How often do you go into a designer boutique expecting to walk out of there with a $20,000 one of a kind dress for $100? I would guess not very often. Most of us know what we can and will spend for a dress when we head out to shop. We also know that it's highly unlikely to get something made of the highest quality silks and satins when we have a wallet that can handle high end polyester. So why do so many homebuyers bring a list of properties that they want to view that are tens of thousands of dollars over what they can possibly qualify for in a home? I frequently tell buyers "Don't test drive Cadillac when you can afford a Volkswagen!" When you don't follow that advice, the homes you ultimately can afford end up looking cheap and tawdry in comparison.
We want our buyers to be excited during the home buying process and thrilled when they get the keys to their new homes on closing day. The best way to make sure you will be happy with your "Volkswagen" is to test drive homes you can comfortably afford. And don't feel bad that you had to compromise because unless you're Bill Gates or Donald Trump, you will compromise--but that should not diminish the joy you should have just because you purchased a home that was right for your budget!