I am looking a houses in the region of £140,000 but an absolute maximum of £150,000 and that is if they are in amazing condition and the exact area we would like. How much do you offer? There are a few that I am interested in.
Also 3 of the ones I am interested in say offers £150,000-£160,000. What does this actually mean? Do they want somewhere in the middle? Are they likely to accept £150,000? Have they put that in the hope that they get nearer £160,000 but if they don't, they will take the lower end? They are nice houses but I wouldn't be willing to pay over our top budget for them so I am not sure whether its even worth considering them.
It completely depends on how long they've been on the market etc. If you were offering on a house that was asking for 140000 I'd be tempted to go in at 130000 as an opening offer depending on how competitive your area is (if it's less competitive then maybe slightly lower, but you don't want to be insulting). If they're asking 150-160 then yes I suspect they're looking for something in the middle, but if it's been on the market a while you never know they might accept 150 or just below. It just depends.
Rule of thumb is up to 10% below but like mrscog says, that can be offensive. It depends upon how long the house has been on the market at that price and who is selling. Older folk are more likely to be offended than property developers say. Check out how much they paid for the property on rightmove sold prices if it is in the last 10 years.
Guide prices IME mean that the buyers sees the low end and the vendor sees the upper end. Speak to the agent and see if they are willing to take offers. This is more likely if they have found something they want to buy.
You also need to bear in mind, (again this isn't the case if you were in a hot market like London) that if they accept your first offer you'll always wonder if you should have gone a bit lower - you'll want to feel like you met at the mid point for both of you.