By doing a CMA, you can find out the market value of the home
By doing a report on what listed and sold in the area you're interested in, you'll also see the pricing strategy(ies) employed by the seller(s).
Finally, in this seller's market, there are ways to make your offer shine. Cash offers don't always win, What type of listing is it? If it's a short sale, there are terms and conditions that are important to the seller and seller's short sale lender.
Think of how offers are rejected even when they are higher than list price.
Hope this helps.
The initial offer depends on a how many offers are being presented. The agent needs to be in conversation with the listing agent in order to inform you the buyer as to the best price to offer in each situation.
I have been very successful in having offers accepted in a multiple offer situation. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are considering buying property in the Oakland/Bay Area, and I can be of any help, I can be reached at Fran.Donhue@BHGhome.com.