Cash Flow With Joe

Pay it forward


For Ashley and me, 2012 was a big year. We became full time investors, but more importantly, it was the year we started our family.


It was late December 2011, and I was painting a huge master closet in a house in Cartersville, when I received a message from Ashley with an image of a positive pregnancy test captioned “Congratulations Daddy.” With a surge of emotions, I immediately called to confirm I was reading things right. I was, and the excitement kicked in.



But before our firstborn would arrive in August, something had to change. At that time, we were living in Villanow, which was about 45 minutes away from where we were buying houses. We needed to move closer so I wouldn’t spend so much time driving. But since we had no W-2 income, no Bank would give us a loan to buy a home. We didn’t know what we were going to do.


Bill and Kim Cook knew our situation and had a subject-to lead come across their desk. A subject-to deal is where you buy a house, leave the seller mortgage in place after closing and make payments on that mortgage until you either pay it off, refinance the house or sell it.


Instead of pursuing the deal for themselves, Bill and Kim generously offered it to us.


It was an old farm house on Holcomb Road in Adairsville that needed a bunch of work. With a background in construction, I could get the work done no problem. However, Ashley and I had never done a subject-to deal, and we had no idea how to proceed.



Bill and Kim held our hands and walked us through every step of the process. They showed us what wording we needed in the purchase and sale agreement. They explained how to set up a land trust and why it was good idea to buy a subject-to deal using one. They also showed us how to do all the paperwork, how to deal with the seller’s lender, how to get the right kind of insurance and even which attorney to use when closing on the house.


Without their kindness, generosity and guidance, we never would’ve bought that house. But because of them, we did. We got it fixed up and moved in just two weeks before Seph was born in August. That was cutting it close.


We asked Bill and Kim what we could do to repay them for all the time and energy they had lovingly spent on us. Without thinking, and without hesitation, they said, “Pay it forward.” That’s the kind of wonderful people the Cook’s are.


We finally accomplished that goal recently.


There was a couple with a very similar story to ours in our congregation. The wife was pregnant, and they were looking for a house to call their own before the baby got here. The husband had recently graduated college and was embarking on his career. However, since he hadn’t been on the job for a year, they couldn’t get the loan they needed to buy a house.


With only a few weeks left before Titus’ projected arrival, Ashley and I found a subject-to deal that just happened to be an old farmhouse that needed some work. We got it fixed up, and Sharon and Elijah moved into it with a little over a month to spare.



This week, Sharon and Elijah got their own mortgage on the house and paid off the subject-to mortgage. I have to say, I’m so proud of them and how far they’ve come. Once again, I am indebted to Bill and Kim. Because of them, I understand why paying it forward feels so good.


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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