However if the home is being sold as a traditional sale without any lender involved, an experienced buyers agent should be able to probe the listing agent for information and clues about what the seller's motivation is behind wanting to sell. This information will help you determine how quickly the need to sell. If their situation wont allow them to hold out for the best offer, then you should be able to negotiate a lower price. Obviously, the more urgent the need to sell, the lower in price they are likely to go.
It all depends on the property. Right now in the 89436 area, there are alot of short sales. Many agents will under price the listing in order to get an offer right away. In this situation, the seller just wants out. Since they are underwater anyway, they accept most any semi-reasonable offer. Their lien holder has the final say and will decide what they will agree to.
What you need to do is get a good agent to run comparibles (CMA). Besides looking at the solds for the last 3 months, look at the active listings and how long they have been on the market. They are the competition to the house you are looking at. Is it priced high, low or just about right? Are they short sales, bank owned or regular sales. There are to many variables to make a blanket statement that offers should start a XX% below asking.
Hope this helps!
But always as a local agent as there are there to help you.
There is no percentage. If you're not working with a Realtor, hire one - in most cases this won't cost you anything as the seller pays the commission of both the listing agent and the selling agent/buyer's agent. Once you have a Realtor (if you don't already), have them do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on any property you wish to submit an offer on. Have them use SOLD comps within a 1 mile radius of the property (the closer, the better) that have SOLD within the last 3 months. This will give you current market value and that is what you should base your offer on - not on list price.
Take my advice and call a few buyer agents who work in your area. In order to advise you on what to offer, you need a Professional to take a look at the property in questions and to run some diagnostics for you. Each property is different, the motivation of the seller also varies with each situation.There is no set percentage and some homes will also sell for the asking price.