I know a lot of people feel that working with the listing agent is the best way to get a good deal. By using the listing agent, buyers feel the agent with get double commission and therefore will work hard to get their low ball offer accepted. This may not necessarily be true. The listing agent has a contract with the current owner to represent them in the sale of their property. The listing agent has convinced the seller to list with them because they represented that they can sell their property for the highest value in the shortest time. It is difficult for the agent to turn around and present an offer much lower than they told the owners they could get for their home. The owner thinks "was he wrong when I gave him the listing or is he wrong now". This puts the listing agent in a difficult situation. Offers need to be within the price range the listing agent told the home owner for the listing agent to appear competent.
This listing agent/seller relationship is slightly different for REO properties and certain (HAFA) short sales where the banks determine the listing price. The listing agent has more flexibility in presenting these offers. That said, many banks do not want agents representing both sides.
In my opinion, the best way to get a deal is to first, get your own agent, second, do a thorough analysis of the comparable sales, third, determine the seller’s motivation and finally, prepare a complete well written offer.
I hope this information is helpful in understanding what is needed to successfully negotiate a good deal. To search properties for sale like an agent, visit my web site at ocnorth.com.