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Seeking a Deal is Wise, Until it Becomes a Deal-Breaker. 

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

The Fallacy of Cheap: Seeking a deal is wise,
until it becomes a deal-breaker. 

Why Quality Eludes Those Who Seek Bargains in Real Estate Services

Seeking a deal is wise, until it becomes a deal-breaker. The adage "you get what you pay for" rings truer than ever in the realm of residential real estate. Yet, despite the undeniable correlation between quality and cost, some individuals remain steadfast in their pursuit of cheap services. Nowhere is this more apparent to me than in San Diego, CA, where the reluctance to pay minimum service fees persists among certain clientele. 

The reality is that cheapness and quality seldom coexist. Those who prioritize cost savings over value often find themselves compromising on crucial aspects of their real estate transactions. From subpar market analysis to limited marketing exposure, the repercussions of skimping on service fees can be far-reaching and costly in the long run.

One of the fundamental reasons behind this phenomenon is the misconception that cheaper equates to better value. However, in the complex landscape of real estate, value is derived not only from the price tag but also from the expertise, resources, and dedication of the service provider. By prioritizing cost over quality, individuals risk missing out on the strategic insights, personalized attention, and seamless execution that reputable real estate professionals bring to the table.

Moreover, the reluctance to pay minimum service fees often stems from a lack of understanding of the broader implications. While it may seem like a prudent financial decision in the short term, opting for cut-rate services can ultimately lead to missed opportunities, costly mistakes, and prolonged time on the market. In a competitive market like San Diego, where timing and precision are paramount, the value of expert guidance cannot be overstated.

An appropriate Ben Franklin quote shared with me
by REALTOR friend Carol Williams :

“The bitterness of poor quality remains
long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

For real estate professionals, the challenge lies in convincing clients of the intrinsic value of their services. Despite their best efforts to articulate the benefits of a comprehensive approach, some individuals remain fixated on minimizing costs at the expense of quality. In such cases, it becomes apparent that cheapness and quality are mutually exclusive concepts – a realization that can be difficult for some to accept.

Cheapness in real estate transactions often leads to compromises in quality and service. When buyers or sellers refuse to pay minimum fees for professional representation, they inadvertently set themselves up for a slew of potential pitfalls. Agents who fail to assert their worth may resort to tactics that ultimately harm their client's interests; resulting ironically in costing them more than they thought they'd save. These may include undervaluing properties, offering subpar advice tailored to expedited transactions rather than long-term benefits, lacking negotiation skills that could save the buyer or seller money, and for buyers, selectively presenting homes that offer higher commissions. In essence, it becomes a transaction driven more by the agent's agenda than the buyer's needs and goals. Agents tend to not care for clients that do not respect them.

In conclusion, the notion that cheapness equates to value is a fallacy that continues to plague the real estate industry in San Diego, CA, and beyond. Those who prioritize cost savings over quality risk undermining the integrity of their transactions and compromising their long-term success. As real estate professionals, it is imperative to educate clients about the intrinsic value of quality services and the importance of investing in expertise, experience, and excellence. After all, in a market where quality reigns supreme, those who seek bargains may find themselves paying the price in more ways than one.

Remember these two adages:

Don't step over a dollar to pick up a penny and if you think it's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you see what an amateur costs you! It's often too late when you do!

Cover Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
All Middle Images by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Last Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Posted by

Thomas J. Nelson
REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, e-Pro, Certified Military Home Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, Author, Keynote Speaker and  Podcast Host 

Serving Coastal San Diego from Carlsbad to Coronado, Downtown, Balboa Park Area,
La Jolla/UCSD & Mission Bay Park Areas
I Offer Rebates to Veterans
& Active Duty

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RCS-Divorce     Southern California Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists (CRS)

Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

Comments (11)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Thomas - who doesn't want to receive a "deal".  Of course, at what price?  In the immediate or much longer.  The definition of deal is subject to interpretation.   And I imagine it is not difficult to ponder that it means different things to anyone you might ask.   Value and cost come into play plus a lot of other factor$.  

Mar 02, 2024 10:36 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Yes sir Michael Jacobs - I love getting a deal at the store, 20% off, same item at regular price. The problem most do not see in real estate, is 20% off, means 30% less effort, care and focus in most cases.

Mar 02, 2024 01:00 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

You make excellent points about cheapness and quality seldom coexisting.  So true!

Mar 02, 2024 12:02 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Thank you Myrl Jeffcoat and many thanks for the FEATURE too!

Mar 02, 2024 12:03 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Thomas, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Mar 02, 2024 12:02 PM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Not always, but fairly often the quality received is well worth paying a higher price for!

Mar 03, 2024 04:27 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Cheap and quality very rarely co-exist. When one buys a cheap item at the store, as opposed to spending the money for the good one, they typically have to go buy a second cheap item at some point - or maybe third. That's no longer cheap!

Mar 03, 2024 05:54 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

My grandfather used to say the same thing and he was in fact frugal. But he used to say, "buy the best tools once and they'll last you a lifetime".  He was right,I still own most of his tools that he bought in the 1940's and 1950's.

Mar 03, 2024 07:16 AM
Kat Palmiotti

That is awesome! You had a smart grandfather, Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets 

Mar 03, 2024 10:11 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Thomas,
This post reminds me of the Ben Franklin quote:
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

The problem is real estate service fees are considered to be a "cost" instead of an investment in quality. You can measure it. Losses are more difficult to measure until it's too late. One doesn't know what they don't get if they don't get it... until it's too late.

Then you can only wish you had gone with the "investment" of an experienced full-service professional.

Mar 03, 2024 06:17 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

OH! I love that quote. Never heard that before thank you!
I just added it and credited you in the post!

Well said Carol, it is almost always too late by the time they realize their error in judgement.

Mar 03, 2024 07:09 AM
Carol Williams

Thanks, Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets 
I believe it is very appropriate to your post.  Have a great Sunday.

Mar 03, 2024 08:04 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Thomas,

I've always said I prefer to purchase quality over quantity and sure I love a deal on the quality item but I'd stilled buy it at its price because I know t will last longer and I trust it. Carol Williams I've not heard that quote before and love it! Definitely appropriate for this post!

Mar 03, 2024 10:18 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Thankfully I learned many years ago how to approach "Quality Over Quantity".  There used to be a company called 'Help you smell' (not really but you get the idea).  Talk about discounters - to the max - and that meant on service and quality as well. I knew exactly how to handle 'those' conversations. Before we even got started the folks knew - we all had to be in agreement for me to take on the listing . And sometimes that meant walking away.  I'd always say - call me if that doesn't work out as well as you thought and we'll see what can could be done. Some actually did call back and became raving clients for years. Don't discount your services of values!


Featured in BananaTude


Mar 03, 2024 03:22 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Thank you for the feature and yes, I too have had to walk away from buyers and sellers, but always leaving the door open. One of my best clients: 3 deals and many referrals, was originally a walkaway.

Mar 09, 2024 07:15 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

"Don't step over a dollar to pick up a penny"- I'm going to have to borrow that, I LOVE it.

Mar 06, 2024 08:50 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Thomas,

Glad to see Carol Williams featured your post. I read it earlier this week but it needs to be read again.

Mar 09, 2024 05:55 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Thomas:

There is so much good advice in your post. Penny wise and pound foolish also seems to apply to those willing to sacrifice quality in real estate to try and save a few bucks.


Mar 09, 2024 03:41 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Yes Jeff Dowler, CRS this was a saying that escaped me when writing this.
Penny wise and pound foolish.

Mar 10, 2024 08:32 AM