The confusion between a buzzard and an eagle

The other day, Ashley and I were driving in the mountains of Tennessee. As we came into town, we stopped on a bridge that over looked a beautiful mountain river.


Ashley said, “Joey! Look at the size of that buzzard!”


I looked over to see a very large, dark bird in the trees over the river. Strangely, it had white tail feathers. I asked Ashley had she ever seen a buzzard with a white tail. Then I looked up and saw it had a white head. Before I could get out “It’s an eagle”, it stretched out its majestic wings and took flight right in front of us. It was breath-taking.


Have you ever mistaken a buzzard for an eagle? What about a property you thought was going to be an eagle that turned out to be a buzzard? See where I’m going?


Don’t feel alone if you’ve made this mistake; it happens to everyone. When we got started we found lots of “eagles”. I would take them to my mentor just knowing I had a deal! He would then proceed to explain to me why they were not deals.


It was frustrating at the time, but I’m very grateful for that reproof. It taught me how to not get excited and end up paying too much for a property.


Excitement can cause you to buy a house rather than a deal. Those transactions often come back to bite you, and by extension, your bank account.


Bill would always tell me “You don’t buy deals, you create them”.


He was telling me to find a property situation that looks like a buzzard, and turn it into an eagle.


We bought a property the other day that looked like a buzzard. It was advertised as a 908-square-foot one bedroom, one bath house on a half acre lot for $30,000. From the ad it looked like we’d need to do a $20,000 rehab.


Doesn’t sound like a good deal, does it?


There is a little something you should know: this was a bank owned property. Sometimes these properties get advertised wrong. When we inspected the house, we found a two story 1816-square-foot, three bedroom, two bath house. Now we are talking! Erroneously, the bank had only advertised the top floor.


As we pulled up to the house, there was a hand-painted “for sale” sign nailed to a tree beside the drive way. Here is a tip: always, always call on those signs. It will make you a lot of money.


We called the number and left a message. Two weeks later, I got a call back. Remember, the house was advertised on a half acre lot. As it turned out, the previous owner of the house still owned one and a half acres adjoining the property.


He didn’t need the acreage and wanted to sell it for enough to get new windows put into his current residence.


When the dust settled, we bought that big house on two acres for $25,000. We did a $40,000 rehab and sold it for $109,000. Is that a smoking hot deal or what?


Your job as a real estate investor is to solve property problems. In order to do that, you need to get out and look at property so you can get face to face with sellers. Once you find out what they need, you can figure out how to give it to them.


Viewed from behind a computer screen, this deal had been mistaken for a buzzard because it was advertised incorrectly. By going out and looking at it, we saw it could be an eagle.


Deals are not bought, they are created. Get out there and make some of your own.


Joe and Ashley English invest in real estate in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to


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