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Fear and proactivity

Fear and proactivity


I think that you will agree with that me that there’s a lot of uncertainty going on right now. And people do some strange things when they get scared. If you don’t believe me, go check out the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store. Now, I’ve had to make a run, or perhaps more of a waddle, for toilet paper before. But I’ve never seen a “run” on toilet paper. But people do irrational things when they are in fear.



With that in mind, what is fear?


I have heard it said that fear stands for “false evidence appearing real.” And the only way I know to fight fear is to define what is real and what is not real.


Before I get into that, I need to confess something. I have some uneasiness in my being. The reason for this is that I’m a problem solver. And in order to be a problem solver, you first have to know what the problem is and be able to define your variables so you can work on it. And yesterday, I got hit with a bunch of unknowns from many different problems that affect our livelihood and are outside my control.


The first one happened while Ashely was at the grocery store. She was talking to a Realtor who was worried their closing might not happen if the government shuts down. That is a multifaceted problem. If the courthouse closes, title searches can’t be performed which means attorneys can’t insure the property titles for the lenders. That would delay closings.


Another issue that would happen if the government closed down is that federally insured mortgages like FHA, USDA and VA loans wouldn’t be being worked on — again, delayed closings.


I can’t tell you the last time we sold a flip that was purchased with a conventional loan. Currently, we have two houses that are supposed to sale in April that both have government-insured loans. So, all of a sudden, I’m afraid that these won’t close on time. And that can severely hurt our company.



So what’s real, and what is not?


I called my attorney to ask these questions. They told me that they got emails from their title insurance companies saying that as long as our attorney could search titles online and e-file at the courthouse, title insurance companies would continue to insure titles. They also told me mortgage companies would be trying to work remotely and would hopefully keep doing business as usual.


That knowledge helped to relieve some of the false evidence appearing as real in regard to the flips.


But later that day, I got a call from a friend talking about a petition he had read on Governor Kemp’s desk asking to suspend all mortgage, rent and utility payments for the next two months.


That’s a scary scenario. Two months of no rental income would be very difficult for us, but it could have devastating effects on elders who depend on that rental income for their daily needs.


Even though this is possible, it hasn’t happened yet and is therefore not real. So what do you do?



I asked this very question of my mentor, Bill Cook. He told me to be proactive in talking with your tenants. You have to remember that they are scared, too. If they are missing two weeks’ worth of work, they are probably afraid that they won’t have enough to make the rent payment and are going to get kicked out in the middle of all this.


What we plan to do is get in front of that fear. Now, I’d love to meet with our tenants face-to-face to see how they are doing, but just incase one of us is sick and doesn’t know it, I don’t think that is a good idea.


Instead, we are setting up times to video call with them to talk. During the call, I plan to check on them personally to see how they are doing and alleviate any fears they have about their rental circumstances. I just want to make sure they know that we will work through this together and then see what we can do to help.


Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to or call Joe at 678-986-6813.


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