Ashley and I took the long way home over Dug Gap Mountain to Villanow and then home through Sugar Valley after a recent date night in Dalton. This route is very familiar to us since Ashley grew up in Villanow and that’s where we started our life together. Since the kids were with Memaw and Poppy, we really got to savor our trip down memory lane.
Ashley and I not only started our married life there, it’s also where we started our real estate life. Our ride home was filled with stories and smiles as we passed houses that we’d either been inside of or knew about but because of inexperience couldn’t turn into deals. We passed others we’d made deals on; those were the really fun ones. We got to see how much the houses had changed but we marveled at how much they’d stayed the same.
As we drove, we talked about how different deals came to be and what we had learned from them. One in particular, a house on Tom White Road, stood out; it brought to mind a question I’d been asked the day before – “As a new investor, how did you find deals and what is the best way today?”
The deal on Tom White provides a comprehensive answer.
The Tom White property was a vacant house that I’d passed everyday for almost two years. Every time I’d think, “I need to find out who owns that house and see if I could make a deal with them.” The problem was I had no idea how.
One day I resolved to go to the courthouse and see if I could track the owners down. The problem with that was I’d never been to a courthouse and had no idea what to do, where to go or who to talk to once I got there.
I felt quite timid walking into the courthouse – it was fear of the unknown coupled with a fear of setting off the metal detector. I made it inside safely and found my way to the clerk of court’s office. The little lady behind the desk sensed I had no idea what I was doing and graciously helped me look up the property card and deed. I thanked her profusely and triumphantly left with the owner’s name and a copy of the deed.
At home, I used the white pages to look the owners up. No one in Walker County matched, but I did find someone with the same name in Ringgold. I got the address and drove to the property.
As I pulled up to the house, my heart was pumping.
“What if they aren’t home?” I thought. “What if they are?”
I was so scared, but I marched up to the door and knocked before my resolve gave out.
Thankfully, no one answered, but I’d come too far to give up at that point. So I put a letter in the door explaining why I was there and asking if the resident would have the Tom White property owners call me.
A week later someone did, and we were able to structure a deal. Later, we sold that house with owner financing and it’s still paying us today.
I asked Ashley what she thought made the difference for us in the beginning. She replied, “It has to do with fear. Some people have a fear of failure. But we had a fear of not succeeding, which empowered us. The fear of failure, however, would’ve crippled us.”
Just like everybody, we were afraid to door knock. But our fear of not succeeding propelled us to overcome that. Knocking on that door led us to talking with the owners and buying the house. And that will always be the best way to find deals.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.