My experience in working with first time buyers in this new market is that they tend to want to submit low ball offers. My recommendation to them is to get a comparible market analysis and to see if the subject property is within 3% + or - of the market value. If this is the case then the property is priced well. My next task is to lead them through a check list to help them evaluate the property. 1) How do they feel when they enter the property considering the floor plan, ceiling hights, room measurements, layout of the kitchen, exterior view, etc. 2) How do you like the home from the street? 3) Quick visual inspection of the exterior structure of the homeincluding roof, brick, concrete ect. 4) Immediate properties adjacent to the subject property. 5) Age of the heat and air system, attic or floor duct work. If all 5 areas are acceptable then the next step is to make an offer close to the list price. You may ask for the seller to pay closing costs. Experience of the listing agent is very important in a cross sale. If an agent is experienced in pricing and conditioning the seller then the listing agent has performed his/her job well.
It has been my expereince that when buyers make "lowball" offers it falls into following catagories.
1) Do not want to listen to Selling agent's recommendations. In most cases they are relying upon the uninformed advice of family and friends (most parents or their advisors has not bought or sold any property in the last 20 years).
2) Does not comprehend the CMA. (You may have to spend more time at the computer before showing to try to help them understand the property values in that area and price range.)
3) They want to get a good deal (steal) because they believe and have been told by the media that it is a buyer's market. They tend to approach their real estate purchase as they would a car purchase.
4) They do not care about any details other than how much the seller will come down.
You should spend a minumum of an hour with prospective buyers in the office prior to taking them out to show properties. You have to show them how you are finding properties and how they compare and are priced. Give them a copy of a blank contract, good faith estimate for the price range they are looking in. Have the buyers officially qualified by a lender.