I'm hoping you can all help me with this. I've gleaned so much knowledge on this forum lately!
My husband and I are looking for a home in a rural area outside of a small town. Our needs place us in a difficult position in finding the "right" house. (Small acreage, privacy, within commuting distance between two towns - it narrows down our possibilities.) We've been looking casually for several years, and have finally found a home that we can imagine ourselves living in. We really like it a lot.
It's been listed (at $179k) for over three months, had a contract on it for two of those months, which fell through, and is now being shown again. (They indicated it had not been shown while under contract.) The owners moved out at least 6 weeks ago. We aren't sure what the comps are on the house, and there are virtually no other houses in the area to compare it to anyway. Other houses have sold for less, but they were smaller and didn't have a pool or garage as this one does.
The listing agent would not give us much info on the house because we didn't want to sign with her as a duel agent. We've not contacted a buyer's agent yet because we don't want to commit ourselves to an agent until we are sure we want to purchase a house. (It could be years, we are content to stay where we are until we find the right house, and having an agent would add pressure we don't want.)
Anyway, here's our predicament. We love this house, but can't afford it at the asking price. We could, at the most, afford to pay $165k. What would be the wisest way to go about making an offer? Should we offer $160k and negotiate towards $165? Or just offer what we can afford and hope they don't counter with a higher amount? We don't want them to turn down our offer altogether, but we do want the house for as little as possible.
We have excellent credit, can be preapproved and supply 20% down payment. We are able to put in an offer with no contingencies and as short or long a closing date as the sellers desire. If you were the sellers, would you consider such a low offer, given the other positive aspects of it? The sellers are elderly and have owned the house for a while. The house is in good condition but does have some problems. (Carpet needs to be stretched, many of the outside doors don't open easily, one we weren't able to get open at all. Privacy fence is falling down, deck is warped in places and needs sealant, bathtub is cracked, stair rail is wobbly, etc etc.)
Any advice is welcome, thank you in advance!