Figuring out how much to offer on a home you'd like to make your own is never easy. A complicating factor is that although it appears that the housing market may be stabilizing, there is no guarantee that prices won't slip further.
With this in mind, don't buy for the short term. Don't buy betting on future appreciation. Buy a home that will work for you long term, at the best price you can negotiate, using financing you can afford.
To avoid paying too much, hook up with a real estate agent who will educate you about how much you'll have to pay for a home that works for you. The Internet is a great resource to help you learn about neighborhoods, current listings and past sale prices.