You nailed it right on the head. Design is my business model - my target is not the highest end of the design market. Most people find me because they are already pre-disposed to hiring a designer or referred by someone who has worked with me(others because they want free advice). I am in a seasonal resort area and most of my clients live somewhere else. Simply having enough money to afford a second home means that they have disposable income. They certainly don't have the time to do any DIY projects because they live somewhere else. They want everything in place so that after they drive 8 hours from NY, CT, or NJ, they can start partying. The cost only becomes an issue if they feel like it is too much for what they are getting. There is no reason, from their perspective, for me to start with wanting to know how much they are willing to spend. It makes some of them feel like you have not been there before.
You can adjust to your client and the situation. There is no one size fits all approach. Know your options and try to match your approach according to the client and situation.
However, most of us tend to work in a certain range of the market. They are all good, but most of us get referrals within the same range so we get geared to working in that segment. I think that is a good thing because it keeps everything consistent. So sticking to what you know in your situation is not a bad thing either. The more specialized you are to working a certain part of the market, the more you can use a one size fits all approach.