In the case of the real estate example, I bought my last house with a broker in 2005 that saw our finances and decided we needed a bigger house x2. We hesitated, but we were eventually convinced by our broker in spite of our original instructions.
Given what seems to be the typical business dealing, I suspect I am a bit of an odd duck. My approach with nearly every purchase and most certainly the big purchases (houses, cars, boats, etc...) is to decide what I need, what I want, and what I can afford. I then research to see how all of this comes together. Yes, this research always takes time but I would rather invest the time now rather than wasted money or broken hopes/dreams later.
I think we (US citizens, at least) have completely lost the ability to differentiate between needs and wants. I watch people house hunting on HGTV and listen to them say some of the craziest things - the two of us need 5000 sq. ft., need four bathrooms, need a pool, need a six burner stove, etc... Really??
I would encourage you to list your needs, list your wants, and decide on your finances. With some time on the Internet, you can do a reasonable job determining how well they all align. Don't get sucked into the marketing hype - "it's only $5k over your budget", "you really need a watermaker", "you need a boat that is less than 3 years old", or whatever. Stick to your lists/budget. Hmmm... now that I think of it, I believe this is described as fact-based versus emotional buying.
Another little tidbit that I always avoid - do not let yourself get drawn into looking at that which is not possible. Ya, it may be fun to look at the million dollar home, the 100' yacht, the high-end car, etc... but all it seems to accomplish is further blurring the line between need/want and makes us unsatisfied with the things that are possible.
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