With that being said, however, there are some homes that are priced just below market value as a way of driving the price up with competing bids. If you're working with an agent you trust, you can ask him or her for guidance. If the agent is a disclosed dual agent -- representing both the buyer and the seller -- he/she is limited to the advice that he/she can give since he/she is not supposed to put one party at an advantage over the other.
In the event you're a buyer who is working with a buyer's broker/agent whose loyalty is solely to you, then use his/her expertise to help you value the house under consideration to formulate your offer.
Try to remember: sellers are people, too, and the home that they are selling can be chocked full of memories. Even if you low-ball there is a way not to insult the seller and still get to "yes."
If there's any further way I can be of help, please call or email me.
It will all boil down to how much you think the house is worth to you--Will you be staying there for years?--and how much the sellers are willing to let it go for. Don't get so caught up in the number that you lose sight of the reason you are buying.
RE/MAX Properties - Saddle River
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There's so much difference between homes on the market (location, condition of home/property, whether the kitchen and bathrooms have been renovated, how long the home has been listed, etc.
A good realtor can give you the average percentage of selling prices compared to listing prices for whatever town you're interested in, but remember that's just an average.
If you're looking at a home that has been on the market for a long time, ask your realtor to get you a history of what the initial listing price was, when it was reduced and by how much, etc.; sometimes a seller isn't very motivated or doesn't have a realistic idea of what the market feels his home is worth.
On the other hand, when a home is listed that is a really good value for the money, is savvy buyer might snap it up at the listing price, and we've even started to see bidding wars again. To become a savvy buyer you really have to know the LOCAL real estate market. Look at as many homes as you can in your town that meet your qualifications. Ask a realtor to give you a list of what homes he/she feels are really good values (some realtors call these "shiny pennies"). If the realtor doesn't thoroughly know the LOCAL market, find someone else whom you can trust.