". . . the areas where an offer was made well ABOVE list price are the areas that are in a heap of mess now."
Actually, that statement isn't entirely accurate, and neither is the inverse statement (areas which didn't see the year-after-year, double-digit appreciation are doing fine). For example, the property values in most parts of Northern Virginia (NoVa) soared--appreciating annually by double digits [like elsewhere along the east coast]). Some property values in parts of NoVa (ie parts of Herndon, Sterling, Ashburn, Woodbridge, etc) have dropped 20%-25%; whereas, the property values other parts of NoVa (ie Burke, some parts of Fairfax and Vienna, etc) haven't dropped much. Plus, according the the reports I read, the CDOM is lower in NoVa (92) than in DFW (100)--albeit not by much. Additionally, the property values in Greater Cleveland (GC) appreciated similarly to how the property values did in DFW, but some parts of GC are getting slammed with foreclosures--albeit for different reasons. Nevertheless, the point is that one can't generalize; different things happen in different markets for various reasons.
JR, that too is part of the game. :) Sometimes we'll win, and sometimes we'll lose.
I don't make lowball offers, but I do purchase properties for my business at wholesale prices--just like other businesses acquire their supplies at wholesale prices. Besides, I don't go for the immaculate properties; I leave them for the retail buyers to pursue. I go for the ugly ones, that have been on the market for at least 120 days, that most retail buyers will avoid. I know that some people here will think I'm playing semantics (with lowball and wholesale offers), but I see distinct differences. IMHO, lowball offers are low offers that are made without any rhyme or reason; whereas, wholesale offers are low offers that are made incorporating lots of factors (CMA, inspections, appraisals, surveys, market trending, repair costs, etc).
Another key difference between the 2 is that the market often will support the wholesale offer price. For example, the listing agent (in my previous comment) rejected my offer--only to accept a similar offer later. Stated another way, the market validated my offer (independently via the due diligence of another buyer and via the eventual sale).
By the way, Plano, I agree with you partly in spirit. I don't believe in trying to juice a seller; rather, I believe in structuring deals where everyone can win. Although my offers can be aggressive, they're also fair, and logical; plus, you could independently validate the analysis of each offer by running the numbers yourself. Furthermore, I also structure all of my deals, so that I can sell the properties to other buyers slightly below market value (to give them some instant equity in the property). I know a lot of other investors who operate similarly.
No matter how wealthy any of us get, we can't take it with us.