I recently had to stop working with some clients.
I don't want to sound casual or flippant about this, it wasn't a decision I made lightly, but I had had enough. They were a very nice couple, but they had completely lost focus, and I sensed that perhaps they might be better served by working with another agent. They just had started taking up way too much of my time and we didn't seem to be getting any closer to finding them anything.
It all started simply enough. They were looking for a specific type of house in a specific area. As we viewed all the homes that matched their criteria (easy enough, they didn't seem too picky) I began to notice a lack of enthusiasm on their part. They had no urgency to make a decision.
Soon after getting back to the office I'd recieve an email from them. They would scout around on the MLS website and ask to see more houses. I noticed that the houses they were requesting to see were straying further and further from their original lists of needs and wants. At first I didn't say much, but I eventually asked them about the change in their approach, and they mentioned that they were "looking for the best deal". They didn't mind sacrificing a few of their wants if "it was the best deal" out there. Fair enough. Our search strayed further and further geographically as well as from their original vision of the type of house they were looking for. We started viewing a hodge-podge of homes in a variety of far-flung locations.
What makes a good deal though? Without parameters, there is no such thing as "the best deal". If you don't mind spending extra time commuting to and from work, well why don't we go look at homes in Guatemala? I hear that you can get some really great bargains there. This is an exaggeration of course, but the principle is sound. Without setting a limit to a variety of factors, you'll never be sure that you are indeed getting the best deal out there. There has to be a focus to a home search, otherwise there will always be something cheaper or further or smaller or on a busier street or having numerous other factors that can be compromised. You will never be sure that you got the best deal (or even a good deal). This becomes worse when time is not a factor either because maybe next year the market will yield even better deals (which won't happen in my market, but...).
Conversely, if you are looking for a bungalow in Belleville, and you view all of them, compare their prices and attributes, then yes, you can easily determine that you are getting the best possible deal in the time you had allotted to accomplish this task. It's even possible to make slight changes to your 'needs and wants" without straying too far. If, however, you are simply aimlessly looking for "the best deal", I can tell you that it simply does not exist.