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There’s no denying mortgage rates and home prices are higher now than they were last year and that’s impacting what you can afford. At the same time, there are still fewer homes available for sale than the norm. These are two of the biggest hurdles buyers are facing today. But there are ways to overcome these things and still make your dream of homeownership a reality.

As you set out to make a purchase this season, you’ll want to be strategic. This includes taking a close look at your wish list and considering what features you really need in your next home versus which ones are nice-to-have. This will help you avoid overextending your budget or limiting your pool of options too much because you’re searching for that perfect home.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, explains:

“The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, . . . Another key point is to avoid stretching your budget, as tempting as it may be . . .”

To help identify what you truly need, make a list of