If we were planning a trip to the grocery store we would probably have some sort of list of the items we want to buy as well as a rough idea of a budget we planned to spend on food that day. What we would not do is go to the grocery store and just put one of everything in our cart. That would not be good for our budget or fit easily into our shopping cart.
This is the same premise as we need to approach buying a home. We need to determine what we need and what we want to spend. We don’t need to get ridiculous about the effort we just need to get a real good idea. For example if we need three bedrooms but we find a home with four bedrooms at the same price that is not a bad thing but if we were to see a home with two bedrooms that may not work.
The same thing goes for price. If we see a home that we like but the price is too high we should know beforehand so that we don’t get an inflated view of what we want and not be able to qualify for it. The only thing worse than buying a home that is too small while we try to save money is to fall in love with a home we cannot afford.
The depression of reality sets in and we are not happy by any stretch of the imagination. We may try to save but the house will generally appreciate faster than our savings will accumulate. That is not to mean that savings is bad or that working our way up the housing market is bad. It is just that we need to live in the here and now and buying something is far better than buying nothing. At least when we buy something we are building toward buying what we really want.