As a real estate professional watching the Suze Orman show the other night, I was disturbed to hear Suze encouraging buyers to put in low-ball offers due to the market. Now, I usually agree with most of what Suze has to say, but real estate is local and she often seems to forget that.
As a Boston real estate agent living everyday on the front lines of Boston's real estate market, my perspective is somewhat different. First off, the Boston market has seen a slowdown, but even though fewer properties are selling, the median price continues to rise in Boston's prime neighborhoods. Sellers also understand that if they really want to sell, they will need to price their home competitively and make sure it "shows" well. By offering a low-ball of 10-20 percent on a correctly priced home, the buyer is doing a disservice to his or herself and is most likely to get a flat "NO". The buyer will need to either wait a good three months or come back with a higher price...a negative negotiating position. You don't want to move twice while the other party hasn't budged; it shows your cards.
I have seen buyer after buyer lose properties this way in the past few months. I have seen buyers shocked as their bid is not only rejected, but another competing bid is accepted within days. In order to understand if a low-ball offer is a good idea, speak with your buyer's agent. If he or she is an Accredited Buyer's Representative, the agent should be able to tell you if the home is competitively priced for the value, or if it is a good idea to low-ball.