In the recession buyers controlled the market. They could offer anything they wanted and sellers had to consider every offer. That has changed. Realtors are finding that buyers who do not move fast and do not write offers close to the list price are losing out on good deals. There are offers pending on many of the houses that Realtors are trying to show buyers and many of them are going for close to list price and above. In the last 3 months the average difference between list price and sale price is about 3%. That figure will drop even more as the market continues to heat up.
Studies have shown that when a buyer writes a low-ball offer and they proceed with the negotiations to a sale they will end up paying more. Why? Because they make the seller mad. In today's market sellers can be obstinate in their negotiations because they know the market is hot. There is a system that has been shown to work when making an offer. First, find out whether the house is worth it. That's my job. Some homes are worth what the seller is asking and some aren't. Make your offer based on value that can be illustrated not price. Next try and figure out where the seller's bottom line might be by either guessing or asking. The seller or their Realtor do not have to say but they might. Then come in just below that bottom line and start your negotiations there. Typically picking an arbitrary low-ball number simply irritates the seller to either not respond at all or respond much higher than they would if a reasonable offer was made.