Lets talk first about factor analysis since most of the discussion above is about regression. Most of my experience is with software like SAS, Minitab, or SPSS, that solves the factor analysis equations, so I have limited experience in solving these directly. That said, that the most common implementations do not use linear regression to solve the equations. According to this , the most common methods used are principal component analysis and principal factor analysis. In a text on Applied Multivariate Analysis (Dallas Johnson), no less that seven methods are documented each with their own pros and cons. I would strongly recommend finding an implementation that gives you factor scores rather than programming a solution from scratch.