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And the mortgage rate is “only one part of the (home-buying) transaction,” Gumbinger said.

For most people, the decision to buy or sell is less influenced by the financial markets, and much more influenced by what’s happening in their lives: a new job, marriage, divorce, or the birth — or departure — of children, said Greg McBride, an analyst with Bankrate.com.

And even if rates start to rise, they are likely to remain affordable, by historic standards.

“Mortgage rates are not, and won’t be for some time, an impediment to well-qualified borrowers,” McBride said.

“If the difference between a 4.5 percent and 5 percent rate on your mortgage is the difference between being able to afford a home or not, you’re stretching yourself too far.”

Given the changing mortgage landscape, here are five things borrowers can do to get the best deal:

Do Your Homework: The first step is to check your credit report with the three credit reporting agencies.

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