Cash Flow With Joe

Meeting of the minds

Meeting of the minds


I’ve recently had an opportunity to relearn how important the meeting of the minds is between buyer, seller and real estate investor, and I’d like to share some of that information with you. The example has to do with being snookered.


It happened while I was on the phone with a seller. We’d met multiple times in person and had always had great interactions. They called me about how some funds would be distributed after the closing.


I could tell something was wrong. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I could hear it in their voice. I answered their questions to the best of my ability and even interjected that I wasn’t sure about part of it because the attorney normally figures those numbers.


As the conversation progressed, I could tell we were not on the same page. And to me it appeared that my seller was beginning to think I was trying to get one over on them.


We don’t do that at our company. We only do deals where everyone feels it’s mutually beneficial. And I’m willing to get up, even from a closing table, and cancel our agreement if my sellers feel like the deal is not a win-win situation.


So, when I felt our seller drawing back, I made a mistake and used a Southern colloquialism. I asked them if they felt like we were trying to “snooker” them.


The seller immediately got defensive and said that they didn’t snooker people.


It was obvious we weren’t having a meeting of the minds over the phone, so I asked if we could get together face to face.


This kind of thing can happen to you as a real estate investor. You see, we speak and write in a language that is different from what most people understand. And what I have found is that when people are motivated to get a deal done, they’ll say that they understand what you are saying even when they don’t.


One thing I do to combat this situation is to use simple and relatable terms when explaining deal structures. This ensures that I don’t get wordy and overwhelm the buyer or seller.



And truthfully, I thought using the term “snooker” was going to accomplish that goal. It’s a Southern term that I thought a Southern person would understand. It wasn’t until we were face to face that I discovered the seller was unfamiliar with the term “snookered.”


So, the communication success I thought I had had had had the opposite effect.


(If you’re wondering if that last sentence was a typo, just know it is grammatically correct. And that comes with the full authority of my awesome proffer, and fellow newspaper contributor Liz Crumbly, who was once the editor of the Calhoun Times and runs the magazine The Collective Equestrian. If she says it’s right, it’s right.)


But I want to use that sentence as an example for you as a real estate investor. Just because something is technically correct, doesn’t mean that it will make sense to everyone.


The term snooker didn’t make sense to my seller. My office manager, Marybeth, was also unfamiliar with the term and went to the internet for a definition. She came to me and said that it didn’t mean what I thought it meant. The definition she came back with included “intoxicated” and “drunk.” I said, “Marybeth, I think you looked up snockered, not snookered.”


She had. Snockered means to be intoxicated, while snookered means to trick someone. Look at how just a one-letter difference can make for an entirely different understanding. With that fact in mind, you have to be very careful and deliberate with how you explain things to your buyers and sellers.


Another thing you can do when explaining is to ask the person to repeat things in their own words. This will combat confusion and ensure that you have a meeting of the minds.



This strategy is very important. We had an opportunity where we were signing a lease and an option with some folks. They said they understood what an option was. But they couldn’t verbalize a definition when I asked them to repeat it for me.


When this happened, we stopped and went over it again and again until they could say, in their own words, “an option is the right to buy the house, but that the purchase is not mandatory.”


Now, we had a meeting of the minds.


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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