, and this coach had enough life experience to understand it was unlikely he’d fulfil that demand throughout their marriage.
At the time I chuckled and tried to explain that his girlfriend’s dream was likely just a preference, but the relationship ended a few months later. While I never heard the breakup story, I’ve always wondered if she was unwilling to compromise her dreams for the coaching lifestyle.
When you move around a lot you may find yourself compromising in housing. Several years ago I toured a town with a realtor and learned a valuable lesson. In order to find a house to suit our needs, I needed to speak in terms of furniture.
Every home I was shown had huge bedrooms with ample closet space and very small living rooms. It wasn’t the realtor’s fault. She was showing me the most popular housing styles in the best area of town. But what I needed was a home that would suit our ministry needs.
I needed a home with these items:
- A large living room
- Close to campus
- Ample parking nearby
- Enough kitchen space to cook for a crowd
House hunting for our family has always been about more than finding a home for our family unit. Our strategy has been to consider all the ways we will seek to serve people first. We seek space for people who will join us for meals, attend Bible studies, seek mentoring, and possibly live for a short season.
I finally explained to this kind realtor that I needed to find a house that could fit three couches in the living area and if that meant having smaller bedrooms that was okay. She stared bewildered, but made a few calls and off we went.
The best part about the home she showed me next was that it fit all our desires, and it was hundreds of dollars lower in rent because the style was less desirable. A win-win when it comes to coaching housing!
Prioritizing living spaces has meant that there is also a list of things I cannot count on factoring into a decision. Granite countertops, top of the line appliances, fenced-in yards, perfectly painted rooms, a gorgeous porch or deck and the ideal location for shopping conveniences are all bonuses, but not deal-breaking factors.
House hunting for our family has taken on many forms. Once we left things up to Ordell and arrived sight unseen except for a short video and a few pictures. Another time we drove 14 hours as a family looked at 16 homes in 36 hours and drove 14 hours back putting in applications on the drive home. Our stories of finding our homes are a little crazy, but our priorities are always the same.
Our home is a space where we want our boys to feel safe and comfortable, but more than that we want everyone who enters to feel welcome to stay awhile.
Determining Housing Priorities
Each location we begin with asking a few questions:
- What are our ministry priorities in this season?
- What will ministry in this space look like?
- How will this impact our boys?
- What are our needs vs. wants?
Housing for a coaching family is often temporary. We move often, and no two spaces look the same. By determining our priorities based on what will happen in our space rather than what looks nice our lifestyle stays consistent, regardless of the space we temporarily call home.