Cash Flow With Joe

Hope for the best, but get the rest in writing!

Hope for the best, but get the rest in writing!


I like to think of myself as a positive person. So much so that I think they made a little mistake when they did my blood type. You see, they say I’m B-negative, but I disagree because I tend to be positive. So, there is a little discrepancy there.

But all kidding aside, I enjoy being around other positive, upbeat people. I don’t watch the news regularly or read and watch publications that perpetuate gossip, slander or that glamorize impropriety. Instead, I chose to find things like Zig Ziglar would say that fill my head with the good, the clean, the pure, the powerful and the positive. I like talking about dreams, aspirations and what the world could be. And I like to hear people counting their blessings and being grateful for the things they have.


If I get around people who are gossiping or who can only talk about how bad the world is, I try to change the subject or even reverse the conversation to put a positive spin on things. And if I can’t do either, I will politely excuse myself because if I don’t the conversation will physically drain my energy.


But I firmly believe that most people are good and will do the right thing. I believe we have a loving Father in heaven who takes care of us. And I believe we live in one of the greatest countries in the world that gives us freedom and a lifestyle that others can only dream of.


Some may call me an optimist, and I guess I am because by the definition I do believe good will triumph over evil like the Bible says. But just because you believe that the ultimate outcome will be good doesn’t mean you don’t plan for the bumps that may arise along the way.

I want you to realize there’s a difference between being an optimist who thinks all will work out for the good and then someone who only sees a best-case scenario. The best-case scenario means absolutely nothing will go wrong. And that rarely happens, especially in real estate — at least that has been my experience.


Something that I have seen get new investors into trouble is buying a house on thin margins, hoping for the best-case scenario and then having one little bump that causes them to lose money on the deal. That’s not a good way to plan. Instead, you have to take into consideration unanticipated issues when you make your offer to buy. And we account for that on every single offer and even made it a variable in our top offer formula, which is:


Top offer = After repair value – closing costs – commission – rehab – acceptable profit – Oops. (And if you are loaning money, you should subtract cost of money into the equation)


We figure Oops money into every deal we do because something always goes wrong. Either there is more damage than we thought, something broke, something cost more, or… you get the idea.


But by planning for that, you are still getting your deal to work out for the good. And that’s positive.


Now that’s just on the number side. You also have to factor people into your equation, because in order for things to work out, your buyer or seller needs to do what they promised. And you need to plan for if they don’t. Here’s a case in point on a way we handled that situation.


We just closed on a house where the seller needed time to move after the closing. They thought they could do it in 10 days. And that was acceptable to us. But we needed to come up with an agreement that solidified this and also gave some incentives for them to perform. Here is what we did.

First, we did not give the seller all of the proceeds for the home. Instead, we held back enough to make it worth their while to perform.


Next, we all agreed to a date and time at which the house would be turned over to us broom swept clean with all personal belongings removed. That is a big one because the last thing we want is to get a seller to leave us a house chock-full of stuff when we are ready to start a rehab.


We then agreed that if they were not out at the agreed upon time, we would deduct a daily holdover fee from the proceeds withheld and we had the right to hire contractors to help move any personal property and remove trash. The cost for these services would also be deducted from the proceeds. Note: make sure to include dumpster rental here, because if it takes five dumpsters to remove all the junk, that may cost more than the labor.


We all like to hope for the best, and I hope the seller does perform because I want them to get all their money and us be able to start the rehab quickly. But we made sure to get a plan in writing that protects us and makes sure that even if things do go a little sour, it will all work out for the good on this deal.


So, hope for the best, but get the rest in writing.


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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