If you are seriously interested in purchasing a particular home and you want to make an offer, your agent can assist you in making a bid that should elicit a counter offer.
While you are entitled to test the seller with a low bid, it is typically very unproductive to do so. The seller may not take you seriously later if you start your bidding in this manner.
Offer a reasonable amount of money through the negotiating process with terms that will help you achieve your goal. Be sure you have your pre-approval for a mortgage completed and ready to give to the seller along with your offer. Your agent should be able to guide you through the negotiation to an accepted offer that is pleasing to both you and the seller. The exception to this is when there is multiple bidding on the same property. If this occurs, you may be forced to a higher than anticipated selling price. Negotiation is a prime area where an agent uses his/her expertise and good judgment, to best help you achieve an acceptable offer. This is another prime reason for working with an experienced agent.
Once a seller accepts your offer, do not assume that you have the sale completed. Until contracts are signed by both sides, the seller is quite free to entertain other offers and typically does.
It is advisable to proceed with haste by having the inspection completed as soon as possible. Your agent can provide you with the names of several reputable, licensed engineers inspectors.
Also, during negotiations, the details of the sale should be agreed upon inclusions, exclusions, the closing date, etc.
Please be aware that the stated closing date, by law, allows for an extra 30 day grace period for both buyers and sellers.
Once the contracts have been signed by both parties the deal is often done. The exception is if the contracts are conditional upon the buyer procuring a mortgage.