Why Can't I Get That Great Deal?
Getting "the Deal" in real estate seems to be the holy grail for some. Typically they want to buy a property with instant equity. Something they can turn around and sell for a profit.
First of all, sales like these are very, very, rare. Realistically how many sellers, whether it's a bank, an estate, owner are willing to sell a property for far enough below value that it is an obvious deal? How many people are willing to sell you a $100 bill for $50? Basically, you're asking for the same thing.
However, there are some fairly good buys that come on the market with some regularity. Some short sales where many buyers don't want to hassle with the wait for bank approval which is not guaranteed. Some foreclosures where the bank wants to sell quickly can come on the market for 10% or more below market value. There is also an occasional conventional sale where the seller wans out quickly and the property is priced very aggressively. And on occasion some great deals can be had at a real estate auction (especially absolute auctions).
For any of the above scenarios except the auction, when one of these properties hit the market. it gets a lot of attention. There's a good possibility that there will be numerous offers within the first few days (sometimes the first few hours) that the listing goes public. The party making the best offer will typically end up with the prize.
So, if you're looking for the deal, you have to be ready. It's best if you have cash. But, if you don't at least a strong pre-approval letter from your lender. AND, you can't hesitate, you have to be ready to act. The seller will not wait for you to book your flight and come to look at the property.
So, the aswer to the question is: Yes, you can get that great deal in real estate, but you have to be ready to act.