Anyone who has ever worked with me as a buyer knows that I'm all about saving money for my buyer clients. Having a tough negotiator on your side when you're buying a property works in most markets, but this current market is a bit of a departure from a normal market.
I advise my buyers to "put their best foot forward" when placing an offer on a property that already has multiple offers. Naturally, you'll want to review the sales stats in the neighborhood with your agent before writing the offer. If the sales support a higher offer or your buyer really wants the home, start the offer at the list price and then add an escalation clause to "sweeten the pot" for the seller. Yes, sellers like quick settlements (most of the time) and other favorable terms, but one thing seems to hold true over and over again- a seller is always looking at the bottom line.
Using an escalation clause lets the seller know that you're willing to go higher than your original offer price, but even that doesn't work all of the time. I spoke to an agent the other day who received 35 offers on her listing. Her seller directed her to set aside all of the offers that had an escalation clause and look at the offers that didn't. They chose a winning bid from those remainder offers because they felt that those buyers "put their best foot forward" in the first place!
You should discuss your options for writing an offer in this market with your agent and decide which one is best for you.