One of the biggest mistakes I see beginning investors make is buying a property a long distance away from where they live.
And trust me, I understand. It was a great deal. And you hadn’t seen anything that cheap around you.
Ashley and I did the same thing when we bought a place for $8,000 45 minutes (one-way mind you) from where we lived. And that was just to the property. It was an additional 30 minutes to the courthouse, which meant I would spend 2 1/12 hours driving if I had to file dispossessory.
This kind of distance meant I didn’t do inspections regularly. Needless to say, all the trials from that property provided a great learning experience.
Now, we must be 45 minutes or less to the courthouse for us to buy a property. This allows us to buy property in Whitfield, Murray, Gordon and Bartow counties.
Working that many counties makes things interesting. That’s because each one has its own way of doing things — especially at the courthouse.
Take the one we’re doing in Floyd for instance.
When we got the house under contract, we didn’t realize it was in Floyd County. The property has an Adairsville address. I made an offer in the front yard; they accepted it and it wasn’t until I got back to the office that I noticed it was in Floyd County.
Now, we’ve never done one in Floyd. But the courthouse was in reach, so we went with.
This property is a double wide mobile home on a permanent foundation sitting on 1.5 acres. Our exit strategy is to flip this one, mainly because it has an inground pool, which is a big no-no for me on rentals.
For the house to qualify for financing when we sell it, we had to do a few things to make sure the trailer was attached to the land. The first thing we had to do was get a structural engineer out to certify that the foundation was up to code. This was the mechanical part of the process. Next was the legal part.
Because mobile homes have wheels and an odometer, they’re governed by the DMV and have a state issued title. In order to attach a mobile home to the land legally, you have to “retire” its title. This process, once done, will transfer the mobile home on the warrant deed at the time of sale.
I’m having issues getting that done on this one. The title to the mobile home is currently in the previous owner’s name. I need to get it transferred to our name before we can move to the next step in the process of filing the T-234.
The T-234 is state application for a certificate of permanent location. Once the DMV approves it, the certificate of permanent location is issued in the applicant’s name filed on the T-234, the title will be retired, and the home will be fixed to the land. We can then proceed to having it added to the deed.
My problem is that the previous owners had filed homestead exemption, which means the double wide and the land are taxed as one entity. Right now, Floyd is telling me they cannot update the mobile home title until they are separated, which can’t happen for two more months.
We will probably have that property under contract before then, so that doesn’t work.
Because I’m not familiar with that courthouse, I’m not saying the right words to the right person to get them to understand that.
Tomorrow, I’ll go talk to Ms. Martha at the Gordon County Courthouse. I know her, and she knows her stuff. I’m hoping she will help me rephrase my words so that the right person in Floyd will understand.
But at the end of the day, this will be another lesson learned about buying things outside of my area.
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.