Must Haves - if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn't even be considered. (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
Should Haves - if the property hits all of the must haves and some of the should haves, it stays in contention, but does not need to have all of these features.
Absolute Wish List - if we find a property in our budget that has all of the must haves, most of the should haves, and ANY of these, it's the winner!
Having this list flushed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.