With fewer homes to choose from these days, and more folks going after those homes, snagging a property within your budget isn't as likely.

A survey of recent homebuyers, by Owners.com, found that one-third went beyond their budget by $16,510 on average.

The youngest cohort surveyed — those aged 18 to 36 — spent more than $25,000 beyond their budget, on average, when purchasing their current home.

"We're seeing a ton of bidding wars. Inventory levels are pretty much at record lows," said Robert Dekanski, a Realtor and team leader with RE/MAX 1st Advantage.

Dekanski said the bidding-war process, which many times is emotionally fueled, can easily cause a prospective buyer to make an offer beyond what they had originally planned to spend on a home.

"We're in an environment where it's not the homebuyer versus the seller negotiating," Dekanski said. "It's the buyer versus every other buyer negotiating."

A budget-busting price, however, doesn't have to be a deal breaker. For every additional $5,000 borrowed to purchase a home, about $25 is added to each monthly mortgage payment.

According to broker/owner Randi Dickman with eXp Realty, the Monmouth and Ocean County area is "desperate for inventory."

"If spring ever gets here, then people will probably put their houses on the market," Dickman said.

One of her clients recently bid $20,000 over list price and still lost out on the home.

It's a frustrating pattern for both buyers and agents, Dickman said. Buyers now essentially have to make an initial offer at full price and go from there.

"The good news for the buyer is the market is still appreciating, and whatever you buy now will appreciate over the next five years," Dickman added.