First point: A house priced at $285,000 could be worth anything. Ask your agent for a CMA (competitive market analysis) of the property, along with his/her analysis of the house's value. (Unstated in your question, but a common thread, is: "If a house is priced at a certain figure, is there a certain percent below that that I should offer?" No, there is not.)
Second point: How much can you afford? If you can only afford $250,000, then that's the most you can offer, regardless of its value. (Well, there are some exceptions, but practically speaking don't offer more than you can afford.)
Third point: Does the house fit you and your lifestyle. It might be a great house for, say, an elderly couple that wants everything on one floor, only needs 2 bedrooms (one for themselves, one for visitors), and so on. But it might not work at all for a family with 4 children.
Hope that helps.
If you don't care if you get the house or not, then throw in a low-ball offer and see if you get any reaction. By doing so, however, you risk that some sellers may get insulted and may not consider any of your other offers as being serious (until you get very close to the asking price). Also, a low offer may cause the seller to consider a higher offer that is either on the table, was submitted previously or may come soon.
If you really want the house, have your Realtor prepare an analysis to help you determine if the property is at current market, above current market or quite possibly below current market (assuming that you have a Buyer Agent representing you. If you are dealing with the listing agent directly, remember it is that agent's job to take all of our money and give it to the seller, so pay attention to 'Agent Representation' if you have one). Depending on the results of that analysis, in addition to market trends and inventory levels, you will be better informed to make a decision as to what you should offer.
Note: This is a general answer to your question based upon a hypothetical situation and is not in any way intended to interfere in another Realtor's transaction.
If you want the house you should offer pretty close to what they are asking in this market, they have probably already dropped it a lot.(we have and will only accept close the the money or hold on to it) as far as offerring on our new house in another state, it was clear that this house too had come down a lot and was worth every penny, we did offer 10,000 less, but split the difference, and we feel the only reason that happenned is that seller had a death in her family and she wanted out, she was elderly and couldn't take care of the property. I am seeing a lot of questions regarding offerring lots less then what it is worth and I blame the media for this. House are not meant to be given away.
Good luck, if you want the house and the house is for you ,just be fair.
The last agent is correct and it truly depends. I would recommend determing the price per square foot, the appraised value analysis, and also check zillow and home gain. Once you determine the proper price point then you can determine what to offer. Best
Have a great day
Keller Williams Realty
1814 Route 70
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Unfortuneately in this market and sellers who bought in 2004-5-6, they are getting offers below their buying price, selling below their buying prices and its tough for them.
I'm sick of looking but know my home is out there.