Face it -- when working within a budget, sometimes you have to make some compromises. Knowing what you really need can help narrow your home options and also make decisions easier when it comes to making an offer.
Create a checklist of your needs and wants. Don't forget to include things that aren't actually a part of the house, but important, such as the neighborhood, commute, school system and even proximity to entertainment [source: The Better Business Bureau with Alice LaPlante].
Once you've got your prioritized list, consider taking it with you when you go to look at houses, and write down notes about each house. After seeing four different houses in one Sunday, these lists can help you to remember what you've seen and liked -- or not liked.