If you search the internet for" fast, cheap, good," or any combination of the three, you will quickly learn the old adage of material things :
"You Can Only Pick Two"
I work with a lot of home buyers. It would be awesome to find exactly what they wanted, for half the price they expected, the very first day that we look, but it never happens, so it is important that I set their expectations very early in our relationship. I haven't used this "good, fast, cheap" adage very often as I learned it while in the construction industry. It proved to be true in most every aspect of materials and construction and I think it is almost true in real estate. I might start using it again.
This saying is from a bygone era when real quality required a craftsman's skill, market demand was very localized, and life moved at a much slower pace. As demand for goods increased, lesser skilled manufacturers found that they could sell their goods at market prices if they produced fast enough to abide consumer convenience - OR - they could make their products and sell them cheaper than the master craftsman could, because labor cost less. The masters could not produce faster, but knew that their products were better so they charged more. The populace quickly learned that you could only get two of the three factors of manufactured goods. The reason that most people haven't heard of this is because with modern manufacturing methods, efficient delivery methods, and wider ranging markets, most things are produced good, fast, and kept relatively cheap.
Smart Home Buyers Understand Which Two to Pick
Most people have a list of their wants and needs when they shop for a home and they are pre-qualified for a loan so they know how much they can shop for. They know after only seeing a few homes near the top of their price range, just how to adjust their list so that one of the next few homes they see will fit enough to purchase. Rarely do I have buyers willing to wait until everything on their wants list is available in a home in their price range, and never have I had a buyer find a home that did meet their entire wants list that they decided not to purchase because they couldn't get it for way-below-market value. It seems almost innate that people accept two of the three factors.
I have had buyers who are early in the process, verbalize the ideal of finding a perfect home, below market value, quickly. It is my job as a professional real estate agent to help set expectations so that the home buyers don't get overly frustrated. If I ask the right questions, I can find out which direction we are going to take. Some buyers want good and cheap, and a few want good and fast, and only investors ever go for fast and cheap. I explain how we go about finding each of the three and how the other two affect our search. If we are looking for good and cheap, which in housing means minimal work needed and priced below market value, then we are watching and waiting - ready to jump whenever the ideal hits the market, whether tomorrow or (more likely) next year. If the buyers aren't willing to play the interest rate market or rent for another year, they will choose to go for fast and good. Whatever home is on the market now that meets most of their criteria and is priced near the top of their price range is the one that they will buy.
Luck is How to Get All Three
Ten years in the real estate business has allowed me to experience many things. It is more common for me to witness a second wife show up to claim a property (twice in ten years) than it is for a buyer to hit the trifecta of Good, Fast, and Cheap! I know that everyone has an uncle who has bought 25 luxury homes, each in mint condition, for under $100,000 each, but you are only setting yourself up for incredible frustration if you believe that you can pull this off once.
If you are entering the market to buy real estate, please take a minute to explain to me exactly what you want. Take some time with my buddy David to find out how much you can borrow, and plan on working for 3-6 months to find and buy a home. These guidelines can be combined with my experience to find you a great property that fits both your needs and your budget. Ultimately that is what you want, isn't it?