As for the "lowest" you "should" go when putting in an offer, the best answer is: it depends.....on a NUMBER of different factors, including, among others: what comparable homes in the area have sold for and how much you want the house (after having walked through it)! Your Realtor should be able to guide you through this critical step in the homebuying process. (As a side note, before making an offer, you should be pre-qualified for a mortgage so that the Seller can see that you can afford the house. I work with 3 TERRIFIC mortgage reps....if you'd like their names and contact information, you can call me direct at (610) 324-5240) and I'd be happy to provide this information.)
If you haven't yet hired a Buyer's Agent to represent you, I would HIGHLY recommend that you do so. It will cost you nothing . . . yet will likely save you time and MONEY! An experienced Realtor cannot only provide invaluable advice, but also implement negotiation strategies that will increase the chance that YOUR offer will be accepted.
If you'd like to chat more, feel free to call, text or email me. Good luck and blessings to you!!:)
Judy May, Esquire, REALTOR
"A Refreshingly Different Real Estate Experience"
CENTURY 21 Alliance
2828 Audubon Village Drive
Audubon PA 19403
O: 610.666.0202 x. 226
C: 610.324.5240 (preferred)
As for what offer to put in, well...
You could put in any offer you wish to put in and see what happens. This could fire back at you because if you put one in too low, they may send it back saying "no" and not do any further business with you if you try to put in another offer.
You could also put in an offer according to what the agent says that the market is buying other similar homes for in the area (ensuring to adjust it according to how updated the home is). This will ensure that the offer is at the very least, counter offered IF there aren't any other offers coming in at the time. This is the usual way.
You also need to make the offer based on whether or not you would be upset by not getting the offer ok'd. The buying/selling process can be very emotional. And this is one of the many reasons why people need to work with an agent. Emotions can get in the way and can be used against the parties.
Hope that helps,
Terrence Charest, e-Pro