5 factors to weigh before writing purchase offer

How to get a good deal on a house

Interest rates are bouncing around record lows. Home prices are down in most areas. Many buyers who have been waiting for a good time to buy want to move forward. But there is still uncertainty in the housing market.

Nationally, the housing market appears to be stabilizing, although home prices were down 2.5 percent in 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. The recovery is expected to be rocky and could take years. Prices might decline before they reach a plateau. This should be factored into your decision to buy.