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Sure, it's fun to check out luscious magazine spreads, but don't base your housing dreams on someone else's. If what you can swing is a $1,500 monthly mortgage, there's no point in setting your sights—for now, anyway—on the $5 million Malibu beachfront property or the 10,000-square-foot Central Park penthouse.

Create a dream you can achieve, the next step that works for you. If you're renting a small studio, dream about a condo of your own. If your family has grown and your house hasn't, dream about a place with one more bedroom and a backyard big enough for the jungle gym your kids want.
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