That is a very difficult question to answer. You need to work with a professional in your area to determine what an appropriate price is, for a specific property. Taking just an average is not a good rule of thumb, as a house that is a STEAL at $180,000 and sells for $178,000 is compared to a house that was up at $180,000 and the sellers actually accepted $150,000. As you can see, working off of an average really doesn't reflect much.
Good luck! If you need to get connected with a proven Buyers Agent in your area, don't hesitate to email me and I will make the connection.
There was a question asked today in Ypsilanti that may be of importance to you about Buyer Agency.
Moral is, make sure you understand what you sign! Even if you need to take the contracts to your lawyer.
I would agree, an area professional should be able to provide List to Sale ratio of similar homes. As Derek mentions, this value will change for each home. If the home is properly priced to create interest from qualified buyer's you may actually end up offering more than asking price, but less than the value your appraiser determines for the home.
Keep in mind, only a Buyer's Agent can represent your best interests in a real estate transaction, so after pre-approval, that should be your next step. I suggest interviewing at least 3 agents and get in writing what services they do (and do not) provide.
There are several local agents available in a member search on Trulia.
I suggest you connect with a truly good area real estate agent, one who loves to work with buyers (if you like I can refer you to a realtor colleague of mine to assist you, just e-mail me and let me know that you would like me to do so... email@example.com) I am suggesting that because your real estate agent, your buyers agent who will exclusively work on your behalf, will be able to assist you in guiding you to where to start with your offer, based on how much you both think the home is worth, and that is different for each home, some need just some cosmetic work others need more extensive work, some are in great condition, move in and do nothing and sometimes the location or land deserves more, and when making an offer with your buyers agent, he or she will pull a market evaluation for you, and show you comparable properties that have recently sold and the agent will also suggest a certain negotiation strategy to get you to the price you feel most comfortable with for that specific home....
And sometimes the seller's situation will make it harder or easier to negotiate...
There is never a fixed % but a range which then depends on the condition, size and location of the home...
Let me know if you would like me to recommend a real estate agent in your area to you ....
Edith - firstname.lastname@example.org
Good Luck to you in finding the right home in Lansing MI