Have you heard of NAEBA (National Association of Exclusive Buyer's Agent). I am a member and would highly recommend that as a buyer you choose an Exclusive Buyer's Agent. I would love to meet with you for a free home buying consultation and give you the opportunity to interview me and see if you think we would enjoy working together. We would discuss agency relationships, how a broker gets compensated, buyer advocacy, fiduciary duties to the buyer, and most importantly how it is my passion to save my buyers money in their home purchase.
Feel free to call me if you have any questions.
Melissa Addis, ABR
Exclusive Buyer's Agent
Buyer's Choice Realty
as for negotiating a discount it really has to be evaluated property by property. If you want an analysis for a specific property we can help.
As far as finding all your criteria, yes more will come on the market in the near future. If you go "under contact by the end of April, you should be able to close by the end of June.
RE/MAX Premiere Associates
Many of the questions that you have are quite common in our changing real estate industry.
It is wise to connect with a Realtor that has experience in sales as well as the community you are looking.
That Realtor will be able to determine a reasonable offer, based on amount of time on market, it's actual value (determined by a market analysis) etc.
Over the next few weeks there will be many properties coming on the market.
There are many questions that I would have for a potential buyer client that would help determine the best stradegy for approaching the process and then specific places.
If you need more information, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to send you in the right direction.
I think the other professionals here have given you some pretty good answers relative to how to approach an offer with a seller. Keep in mind that real estate whether you're a buyer or seller can often be an irrational and emotional experience on either side and the simple answer is: it really depends on the seller and how good of a listing agent he has. If the listing agent has been partially responsible for an unrealistic price then they'll be defensive about protecting that opinion. If on the other hand they're pragmatic and have a lot of experience they can guide their seller through a reasonable negotiation rather than any hurt feelings.
Specific to your second question, I sell in downtown Boston, primarily the South End and Back Bay and I can tell you that as of this week (March 1st) the two-bedroom 600-700K range (specifically in the South End) is a very active one with a number of properties selling quickly. The only honest advice I can give you about your criteria is perhaps being open to less than 1000 square feet if those are the neighborhoods you're considering. I've had many clients over the years who establish 1000 sf as a baseline for a two bedroom when in reality a) the actual footprint of most South End townhouses ranges from 550-900 square feet so you'd have to find a duplex (2-floor) unit to meet your minimum and b) if an apartment is well-designed with no wasted spaces, often 800 sf feels as big as 1000 sf. Most important, and unfortunately most realistically, the vast majority of 2-bedrooms in the South End with the criteria you outlined would be closer to 700K and even higher in the Back Bay (the same holds true for the Waterfront). So perhaps, being open to 850 sf, pet-friendly and some outside space would offer you a wider range of choices in the South End specifically.
There a few things to consider when answering how low of an offer should be presented.
When working with a Realtor, we look at how long it has been on the market, when the seller bought it, what has sold in the area... etc
I do suggest that you get very familiar with the current inventory. Then when listings come on, and there will be many, you will feel confident that what you are buying the perfect place.
Let me know if I can be of help.
Where are you moving from? Do you need parking? Do you have children?