[Excerpts from Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son, Steve and Teri Maxwell, Chapter 8, “What Skills Will He Have?” Product description and pre-ordering available sometime on Tuesday, the 4th.]
Have you met Eric? You’d remember him if you had. He’s a likable, enthusiastic, hardworking young man. His heart’s desire is to seek first the kingdom of God. Eric’s family is very musical, and he started playing the cello when he was six. By the time Eric was 10 years old, the four oldest children formed a string quartet and began performing professionally for weddings and also had prestigious, high end background music jobs.
When Eric was 14, he saw an article in a gardening magazine about raising bees. First, Eric read everything he could on the subject of beekeeping. Then he found a local man who was retiring from beekeeping who sold him four hives and equipment at a very reasonable cost. Eric was now a beekeeper. The first year the bees did well, and Eric harvested over 200 pounds of honey. Through the years, he was able to expand his honey operation to more than 30 beehives.
The bee business was a way for Eric to bring in a small income and be productive with his time while he was still busy in school. He estimates that over the years, he earned $8,000 to $10,000 from his beekeeping. His share of the quartet appearances yielded another $5,000.
At 16 most young men want a car, but Eric wanted a cow. That’s right, a cow! Their family lived on the edge of the suburbs, but their yard was one acre. Again, after careful research and saving his money, Eric received his parents’ permission to buy a young heifer. All was well for a while. Then the cow grew, and the reality of a cow living in the backyard where little children played proved too much. Eric’s dad said the cow needed a new home.
Eric started knocking on doors in their neighborhood and soon found a neighbor who was willing to let the cow live on her open three-acre pasture. She also gave Eric permission to keep a companion cow, which he promptly purchased from a local dairy. Overnight, Eric was in the dairy business, milking five to six gallons of fresh whole milk a day. With a market of clients seeking healthy local products, a new business was born. Within a few years, the operation grew to three Jersey milk cows and a small herd of dairy goats with more than 100 hand-milked gallons of milk a week, supplying over 40 customers. Milking at five a.m. and five p.m. every day, in addition to his school and other work, kept Eric pretty busy. Over the course of five years, by the age of 21, his milk operation and the raising and selling of cattle allowed him to save close to an additional $10,000.
When Eric was 19 he studied, tested, and obtained his real estate license and began work under a local broker. It was a difficult time in real estate with a very soft market. He learned, however, to work hard in the midst of a bad economy, and when the market stiffened in later years his same work ethic yielded great dividends.
Eric sold about 18 homes in his first three years during very lean times in the housing market. At the age of 24 and with a desire to honor God in his business, he began his own real estate brokerage.
Years earlier as a young child, Eric had watched his parents work hard to get out of debt, and that made quite an impression on him. He decided he wanted to buy his house and live debt-free.
As a realtor, Eric kept his eyes open for a house he might be able to buy with the cash he had been saving.
Because of a slow market during the fall months, a significantly undervalued town home was listed at $79,900. It was presented as a “short sale,” and Eric wrote an offer on it in October. It was mid-April before the two lien-holding banks approved his offer. The house is a two-bedroom, one-bath, 900-square-foot town home in the Denver area. Now that the housing market is beginning to recover, a similar town home in his neighborhood has been listed for $150,000. God gets the glory.
Eric is a powerful example of a young man who is always learning and developing marketable skills. Eric made a statement that is dead on: “Things are for a season, and then you must be ready to move on.” This mindset yields a vocationally well rounded and marketable individual.
We’re excited to share with you so much more through Buying a Home Debt-Free! Watch for details soon.
“Prepare thy work without,
and make it fit for thyself in the field;
and afterwards build thine house.”