Most things you buy have a price tag on it and you either pay that price or you don’t buy the item. Boston real estate is different. Real Estate has what is called an asking price or listing price. This is the price that the homeowner wants to sell his/her condo or townhouse. (a.k.a wishful thinking)
Boston condos buyers may see many properties in their home search before they find the one that gives them that comfort feeling and so they develop a sense of what a condo is worth which might be different than what a seller is asking. That sense of what a property is worth is based on a lot of things, the buyers budget, how much they like a condo, how long they have been looking.
Each real estate agent works differently too. I would never tell how much a buyer should pay for a property. I will not be living there and it is not my monthly payment. I will however, provide the “comps” in the area so a buyer can analyze how much they should pay. I will walk them through the “comps” and explain about different properties to help a buyer decide what there price is…but in the end it is the buyers decision.
In those discussions, my buyer and I might develop a strategy in how we want to approach a negotiation. Do we want to offer a high number to begin with? Do we want to start lower and see what the seller says? I recently negotiated on a Boston condo where my buyer decided to start with a certain number, we reviewed the comparables, we had a long discussion about the pros and cons of this particular Boston condo and my buyer decided this was how she wanted to approach it. It was a respectful offer based on the comps in the area. A few hours latter I got a call from the listing agent who said “quite frankly, the seller was insulted” with what I believed to a perfectly respectable opening offer. Sellers can get very emotional and stressed. For a seller to be insulted with an offer close to 90% of asking price is a lack of understanding of how this process works.
Buyers want to get the property for the best price they can and so have a right to offer what can be construed to be a low offer. It is the listing agents job to have the seller understand that this is a negotiation and they should respond because otherwise they will never know how much a buyer might actually pay for their home.