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Makin' Money

Price, quality, location: Pick two

Chris Farrell Feb 24, 2011

The bad news keeps coming when it comes to housing. Home prices continue to spiral lower, with the latest Case-Shiller national index showing home prices down 31% from the 2006 peak. New home sales were less than expected in January, too.

Still, there are people looking to buy a home.

The Get Rich Slowly blog offers up sage advice for prospective home buyers.

The post is by Tim Ellis, a former electronic engineer who follows the Seattle housing market.

As an engineer Ellis worked on circuit design, personal computer board layout, and the like. He recalls that every customer wanted a specially designed whiz bang product at a cheap price with 100% reliability and delivered within a week. It’s impossible to do all that, of course. The mantra among the engineers was “Fast, good, cheap: pick any two.” The same holds with real estate:

When it comes to real estate, there’s a corollary to the engineering project triangle that can help you set more realistic expectations when shopping for your home: “Price, quality, location: pick any two.”
Everyone would love to buy the $100,000, brand-new, 3,000-square-foot home on an acre lot with a sweet view and an easy commute near the heart of their favorite city. No such home exists! — nor will it ever exist. If you’re serious about buying a home, you’re going to have to set appropriate, attainable goals for your search.

He then runs through each category to help you decide which two to pick.

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