BJ, are you saying that you think you can make a bid of, say 30% off the listed price of a home that is priced CORRECTLY and have that result in an acccepted offer of 80% of if the list price? Perhaps we are not understanding each other.
You seem to be at the beginning of your search. I would try to develop a relationship with a buyer's agent in the area you want to move to. A buyer's agent will be allowed to share information such as the price the owner bought the house at, how much they owe, and their motivation. They can also give you numbers for closed sales in the area. If, for example, there are 50 almost identical homes in a subdivision and 5 sold recently for 400,000, and the house you are interested in is 500,000, you know where to make your offer. If you find out that 500,000 homeowner OWES 480,000, you have a pretty good idea what he's going to do with a 375,000 offer: not counter it. If your agent finds out further that he is a policeman or teacher in the same town and has no plans to transfer, you have a pretty good idea of his motivation.
If, in the same are, where 5 homes recently sold for 400,000, you find one listed at 365,000, it's pretty safe to say that it's priced pretty close to what it should sell for, and the owner is motivated, don'tyou think? If the market is still going down, you can wait and see where it goes, but if you want to buy now, it's probably going to sell for close to list price.
Does that make sense?