Just to sum up, picking the best of what everyone else has said with a couple of other ideas:
1. What you believe the home is worth and what you offer is up to you to decide. Your agent can give you data, help you makes sense of that data, and make recommendations, but it's your signature on the bottom line and your money making the payments.
2. Your buyer's agent can do the best job for you when you share everything with him or her. Just like you don't want your trial lawyer to find out a pertinent fact you had kept from him or her in the middle of your trial, you want to make sure your agent knows everything you know. This includes your wants, needs, and motivations, but it also includes all pertinent information. I would have assumed you would have shared with your agent what the seller's agent said before you sat down to discuss the particulars of your offer.
3. It's possible the seller's agent breached their fiduciary duties to their client, but it's not absolutely certain. We would have to know more facts.
4. Every transaction and every negotiation is different. Even if the property is the same and the buyer and seller are the same, the negotiations could be very different a month later, a week later, or a day later. Circumstances and motivations change over time, sometimes quite suddenly. It's impossible for any of us to make too many judgments or make an informed recommendation with the information at hand.
5. You have your bundle of interests and the seller has his/her bundle of interests. Each of you may have professional representation to help you get the best possible deal. But the situation may simply not warrant both of you getting a "win-win" solution.
I disagree with the popular notion among many real estate professionals that negotiations are all about finding win-win scenarios. It makes sense that many---maybe even most---negotiations create a win-win for both parties. But negotiations are not primarily about making people feel good or making sure everyone gets some of what they want. In the world of residential real estate, negotiations are about bringing about a meeting of the minds for two parties with diametrically opposed interests regarding many details of the transaction, such as the price.
I find that very often there are ways to give a seller what s/he wants without the buyer giving up anything that matters to them. But the majority of time, one side or the other will have to give up something until it hurts---really hurts. It's just the nature of the beast.
I can tell you that in the extreme sellers' market from 2000--2004, sellers and their agents often became arrogant and demanded things that made the terms of sale extremely one-sided. Today you might find it hard to believe some of the hoops buyers were asked to jump through in that market. It was up to the individual buyer to decide if they wanted to agree to those onerous terms or pursue another property.
But just as I didn't get upset with sellers in that era for pushing the limits of what buyers would accept (okay, maybe I did, on occasion), I do not blame buyers today for asking for the moon and stars in order to get the most favorable terms possible. I do not believe that our job as real estate agents is to ask our clients to give up any more than the minimum necessary. Very often that means finding those win-win situations in order to get the things that matter most to your client.
But you can be certain that if the tables were turned---that is, if you were the seller of this property and the seller were your buyer---the other party would at least explore getting everything they wanted in the deal.
And that's as it should be. Everybody states what they want and it's up to each party to decide what is acceptable to them. No one is forced to accept any term against their will. It isn't necessary to be mean about it, and no one should blame the other party for asking for what they want.
One irony here is that I think most people who know me personally and professionally think of me as a nice guy, respectful and mild mannered. But I see no reason to begin every negotiation looking for a way to appease the other side. When it's in your client's interests, absolutely, yes, look for those win-wins. Just don't assume it's going to be necessary.
I think I'll post a question about this to see what people say.
Bill Kuhlman, CRS, GRI, ABR, CBR, ASR
2007â€“2008 President, Board of Directors for
The Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents
2008 Client Stats, Through October 31:
Percentage of Current List Price Received 98.3%
Percentage of Original List Price Received 98.3%
Avg. Buyer Down Payment 47.6%
Avg. Days on Market before Offer Accepted 4.33 days
Percentage of Current List Price Paid 95.7%
Percentage of Original List Price Paid 85.4%