Negotiating The Price You Want When Buying A House
Will you need to carry out repairs to the property before you move in or make significant changes to the decor to have the property fall in line with your tastes? These are legitimate reasons for putting in a bid below asking price - unless, of course, the house is on the market at a deliberately low price to reflect the need for repair. You're well within your rights to let the seller know that you would like to buy the house but that your bid has factored in the costs that you expect will be associated with bringing the property up to scratch.
If the seller seems desperate to sell, then by all means put in a bid at a significantly lower level than asking price. If you're right and they need to offload the property quickly then you could just bag yourself a bargain - and if not, the worst they can do is turn down your offer. There's nothing stopping you going back with an improved bid if your initial effort falls short.
Another justifiable reason for putting in a lower bid would be if the costs associated with owning the house in the long term are on the high side. If it's in a high council tax band, for example, or if it's in a location that means home insurance premiums premiums are higher due to a higher burglary risk, then you have a case for negotiating some money off the asking price.
It's also entirely possible that the seller has put their property on the market at an over-inflated price following bad advice from their estate agent - if they had several valuations of the house carried out and plumped for the highest one then the chances are that they're asking for too much.
If you can demonstrate to them in a practical way that they're being optimistic with their asking price - for example by showing them figures proving that a similar house in the same street went for significantly less money relatively recently - then they'll likely come around to the idea of negotiating with you.