I have bought and sold numerous homes over my life, including 24 years in the US Navy submarine Service with frequent moves.
In no case did a purchase offer that I made or received include points back or closing cost side deals - it was simply a $ offer with some contingencies such as selling my old home or obtaining a mortgage at X%, etc.
I have been in my current home for 22 years so I feel out of touch on this matter at this time.
I watch some number of TV reality shows following couples looking for a home to buy. To make up an example of what I am seeing frequently is:
Asking price $200K
Offer $195K with seller paying $5K in closing costs.
How does this compare to a simple offer of $190K?
As a buyer and a seller I would have guessed that if Appraisal versus selling price was a concern, I'd rather see the "price" be $195K.
I would just like to understand the rationale and also would like to know if it is common to see offers structured to include a number plus closing costs?