Most buyers I have deal with have chosen the property they wanted for emotional reasons, once they were comfortable with the market data I supported for them as their Buyer's Agent. A proven professional will always, with passion, strut their stuff and show you the black and white of it all. Loving the home that you will choose to live in for atleast the next 6 to 10 years cannot and should not be measured in a few dollars here and there. It should be supported by facts that it is a good enough deal for your consideration!
Asking price is not nessicarily determined by the market, but rather what the seller feels they *should* get for the property, or what they want to get out of it.
You have to first do a bit of market research, and figure out if the asking price is even realistic.
The asking price may be way high, in which case a bigger percentage off the asking price is more then reasonable. THe price might also be low - in which case sticking closer to the list price is going to be a better option.
You need to hire an expert that you are very comfortable withand is knowedgeable. They should determine fair market value, do their best to get any and all information they can about the seller and the seller's motivation and consult with you to determine how it fits your needs. ( you own a home for both financial gain and personal enjoyment. If you are going to stay in the home until your taken out in a ine box then financial gain is less important than if you are trying to use the property to make enough money to leverage yur dream home in the future) After assessing all of that information, you with the professional you hired strategize where you want to end up and the best way to get there.
Keep in mind, if you come in too low initially, you will really insult the homeowner, and will not get a counter offer. The seller is not your enemy. Do you want that house or "a deal'? If the homeowner feels they are being taken advantage of, they will not be as cooperative when it comes to future appointments for engineers, termite inspectors, appraisers, etc., and credits at the closing table.
Then you can always offer whatever you want and see if you can get a counter offer.
You will find a lot of answers to other questions, and validation of my advice that you get a buyer's agent to represent you at the HUD Web site--click the link below: