Another major rule should be "Just because one is approved for $250,000 does not mean they must spend that much money on their home."
Now with that said, let me say I also encourage buyers (especially first time/out of town) to initially look at the bottom, middle and top of their price range (mortgage approval limit).
This bracketing technique be used initially is easily and quickly done by selecting a listing just below as well as above the target price. [Sounds a lot like the Goldilocks and the Three Bears technique.]
Seeing the differences in these properties will serve as a reference for the decision process. Buyers may ultimately decide to adjust their budget and save time along the way.
The home buying process can be real exciting, especially for first time home buyers, and and buyers can easily lose focus. [Hint: Your buyer's agent should help you stay focused.]