When you plan on purchasing a home using mortgage money it doesn't matter what type of mortgage you are applying for (FHA, VA, Conventional) - your mortgage lender is going to order an appraisal of the homes value. They will want to make sure that the amount of money you are asking to borrow is not more than the home is worth in todays market.
Below are a couple of things that I do as a buyers agent to help make sure that my buyer clients are not wasting their time and money on a home prior to writing the offer:
Investigate the last 90 days of sold homes within a 1 mile radius, in the same school district and of similar construction & features. (Do not consider sales data greater than 90 days unless you have fewer than 3 comparable sold homes in that initial look back period.)
Include the distressed sales in the search of sold homes. (They are the norm now, unfortunately, and you can bet that the appraisors are going to use this data in their reports.)
Deduct sellers concessions that were paid by the seller of the sold homes to the buyers from the "sold" prices. This deduction will reflect the market value of the home that sold more accurately.
Ask your agent to prepare an analysis using this type of data to present to the seller and their agent when your offer is presented. It is much easier for the seller to understand how you came to the price of your offer when they have hard raw data in front of them. It then becomes more of a business decision to them, and less of a personal affront if your offer is much lower than their asking price.
If your offer is a sound one, based upon recent data and your own personal view of the homes value, and it is not accepted by the seller don't be shy about walking away and finding another home. A buyers agent who is working for you would much rather have you walk away then to spend emotional energy and financial resources to continue the process of purchasing a home without much of a chance of it passing the lenders appraisal guidelines.