Matt made some very good points, and I would just like to add a few side notes.
The list price, or asking price, is what the seller would like to get for their property. It doesn't mean that is what they will actually receive. The tax appraisal value, will not be the best indicator of market value. What has recently sold in the neighborhood would be your best indicator of market value.
Like Matt said, there are many variables to consider in making sure you get the best deal. Joel take some time to talk one-on-one with an agent (preferably not the agent representing the seller). Choose to be represented, it doesn't cost you anything, but it can save you from making some expensive mistakes.
Not only will you have a greater chance at getting the property at the best possible price, but you will walk away an educated buyer (in my opinion...priceless).
All the best,
Realtor / Relocation Specialist