Logan/Humboldt area is teeming with multi-units and there is a good rental market there. However, as an investor you should know that even in Logan/Humboldt (which is still up and coming), where prices tend to be a little more depressed due to still-higher than average crime pockets (but are appreciating), it is very difficult to attain positive cash flow with an investment. What you do get with multi-units in most cases is a faster build of equity, so sometimes, depending on your financial situation, a little negative cash flow can quickly turn around into an profit-producing property.
Of course, it all depends on your financing and your individual situation. It's best to meet with a tax/financial adviser to evaluate whether or not a) you can take the negative hit; b) it would be financially beneficial for you in the long-run.
Logan/Humboldt area is still many years away from gentrification, but because it's still an area where there are many rentals, it could be beneficial for you as a investor.
As for percentage difference from list to sale, in Humbolt/Logan area, the average list v. sale price percentage over the last 3 months for multi-family (2-4 units -- don't know if you're looking for larger than that) has been about 95% (with very few below that, and a few actually closer to or even over ask), and the average market time about 100 days.
But, it is important to note that the average list v. sale price percentage should not be the sole meter used to formulate a fair purchase price. Each case should be considered individually, with true comps sold within the last 3 months used as part of the process.
When sellers are firmly unrealistic, we walk away from the listing. If a seller seems reasonable to listen to market feedback and their desired price is not grossly over the top, we will try to work with them. We try to give them feedback immediately from broker open about comments made on pricing. We montior web hits and provide comparison data to the volume of hits generated by other properties.
We will walk from a grossly overpriced lisitng; not all Realtors will.
We provide firm and honest feedback to sellers who are realistic about hearing the market speak.
The result is that some prorperties on the market are overpriced and some are not. For this reason, there is no standard list to offer price ratio that is correct. The correct offer is the price and terms that you are willing to pay after due consideration of the comps and activity of the local market. A local Realtor who is full time, knows the inventory and will work hard for you is your best ally.
You need to have a tight handle on actual costs in your area before you get started looking for rehabs, if that is what you are looking for....to get an idea, visit this page on my website, http://www.iansellsnola.com/gpage8.html.
Note, this is for the New Orleans area, but you ought to have a similar set of numbers on paper / in your head when you are evaluating properties.
You said, "...but in my initial search I find many properties..." Are you searching for income producing property without a Realtor? Or is it you and your Realtor are looking?
Mr. Gary Keller, Chairman of Keller Williams, will not buy investment Real Property without a local (as to the location of the property) Realtor. Maybe good food for thought.
Also, look at this web site for detailed information: http://www.millionairesystems.com/pages/