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Dan Barnabic, Post Graduate Engineering (Naval Academy Rijeka). The Condo Bible for Canadians (2013). p. 25.

Notwithstanding market conditions, always start with a low offer — say, 75% of the asking price. Don't feel embarrassed or intimidated by your real-estate broker. If the broker doesn't want to present your offer, find another one who will. [...]

p. 26

  You may think an offer that's so far below the listing price won't stand a chance of succeeding. Not true.

As in so much of life, you will eventually succeed if you are persistent. Even during healthy market conditions, there are unit owners experiencing financial difficulty, looking for a way out. You owe it to yourself to obtain the best possible price for the unit you're shopping for.

How can I offer a low price without upsetting the vendor? It feels tactless to (ask your realtor to) do this with no explanation or soothing words.

  • The way you've worded this sounds like there may be cultural concerns. Are you attempting to buy a condo in Canada? Are you from Canada or somewhere else originally? – BobbyScon Aug 4 '18 at 4:11
  • In North America, you normally price your house higher than you expect to receive, with the expectation that there will be a round of bargaining. 75% of the market value of other homes recently sold in the area is a good starting point. In the case of a short sale or bank owned properties, you can often get much better deals if you're willing to put in some work.. – pojo-guy Aug 4 '18 at 13:42
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    @pojo-guy That's true in some areas, but not others, in my market for the last 6+ years houses are listed close to market or even below to draw more offers, and very commonly sell for significantly over asking. – Hart CO Aug 4 '18 at 17:13
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It’s business, not personal. You work hard for your money and owe it to yourself to get the best deal you can. (As a US located licensed Realtor) I’ll tell you that an agent is required to take any written offers to the seller. If you are working with your own agent, do not let him/her tell you your offer is too low, insist they pass it to the seller. There are 100 reasons a seller would accept a low offer. Any need for a sale where speed is more important than the final price. A pending purchase the seller is at risk of losing, an ugly divorce where both parties just want out, a couple needing assisted living facilities.

As long as you have time on your side and are willing to walk away from any house, you will eventually find a seller willing to sell at your offer price. Make sure you know the area and educate yourself on what houses are really worth in that area. There’s no discount that would make me want to live in a bad area. (Eg I’d personally avoid being within listening distance of an active railroad. Or 1000 meters of high power lines)

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Who says they'll be offended? In fact, it's highly likely that they've priced it above market price in expectation that the would-be buyer is going to offer a lower price.

NOTE: they may laugh and say "You must be kidding. Of course not!!!" but they won't be offended. There's nothing personal here, just business.

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    It's fairly common in hot Canadian markets to list below market in order to set up a bidding war. Of course if any given market is hot or not at any given time varies. – Spehro Pefhany Aug 4 '18 at 12:07
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How much you offer depends on the area where the house is located. In some places people may advertise houses for 20% more than they expected to get, and if you offer 25% less they may accept it. In other areas, they may advertise the expected price and expect that as an offer.

Yes, a low offer may be taken as a bad joke or an insult. In that case, a later higher offer from you may be rejected on principle. On the other hand, this is about money. So whether the seller feels angry or insulted is none of your concern.

That said, where I live the chances of success offering 25% below the advertised price are exactly zero. The estate agent is legally obligated to pass your offer on, but will likely tell his client "if you consider that offer, then I'll buy it myself".

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  • “Where I live” - indeed, real estate is all local. OP will learn soon enough if the strategy can be successful. Although, 5 rejections shouldn’t discourage him, as #6 might accept a low offer. OPs agent should help in this regard, knowing the details I hinted at that might make a lower offer acceptable. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 4 '18 at 22:22

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