Unless the real estate agent is your buyer’s agent, he or she may have loyalty to the seller, and in that case, of course, he or she would want to get the seller the highest price for the property. Even without that legal loyalty, the real estate agent may know some confidential information like the seller will only sell for a certain amount or that the property is really worth more than what you think. The best way to find out what the real estate agent’s motivation is would be to just ask him or her outright.
Before you discount the real estate profession entirely, remember, this is their job and they are probably in a better position to evaluate property. Also, it is not unusual for a real estate agent to know confidential information about a property. The real estate agent’s experience, training, and advice are the reasons you hired that person, and this is a place where you rely on those reasons.
That being said, what is the worst that can happen if you make a low offer? The seller will counter with a high number and you can decide if you want to pay that amount or continue to inch up your offers. It is not unusual for buyers and sellers to go through several offers and counteroffers before they come to an agreeable amount.
As for the real estate professional, if this is your buyer’s agent feel free to tell him or her that you are willing to go up by so much but want to start with a low offer. If this is not your buyer’s agent, keep your cards close to the vest. Tell the real estate agent that you are making this offer now and that you are undecided as to whether you would ever offer more.
The primary thing is to not make an offer on a home that is over your head financially. No matter how good of a buy this is, if you are going to have problems making the mortgage payment, this good buy can easily turn into a problem that can destroy your credit.