First, you want to know if the home is priced above, at or below market value. You'll need to see all the comps for the last year for the homes that SOLD in that neighborhood and within about 5 miles that are similar (sq. footage, amenities, lot size, etc.). With the current market, listing agents are refusing to allow Sellers to overprice their homes. 90% of the homes currently on the market are priced where they should be. Secondly, determine what your closing costs are going to be and what you'll need to put down. Lender requirements change week to week these days. Sellers are more likely to help you with your closing costs if you don't "lowball" them with the sales price. If your agent did their homework and knows the home you want is priced correctly...offering less than asking price and asking for closing help is a one way road to a rejected offer. The old school method of offering a certain % under the list price is gone.
Make your agent pull the Sold Comps and all the Active Listings to see where your dream house falls out...then you can make a well informed offer and have it accepted. No matter what the market conditions are, people still have to buy and sell homes and the best homes (price, location, schools, etc.) SELL regardless.