It's useless to make lowball offers on bank-owned houses that have been on the market for only a few days, says John Thompson, a Realtor at Samson Realty in Chantilly, Va.
"When you haven't had opportunity to expose your property to the marketplace long enough, you would be reluctant to take a lowball offer," Thompson says. "Most of the banks are aggressive with their pricing, but they are not going to give the properties away."
Asset management companies handle sales for banks. These companies price the foreclosed homes close to what they think the properties are worth. And they are given guidelines that stipulate how much of a reduction -- if any -- they are allowed to give during a specific period.
The guidelines vary. Normally banks are more reluctant to lower the price on properties that have been for sale for less than 90 days, says Tatiana Moody, a Realtor who specializes in distressed properties in Las Vegas.
Thompson says that in Virginia he has observed that some banks review unsold listings and consider price reductions every 21 to 31 days.
That doesn't mean you should sit and wait for the lender to reduce the price or accept a lower offer, unless you find the house overpriced. In that case, wait and check back in a few months to see if it's still for sale. If it is, most likely, the price will be reduced.