Cash Flow With Joe

Living in a rehab

Living in a rehab


When Ashley and I got married, we bought the house she grew up in from her mother in Villanow. Now, if you don’t know where Villanow is, you are not alone. It’s located in Walker County and borders Whitfield County and the Johns Mountain Wildlife Management Area where state Route 136 and state Route 201 intersect.


Villanow isn’t a city — it’s a little township. As a matter of fact, you’ve heard of people talking about a one light town right? Well, we didn’t even have a single traffic light.



But don’t get me wrong, Villanow is beautiful. We were nestled between two mountains and surrounded by ample farmland. Watching the sunsets was something I looked forward to because of the unique way the light bounced off the mountains. I could try to describe it, but I just wouldn’t do it justice. You would have to experience it firsthand.



Villanow is where we came home after the honeymoon. It’s where we got our first dog, Speagle the Beagle. And it’s where we bought our first subject-to deal. And we liked living there. The problem was it was at 45-minute drive to get into our investing area. And once Ashley got pregnant with our first child, we realized we needed to be more centrally located. So, we bought another subject-to deal in Adairsville that we planned to rehab and move into.


It was a 1,600 square-foot farm house that had been sitting for a while and needed a ton of work. But the location and payment on it were good, and we decided to tackle the job.


Ya’ll, I worked my tail off on that project. We releveled sagging floors, replumbed the house and even gutted the common bathroom. We demoed the old chimney, fixing the roof, ceiling and subfloor in the process, and we rearranged the floor plan. That meant reframing walls, relocating electrical and hanging drywall and doors. And that was all before doing any cosmetic stuff while we were working on other flips.


It was tough.



I got the house done “enough” for us to move into with only two weeks to spare before our firstborn got here.


Now, I rationalized in my head that I could finish the house while we lived there. I think that was just a “rational lie” because once we started living there with the baby, very little got done. And there were a lot of projects still left to do.


For instance, one of our bathrooms didn’t have tile on the tub walls, we were missing the cabinet above the stove, I hadn’t installed a dishwasher … and the list went on.


It was hard to coordinate my “off” time with the baby’s schedule. Plus, I didn’t want to kick up dust or have loud construction noises that could scare him. (Not to mention it was very easy to talk myself into not working on my off days.)


But the longer we lived in the house, the harder it was to get something done because life would get in the way.


I did get the aforementioned things done while we lived there, but I’ll admit the house was not fully finished until after we moved to Calhoun. Once the house was vacant, we finished the rehab and sold the house.


When I recently met with a seller living in a big rehab, I was reminded of the house in Adairsville. When I walked in, I could see ceiling joists, rafters, subfloor and exposed studs. There was half-finished drywall up, floors still out of level, and doors that were not hung. Plus, there were tools everywhere.


As I toured the house, one of the rooms was a little kid room. And I instantly knew the struggles they were facing.



But the seller had a problem I hadn’t encountered. You see, I had a construction background, and they didn’t. As such, they had hired friends and family to do the work. Most projects had not been completed, done poorly and expensively. The sellers were now in over their heads on the rehab, they couldn’t sell it for what they owed and they didn’t have enough money to finish.


There was no deal here for us. All I could do was educate them and refer them to some contractors who could knock out the big things and leave them to do the painting, flooring and finishes. They have a lot of work left to do, and my heart goes out to them because I know how hard it is living in rehab.


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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